World War Z movie review
World War Z started off as a novel, and now it has been turned into a big-budget summer blockbuster. Now, I have not read the book, so I will not be able to make any of those comparisons. Though, there has not been a lot of public uproar saying it isnt like the book, so it is probably ok in that respect. So, how does a zombie apocalypse action movie fare in a summer filled with super heroes and monsters? Not that bad.
We start off, quite quickly, with the media talking about the troubles with our world, using Wolf Blitzer and Piers Morgan of CNN amongst others. We briskly cut to our main character, Gerry, played by Brad Pitt. We also meet his wife and 2 daughters, the 4 of them live happily in their little New York home. However, the zombies, or as they are called "Z's" emerge from a rather brilliant method (more in a sec), and all chaos breaks out. Gerry has a past with the United Nations, so he is called in to help find an answer to stop the outbreak. This will take Gerry around the world in search of an answer, and will put him against millions of Z's.
The story is simple enough, and is perfectly paced, for most of the film. The ending, I won't spoil it, is a little silly and yes it takes care of everything for the most part, but it's very tongue-in-cheek for me. It was kind of a fizzled out ending for me. However, the rest of the film is great. You have about 5 minutes before the bad stuff hits the fan, and then it is intense and well-paced. They don't waste alot of time setting up the story and characters and problems. Instead, it explains the story and expands on Gerry's character as the movie goes on. The movie keeps focus on what it needs to keep focus on: the action and Gerry surviving it. Fortunately he only has to help keep his family alive for about the first 20 minutes, they make it out ok, but they didn't bring much to the story (more later). And like I said, with the exception of the last half hour-45 minutes of the film, this is a very well-paced and intense movie. It was a lot of fun.
Brad Pitt is always a great actor. He has had many memorable performances; Inglorious Basterds and the Ocean's movies come to my mind, even though he has had a ton of other roles. He is no exception here. Now granted, his performance doesn't break any boundaries or bring you a performance worthy of the Academy, but he did a good job for what he had to portray. The rest of the cast, is ok. His wife Karen, played by Mirielli Enos, is decent enough. She gives Gerry the love and support a wife should, but she is forgettable, except for a very groan-worthy scene where she gets him in trouble. His 2 daughters are practically non-existant after the first half hour. One had some sort of breathing problem, but that went nowhere, and his other daughter had some sort of emotionally problem. It was like she was 5, in an 11 year old's body. It's ok, they faded off quickly. The rest of the cast isn't all that impressive or memorable. This movie was Brad Pitt vs zombies, and on that front, the movie delivers.
Now, I have talked about zombies in a previous article before, saying how they are everywhere and it is kind of getting old, but a bar has been set. Not only is the origin on these zombies logical, but their presence is terrifying. Nowadays, when you think of a zombie, you think of a dead and dismembered being that shuffles at a snails pace and isn't threatening unless in big groups. These Zs are fast, smart (primal), strong and terrifying. Just 1 Z could take down an entire nation in seconds. The Zs are more similar to natural predators than monsters, they are savage as well, climbing and clawing over each other to get to their next prey. It's gonna be tough to watch The Walking Dead after this, other than the reasosn I mentioned in my Season 3 review.
That brings us to the highlight of the film: the action. This movie is at its absolute best with its gigantic action scenes invloving the Z outbreak, my favorite taking place in Israel. These sequences are briskly paced and have millions of Zs taking down humanity, quite violently. However, I greatly admire how the violence is handled. You see Zs taking down humans and biting them and infecting them, however there is no blood or gore. The focus is only on the Zs attacking and the humans dying. We have no disgusting moments of seeing a human have his guts ripped out or any grisly take downs of the zombies. Anything excessively gory happens off screen. The power of suggestion that made Jaws terrifying works here too. It's a shame the action teeters off in in the film's problem ending I mentioned earlier. They try to make the action tenser, but it is slow and made me wish I was watching the big action scenes again. This ending isn't horrible, and it had some suspense, but it couldn't compare to the other scenes. I wanted more big action that the film treated us to, because those moments are fantastic.
Overall, World War Z is a pretty good action movie. Brad Pitt is a great actor as always, and his battles with the Zs in the first 2/3rds of the film are frickin' awesome and I loved them. It is a shame the rest of the movie teetered out and slowed down for a luke-warm ending, because that is holding this movie back from being a phenominal apocalypse movie. This doesn't ruin the movie and I still highly reccommend seeing this movie, but just be aware that the movie does slow down and the payoff is nothing compared to the big battles.
I give World War Z a rabies-enhanced 3.5 out of 5.