It’s interesting to see how mainstream zombie flicks have become. In the past, a zombie movie was a place for a struggling new actor or actress to finally gain screen time, even if it meant dying horribly at the hands of some undead postal worker. Yet here we are, with The Walking Dead standing tall in television, and World War Z boasting A-lister Brad Pitt. But can he breathe life (ho! ho!) into it, or does it stumble along, preying on the audience’s wallet?
The answer depends on what kind of viewer you are. First off we have The Gore N’ Guts Aficionado. If you failed to see the PG-13 rating, and you’re one of those people who roars and high-fives your cheering friends every time a zombie gets thrown into a wood chipper in slow motion, this may seem a little restrained to you. Don’t get me wrong- stuff happens that could make lesser-hearted people (like myself) cringe, but it’s one of those films that assumes the audience can fill in the blanks much better than gross-out CGI/makeup effects can. In my opinion, that’s the harder scare to deliver- and there are a few scares to be had in World War Z.
The second person who apparently feels bummed while sitting in this theater is our friend The Book Purist. Not only has he already read the book, but would like the movie to be exactly the same. However, just because something is “inspired” by a best-seller doesn’t mean you can expect to write a successful book report off the movie- heck, just look at movies “inspired by real events.” I haven’t read World War Z, but I gather it follows several individuals across the world, instead of one individual’s story traveling across the world. While that works well in the novel or say, a television series, sometimes too many characters/individual stories muddies up the movie recipe (hello, Cloud Atlas). In my view, keeping a tight focus on Brad Pitt’s journey was more effective.
Basically, if you’re still left in the room, you’ll probably enjoy World War Z– it’s an interesting look at what would happen during a global pandemic (in this case zombies), and how the separate countries find their own ways to solve it (or try to solve it). Pitt’s great (and I’m not always his biggest fan), the CGI is there, but it’s effective, and there’s a bit more thought and love that went into this than your standard brain-eater flick.