Pitt’s “World War Z” Reinvigorates the Zombie Genre
21/06/13 13:30 Filed in: Movie Review
"World War Z" (WWZ) is one of those movies that is so well produced and directed, you may not notice how much it gets right, including a refreshingly vanity free performance by Brad Pitt. This film makes the "Resident Evil" franchise look like a flipbook by comparison.
WWZ jumps right into a zombie outbreak in Pitt's hometown of Philadelphia that is rapidly spreading across the globe. Not a moment is wasted with nonsense backstories no one cares about - before we know it, zombies are moving at lighting speed in ways we've never seen, overrunning the streets of Philly. Pitt's Gerry Lane is an ex-United Nations investigator whose family is only saved because the government needs him to help solve the pandemic.
Other reviews have noted that the "who, what, where and why" of the zombies isn't very well fleshed out in WWZ, and that's true. But zombie lore is so much a part of the current zeitgeist, we don't need superfluous history. We know the drill.
Here's what I liked about "World War Z":
- Brad Pitt gives an ego free, convincing performance as a normal guy caught in an exceptionally bad situation. There are no gratuitous vanity shots of Pitt shirtless. Everything that's there serves the story.
- The movie is brisk – there's not a dull moment.
- There is no excess of emotion, no unwarranted tears, funerals, or other contrived gravitas. WWZ is emotionally pragmatic.
- The zombie special effects are outstanding. There is a particular emphasis on the biting element, but the zombies are not inexplicably able to surgically tear human's open like a soggy bag. One victim is chomped on and only the halo of inflamed tooth impressions remain, just like a real human bite.
- The solution to a defense mechanism against the zombies is gruesomely believable. Much like chemotherapy, it kills you before it cures you.
WWZ isn't especially scary and the ending feels a bit tacked on and anti-climactic, but I haven't seen a zombie movie this interesting since Zack Snyder's remake of "Dawn of Dead." It's the thinking man's zombie flick, and that's worth the price of admission.