Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Ludi Boeken, Matthew Fox, David Morse.
Rated- PG-13. Action/Horror. Running Time: 1 hour 56 minutes.
Ross has been excited to see this movie since we saw previews in theatres several months ago. I was mostly intrigued by the idea of fast zombies. We had read in Entertainment Weekly that World War Z was Pitt’s pet project; a labor of love that he single handedly propelled to a speedy finish. And it could not have come at a more appropriate time. The World has been zombie crazy over the last few years, following a heated love affair with vampires and a short lived tryst with witches. Zombies are so hot right now. With AMC’s break out hit, The Walking Dead, and the big screen success of releases ranging from the comical Zombieland (2009) to the romantic Warm Bodies (2013), we are mesmerized by these flesh eating beings. And World War Z has been the biggest commercial success raking in over $200 million! I enjoyed the movie very much, but was frustrated by several scenes of sheer stupidity.
This movie is a one man show. Brad Pitt (one man) and millions (billions?) of zombies. All you have to do is look at the cast, nary a household name. Brad wouldn’t be denied making World War Z and apparently didn’t want to share the screen with any other stars. His UN envoy character Gerry Lane, chases around the globe looking for the cause of the zombie pandemic, and he has to move fast because these undead can motor! Plus the virus changes you within ten seconds of getting bitten. Maria mentioned that I really wanted to see this movie, and as usually happens to me under that circumstance, I was disappointed. I didn’t hate it and I’m hoping the sequel is better, but it fell short for me.
The film was action-packed, suspenseful and thrilling. But, honestly, I kept expecting something more. Perhaps this is a classic example of too much hype. We probably would have been better off going to see this one in the theatre before our minds could be saturated by the praise and snubs of others. But here are a few things that chafed my ass. At one point, they come up with this horrible plan to enter a medical wing overrun with the undead. I’m no zombie expert, but per usual, these rotting corpses are drawn to noise. No one thought, “Hey, let’s distract these bastards with some loud music or explosions elsewhere.” I most certainly did. Come to think of it, ALL of my qualms deal with noise. In an earlier scene, Brad’s wife is phoning him and, of course, the phone ringing attracts the zombies. Seriously? She knows he’s going into a dangerous situation with zombies and she chooses to be the needy wife NOW!? Lastly, there is one other scene that annoyed me. We’re meant to believe that a community of people have been smart enough to build a wall over the past thousand years and just so happen to finish it right as the zombie invasion commences. But not smart enough to keep their volume down? Bit of a stretch. That all being said, it had great potential. Great storyline, a nice little twist and it entertained me.
Asking for the plot and characters to show common sense is paramount to enjoying a movie in my opinion, even when what you’re watching is total fantasy. That’s why horror movies piss me off as a whole, people are always just begging to die. Referencing the wall built around the city that Maria mentioned; beyond holding an incredibly loud shindig that worked the zombies into a lather, the choppers on patrol at the perimeter somehow missed a giant, growing, ladder/wall of the ravenous beasties. Okay. The special effects are pretty cool and there’s very little gratuitous gore, which I liked. I also thought it was clever to have the command center with survivors out to sea on aircraft carriers and other large vessels. One of my favorite character actors of all time, David Morse (Green Mile, Twelve Monkeys, Hearts in Atlantis, to name a few) had a small but important part here, and my hope is we see much more of him in the sequel(s). I didn’t read the book World War Z by Max Brooks, and neither did Brad Pitt apparently. Brooks said after seeing it, “I wanted to hate it because it was so different from my book….I never had a “Gerry Lane wouldn’t say that” moment, because I didn’t invent Gerry Lane. So I was just watching someone else’s zombie movie, which was fun.” I guess if Max can enjoy it, I should cut Brad some slack. This is definitely his baby and his vision, let’s see where he takes us.
Maria’s Rating: 3 out of 5 Gummy Bears.
Ross’ Rating: 2.5 Gummies.