Best zombie movie ever.
No, really. Here’s why.
Most zombie movies start with a bang and then we follow a band of survivors into a mall or some other place, where they are put under siege and become their own worst enemies. Take the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake. The first 15 minutes or so, before they get to the mall and things get boring, were amazing. Actually, the best part of the film in my opinion is this short clip:
WORLD WAR Z is pretty much like that for most of its two-hour length.
The film delivers incredible special effects, terrifying zombies, a global journey, heart pounding action and some great surprises. It really captured that titillated-but-scared zeitgeist of being in a major disaster, which, for me anyway, is the juice of apocalyptic media.
Seriously, check out this scene. How exactly does this suck?
Not that the film was without its flaws. I should point out that the fact the film was not a literal translation of Max Brooks’ book did not bother me in the slightest. The book was very good but in my opinion was pretty much impossible to make into a two-hour movie. The movie, in fact, improved upon what the book offered by throwing some pretty incredible action at you. Imagine the awesome Battle of Yonkers taking up half the book, and you have an idea of what the movie is like.
Okay, about those flaws. Brad Pitt’s wife was woefully miscast. Pitt himself had little chemistry with anybody in his family. As my friend Jason Hornsby said, the family was a placeholder. I wished at one point Pitt’s character was single had ended up with the Israeli soldier as his girlfriend, as he actually seemed to have chemistry with her. Okay, WORLD WAR Z failed to evoke the emotional depth of say THE WALKING DEAD. It would have been nice to get the CHILDREN OF MEN of zombie flicks, but I knew that was too much to ask. WORLD WAR Z is an action movie, a thriller. On that level, it succeeds very well.
Another complaint about the movie I’ve heard is there’s no blood or gore. I honestly didn’t miss it. Again, that’s not the juice for me in a zombie movie. Again, the action is. Here’s a terrific scene from the movie. No blood, but it’s incredible action and suspense.
Two other complaints I’ve heard are 1) it ends somewhat abruptly, and 2) the rationale behind the vaccine is flimsy. I agree with both, but it didn’t stop my enjoyment. Oh, I’ve also heard the usual “zombies don’t run,” but I’m not in that crowd. I’m not a purist about anything other than desiring a good story.
In short, WORLD WAR Z has its flaws like any other action movie, but as an action movie, as a thriller, and especially as a zombie movie, it stands out as fantastic in my view.