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World War Z Film Review
Warning: this review contains spoilers.
Director Marc Forster's production challenged zombie film, World War Z, was buried before its release by fans of the book and people who were turned off by the well-known problems during production. However, when the film hit theaters, it opened to a positive response and strong box office numbers. I have no previous knowledge of the book this film is based on so I can't compare how well it matches up with the source material. The film was a pleasant surprise for me and I join the wave of positive support for this film. It was a fresh, different, and entertaining take on the zombie genre, headlined by another strong performance from Brad Pitt. The problems in production that saw a complete change of the third act, didn't affect the film nearly as much as people thought it would. The first two-thirds of the movie played out like a war film with zombies, but it shifts to a creepy thriller once Brad Pitt's character reaches the World Health Organization to find out how the zombie epidemic started. Even though the climax of the movie was a huge tonal shift from the rest of the movie, it served as a good climax because of how different it was from the rest of the movie.
The film begins with a montage of news clips covering an epidemic spreading across the world and then cuts to a normal day in the lives of Brad Pitt's character, Gerry Lane, and his family. They leave their house and travel through downtown Philadelphia only to get thrust into a massive riot of people trying to escape zombies terrorizing the city. They manage to escape the city and get rescued by the military only to be separated after Gerry decides to accept a mission to find out how the epidemic started. His mission takes him across the world as he battles the undead on a quest to discover the truth.
Gerry's journey is thrilling as he escapes zombie attack after zombie attack. The danger of each attack grows as Gerry gets closer to his destination. The attacks in South Korea, where he's helped out by Navy Seals, the attack in Jerusalem, where some idiots make too much noise causing the zombies to swarm and break into the walled off city, and the attack that brings down an airplane carrying Gerry to a World Health Organization facility, were very well staged and showed off just how violent and rampant the zombies were in this movie. I liked how they gave the zombies the ability to swarm like insects, which combined with the fact that they were fast in this version, made them more dangerous. The climax inside the World Health Organization was also well done because of it's scaled down approach that heightened the intensity. The close quarters action during that scene were some of the best of the entire movie filled with big action sequences.
The thing that really hooked me with this movie was how they portrayed the zombies. The fact that they didn't eat people and only bit them to turn them into zombies was a nice touch. They were portrayed as a true virus that spread through the human race. It was nice to see something a little different done to the zombies after years of them being the people eating monsters they've always been. The closest movie I can stylistically compare this to is I Am Legend. It had the same kind of style where the leading man is thrust into a "me versus the world" scenario against crazy, blood thirsty monsters. Though I feel that I Am Legend is a superior film to World War Z, Brad Pitt's trek through the zombie apocalypse was a fantastic ride through a global crisis. I hope we get to see more of Brad Pitt taking on the zombie hordes in the future.