Yes, I know I’m stretching the definition of war movies big time including Marc Forster‘s latest film. World War Z is an apocalyptic zombie movie with a very strong military element. It’s based on Max Brooks’ eponymous novel.
The movie begins with an idyllic family scene. Former UN investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), his wife (Mireille Enos) and two daughters are getting ready for the day. A little later, on their way into town, they see their world turn into chaos. Cars crash into other cars, people scream and run while others turn into savage predators. Gerry and his family narrowly escape this mayhem and hide in a huge building until a UN helicopter comes and gets them out. They are flown to an aircraft carrier where they hear more about what’s happening. It seems as if there was a pandemic that rapidly infects all the inhabitants of every country and turns them into zombies. The illness broke out in Korea and the military want to send a scientist to investigate. Gerry is sent with him as he was the best UN investigator they had.
As was to be expected they can’t find anything in Korea and the next stop is Jerusalem. From Israel we follow Gerry and a female Israeli soldier (Daniella Kertesz) on their trip around the world and see how the pandemic spreads. On this frantic trip Gerry observes that some people are avoided by the zombies. If he can find out why, maybe he could find a cure?
I hated the beginning of this movie big time and almost stopped watching after ten minutes. After the initial family scene it starts with full action and, as strange as this may seem, I found that very boring. Luckily the movie slows down a bit and moves on at a steady pace, which is broken up by more intense scenes. The end is not bad at all.
I’ve seen a few zombie movies and I couldn’t help comparing this to I Am Legend for example. I love I Am Legend, it’s my favourite zombie movie and comparing World War Z to that, was to the latter’s disadvantage. I also like the zombie comedy Shaun of the Dead a lot. Looking back I think that World War Z isn’t even a zombie movie. It’s a disaster movie with a zombie theme. It’s far more like the Day After Tomorrow or Independence Day.
The biggest flaw of World War Z is that I didn’t think it was unique. I felt I’d seen each and every element before in another context. Some in horror movies like The Crazies, others in action films, or movies in which the US or the world are at large are threatened by some sort of evil or aliens. Unfortunately I don’t like Brad Pitt all that much, which didn’t help.
Most of the time when an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic movie starts with an idyllic family scene I know I’m not going to watch anything superior. I was proven right in this case once more. It had good moments and if you want to see a fast-paced action flick, by all means, watch it, but if you’d like to see something a bit unusual, maybe even controversial, then stay away.
I’m still waiting for a movie which will look into the appeal of the zombie. Why is there such a wave of books and movies since a couple of years?
Do you have a favourite zombie movie?
My favourites are: