Let me first state that, Yes, I did read the, what I consider the best zombie book ever written, World War Z, by Max Brooks, several years ago. So before anyone asks if I had read the book the answer is a resounding yes! And even though I went into the theater understanding that the story I was about to see was not going to be like the book but loosely based on it, I still had very high hopes for its success. Boy was that an understatement. The movie was fantastic and I’ll tell you why.
I remember watching some of the early trailers for World War Z and thinking, this is nothing like the book? And, what’s the deal with these zombies, sprinting and leaping after their prey? Nothing like the mindless, stumbling corpses in the Walking Dead? So yes, I became extremely skeptical, but as time passed, and the World War Z premier slowly neared, I also found myself hoping for its success. At the conclusion of the film, when the credits finally rolled, I could only sit silently in my seat, marveling at the quality of such a monumental undertaking. They had done it! The question now was, how?
Pitt, Pitt & Pitt
Brad Pitt was great, but isn’t he always. Was this a surprise? No. You typically go into any film with Brad Pitt with the assumption that he will perform and perform he did as U.N. Investigator Gerry Lane. Breakout performance? Pretty close. What did it for me was that his role was believable? The closeness to his family, the investigative role he reluctantly found himself in and the feeling of sacrifice and duty you felt in the final throes of the film. Expected? Yes. Surprised? Still after having watch so many Pitt films….yes!
A True Global War
This wasn’t The Walking Dead, where our story is centralized more or less within a region of what remains of the United States. This is world war, and hence needs to really make us feel like that the world is truly engaged in a life and death struggle for survival. And this is just what the film was able to pull off and surprisingly, with great success! As we watch our intrepid Gerry venture to South Korea, then on to Israel and beyond, we really start to get that understanding that the world is truly lost. This is not something relegated to the U.S. but across the globe from urban center to desolate countryside, the zombie outbreak is wide and it is complete.
The world is lost. Zombies are running over the living literally in waves of mouth chomping destruction and yet the story still manages to shrink this all engulfing tsunami of death down to Gerry and his family and Gerry and his Israeli companion as they muddle through tense situation after tense situation, each one growing in suspense and ‘edge of your seat’ madness. The ending segment of the film being the most stressful despite the shear craziness we had already just traversed through.
The film flows nicely, not so much that we’re overwhelmed and yet still very engaging to keep us locked in. As much as the film surprised me around every turn, I wouldn’t be the least bit surprised if the film ultimately came up for nomination in the award season. You doubt? Mark my words. You heard it here first!
Lastly, if you haven’t read the book I strongly encourage you to do so, even if you have already seen the film. The book is the same but different and I guarantee you’ll be hinged to every page. It is a fantastic read and a whole different approach to the war as depicted in the theater. Get it here – World War Z