Understandable, it was hard to get excited about this movie. Between all the pre- and post-production woes this movie has faced, the multiple last minute script rewrites, and the general trend of terrible summer blockbusters, World War Z was sure to be another in a long line of disappointments. Imagine my surprise as it proved to be not only a perfectly competent and well-plotted film, but also one of the better films I’ve seen all year (take this with a grain of salt, as this speaks more to how terrible everything else has been this year than how good World War Z is). Though World War Z has its weaker moments, mostly issues of plot and quality of acting, it is in many ways a fantastic summer blockbuster, and a very pleasant surprise.
Gerry (Brad Pitt) recently quit his somewhat hazardous job as a UN investigator to spend more time with his wife and two daughters. However, Gerry is forced to flee New York with his family after witnessing the zombie apocalypse first hand. After agreeing to help escort a scientist to Korea in hopes of finding a cure, Gerry is sent on a journey across the globe to investigate the widespread effects of the zombie outbreak.
World War Z is based on a Max Brooks novel of the same name, and while I haven’t read the book, it is essentially a compilation of short stories from survivors of the zombie apocalypse. The film is not a straight adaptation of the book, in order to deal with the fact that the novel does not have a narrative through-line; World War Z is a kind of adventure story putting one central character in a number of situations contained within the novel. It sort of makes the movie a compelling story about globetrotting in order to figure some kind of solution out to the zombie epidemic. It also adds an interesting element of global politics to the story as Gerry sees different nations handling the outbreak in different ways.
Even with its issues, the film still ranks among one of the best of the summer and is a very competent piece of zombie fiction. Though perhaps not as memorable as some of the more “purist” zombie flicks, it’s certainly not plagued by the same gaping plot holes as many of the movies this summer; for that characteristic alone, it definitely merits a recommendation.
Rating: 4 out of 5
Poster courtesy of Chris Garofalo.