Regardless of the nitpick, “World War Z” ultimately surprises me. It is much better than whatI initially thought it was going to be, which is to say the expectations werenot very high. The film delivers great suspense, keeps the pacing at a decent gallop, and gives its zombies a dangerous and wild edge. Pitt is not the highlight of the film and it’s the character’s journey that will ultimately keep your attention as he country hops in order to save the world. All in all, “World War Z” is not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.
Brad Pitt is usually the most enjoyable when he’s not playing heroic type characters,“Inglorious Basterds” and “Fight Club” being among his best performances to date. His more heroic characters always seem to fall flat and don’t mix well with the actor’s constantly must-stay-stoic expressions he manages to give them. But throw Pitt into a bunch of zombie-infested countries, couple it with some creepiness and suspense, and what you get is a good story and enough thrills and action to make for a pretty entertaining ride.
“World War Z,” which is based on the book by Max Brooks, has a lot going for it. Although it doesn’t really follow the book’s post-zombie apocalypse angle, it makes a narrative of the struggles to find a way to stop the zombies while the attacks are going on.
Former United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) quits his job to spend more time with his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and their two daughters. While sitting in traffic on a day like any other, an explosion occurs and then mass hysteria breaks out as the zombies attack everyone on the street.
These zombies are extremely aggressive, disgustingly creepy, and can infect the population through a bite. Once Gerry sees what’s happening and watches someone get bit, he hustles his family to the nearest place of safety. He does make sure to count how long it takes for a person to turn into a raging lunatic,which says a lot about his character’s quick thinking and attention to detail. After getting to safety, Gerry sets out to try and find answers and help stop the pandemic from spreading and killing off the entire human population.
Director Marc Forster uses the premise of the book’s story and spins it in his own direction. There’s a lot to like about “World War Z.” There’s nothing melodramatically heroic about it, which makes it enjoyable to watch. There are a couple of genuinely scary moments and Forster doesn’t overdo anything in the film, so the drama isn’t laid on so thick.
The zombie plot serves the story well. There’s enough information to keep the audience intrigued and invested in the story, and it doesn’t give us so much detail that plot holes begin appearing. There’s also enough suspense that keeps the movie going from scene to scene. Pitt carries the movie well enough and the rest of the cast maintains a good presence throughout.
The action and the zombie ladder scene are particularly standouts in what does become a repetitive sequence of chase and flee scenes. The family aspect is decent enough but could have been a little deeper. Of course,since this is a zombie movie, the disappointment isn’t as high as it usually is with more character-driven films.
One of the main aspects of the film that generally fails is the ending. It feels tacked on and unfinished. Pitt’s voice-over at the end is random, unnecessary, and doesn’t feel genuine. Forster attempts to wrap up the movie by rushing it so that it doesn’t feel very satisfying. It just ends and that’s that.