The skeptics are groaning like the undead and saying ‘Not another zombie flick!’ But I like to consider myself a realistic optimist:
Set in modern day America, World War Z wastes no time introducing some of the scariest zombies you could possibly imagine. Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his family are driving through New York when all of a sudden there is chaos everywhere. It is admirable that the zombies entered the movie so quickly, the audience did not have to wait more than five minutes for flesh eating action.
I will point out that the opening scene is filmed in a extremely fast-paced fashion, panning wildly around at several different things at once. It can be admitted that it’s a little intense on the eyes, but the sense of panic that it struck in the hearts of viewers set the mood for the entire film.
It comes to light that Pitt’s previous job had been with the United Nations, so it makes sense when his family is taken on board a ship with military members and the like. A member of the UN in the defense sector speaks with Pitt upon their arrival and makes it clear that he is desperately needed to figure out what caused the pandemic, of course he decides he must go.
It is here that I realize that there will not be a strong connection between the World War Z movie and the World War Z book written by Max Brooks. A sense of disappointment is momentarily felt solely based on the fact that Max Brooks’ novel was such a compelling read, but I decide not to damn the movie then and there. There is something different about this movie.
Pitt ends up having a conversation with a Harvard graduate/doctor who at the time seems to be his partner in discovering the answers. This conversation is extremely important to the plot and I urge viewers to pay close attention to the exchange. The doctor speaks about Mother Nature and here you see the intelligence of Pitt’s character start to shine through. He does not interrupt the doctor, he simply listens and takes in what the doctor has to say. Pitt’s character starts to become more interesting to me than the zombies at this point.
In the next milestone of the movie we find Pitt in Israel. He has a conversation with an Israeli official who makes a statement that struck me: ‘Every human being we save is one less zombie to fight.’ This was monumental for another realization of mine. This is not your typical fight till death, survival movie. This movie has intelligence and a humanity-based aspect that makes it realistic. This is how I picture the apocalypse going down.
Pitt’s character continues to make you feel warm and fuzzy as we see his compassion and intelligence grow. Everything he does is central to the plot, which of course makes sense since he IS the main character, but you know what I mean. There’s just a whole lot of charisma about him. Couple the intrigue you feel towards the main character with all of the explosions, plane crashes and of course raging hordes of the undead and you’ve got yourself one roller coaster of a cinematic experience.
At the end when all of the clues add up and knots are tied, you can’t help but feel that there could be a sequel in the works. God, I hope so.
Ultimately I feel that World War Z surpassed my expectations regardless of the lack of connection to the novel. It had aspects of other zombie movies (the zombies are similar to those in Dawn of the Dead, the gore a bit less intense than most but the action sequences bring Resident Evil to mind) yet it stands apart. It is already doing exceptional in the box offices, flying past Man of Steel, and is definitely a movie to see at least once if not several times.
By Samantha Dotson