Movie Review: World War Z

Movie Review: World War Z

What: World War Z

Where: Theaters everywhere

Cost: Varies by location

Rating: 3.5 Zombie Heads

I finally got to the theater to see World War Z. I know, I’m late to the party and you’ve read a dozen other reviews by now, but I’m going to give you my thoughts anyway.

I liked it. Yes, it has it’s flaws. Too much CG. Zeds that are a little too fast, a little too nimble. But it’s a big budget zombie flick that stars Brad Pitt. I know there are people who dislike Pitt (I’m looking at you, mother-in-law) but he’s one of my favorite actors. Legends Of The Fall, 12 Monkeys, Fight Club, Snatch, Mr & Mrs Smith, SE7EN (the severed head in a box is my favorite Gwyneth Paltrow role, btw), for crying out loud – the guy has a pedigree other actors would kill for! To have him in a zombie movie is a Godsend.

The biggest complaint I’ve heard is that the movie is completely different from the book, and people are particularly upset that there’s no Battle Of Yonkers. If these are spoilers for you, you clearly haven’t been paying attention. But here’s the deal – World War Z is an awesome book. It was written in a real page-turning fashion, but to try and make a movie faithful to the book would have been really hard as that style doesn’t translate well to the screen.

So knowing going in that it was way different from the book helped me set my expectations, and I liked the movie. I didn’t love it, but it was good. I’m glad I saw it on the big screen rather than waiting for the Bluray. What kept me from loving it? Primarily, the last 10 minutes. I felt the ending was…squishy. Act III of the film was not very satisfying, the climax and conclusion left me thinking “well, that was a little too easy.” For what it’s worth, my wife – who has not read the book – liked it more than I did. She was on the edge of her seat much of the time and has less of a problem with the ending than I did, so it’s quite possible that even though I had adjusted my expectations, some bias is still present in my viewpoint.

Here’s what the movie did well: it set up the sequel. After a $66 million opening weekend, the sequel has already been green lit by the studio. Now, thanks to this movie, we know the general area in which the plague started. We know how humanity bought enough time to regroup. The next movie can switch to more of the book’s method and tell the oral history of the war. Honestly, I think they could make two movies out of the material in the book. Plus, there’s a lot of material to mine from the movie itself. What happened in South Korea? What happened to David Morse’s character before we see him in his cell? He clearly went through some awful stuff, and he’s a pretty big name to have on screen for five minutes. Anyone could have played that part. I suspect there’s more to that part of the story.

So, I think this movie served its purpose. It proved to the studios that a big budget zombie movie with a major star is viable even (or especially) to people like my wife who haven’t read the book. It got the actual war out of the way, and now they can go back and tell the stories from the war that this movie didn’t delve into.

How much do you want to bet the sequel has the Battle Of Yonkers?

 

 

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