The zombie genre has been done to death by now (excuse the pun) but here comes World War Z to deliver a zombie film on a scale unlike any before it. There is no more hiding out at farms or hiding out at shopping malls, while the zombies are trying to break their way in. World War Z wants to bring the zombie genre to epic proportions and for the most part it succeeds in it. You get a tense and suspenseful roller coaster ride that only stumbles in the third act.
Zombies are the new vampires now. After decades of being made on the cheap and never being taken seriously by studios, zombies are now big business. I don’t know one person who doesn’t watch The Walking Dead on AMC, hell even my parents have seen it. So it’s no wonder, that you now have a zombie flick starring Brad Pitt.
Before anyone even saw World War Z, the film was faced with numerous problems. There were rewrites and reshoots. The film was heading into its last three weeks of filming and an ending wasn’t even finished yet. The budget kept increasing and Cabin in the Woods director Drew Goddard and writer Damon Lindelof were brought in to help restructure the film’s ending. Apparently there was months of work still left to do but they were able to get World War Z out for its summer release date, nonetheless.
World War Z follows Gerry (Brad Pitt), a former UN employee living with his family in Philadelphia, when the zombie outbreak begins. Pitt and his family escape the carnage in the city with the help from his friends at the UN; finding safety on a military ship. The President is dead and those in charge, demand that Gerry, help them find a cure for the virus and if he declines, then he and family will not be protected by them anymore. With no other option, Gerry goes on a globe trotting adventure to try to save humanity, while guaranteeing his family’s safety.
Right from the beginning, World War Z impresses with it’s massive scope. The zombie attacks are chaotic, tense and suspenseful. With plenty of overhead shots, showing you just how massive the scale of the virus outbreak is. To drive home how big the scale of the infection is, World War Z never stays in one place for too long; going to almost every corner of the world. All of this helps to create a real sense of dread and fear in the audience, leaving you at the edge of seat every time an attack of this scale breaks out. By zombie movie standards this film is epic.
Pitt is fine as Gerry, settling into the role the reluctant hero rather well. Mireille Enos, who is terrific on AMC’s The Killing, is underused here. She plays Gerry’s wife but her role bogs down to waiting at the phone for her husband to call. There is subplot revolving her family’s dire situation about remaining on the boat but it is completely dropped by the end of the film.
The main problem of the film is the entire third act. Without spoiling anything, the end ruins all the real world feeling that the movie had maintained the entire time. Add the fact that the film never has any real ending, to speak off, just something that could be used in a possible sequel.
There are many cliches in this film, that any zombie fan will have seen used before in better zombie flicks. But World War Z isn’t really a zombie film, it is more of a thriller with Brad Pitt running around the world trying to find a cure. The zombies themselves aren’t that bad. Despite the obvious CGI, when they all clump together to form a wall or tumble upon each other down a narrow street, they can be quite menacing (sometimes funny too).
Despite some obvious problems, I enjoyed World War Z for what it was: an intense globetrotting thriller with zombies in it. It is an enjoyable film that is meant to appeal to everyone and it is very successful at it. Hardcore zombie fans might not love it but the studio might have had the general public in mind this time around. World War Z is a fun, tense and at times a smart blockbuster, which I recommend you check out.
Score: 7 out of 10