An intelligently done zombie movie?
I hear you scoff and hide that smirk behind your cough. Well believe it or not, Brad Pitt has backed this mega-scale epic zombie “war” movie through long tiresome years of rewrite and production delays and has come up trumps with a solid action-thriller that should feature on your must-view zombie movies.
Or must-view action-thriller movie…
Take your pick but it does not deter the fact that World War Z is one hell of a well-made movie with its “scary” moment homages and stunningly epic action set-pieces. Brad Pitt of course makes it worth the tense journey starting in New York and traipsing through South Korea, Israel and coming to end in Cardiff, England.
World War Z follows UN investigator Gerry Lane as he races against time and deranged zombie killer-mobs to find the cure for a deadly viral infection that turns the infected into the “undead” across the globe. The movie starts off in a fascinating manner – the director dropping us blissfully unaware into the middle of a crowded New York street on a balmy late afternoon where the Lane family (Brad Pitt – grungy looks with that long-hair , grey stubble and downplaying the hero act!) are planning to get out to Philadelphia for their vacation. Things go downhill with a frightening rapidity as hell breaks loose and in brief, searing glances - we witness our first zombies right on the streets – deranged and hungry – going into a frenzied feed-mode. It’s shocking and it turns ugly within spinning moments. Pandemonium on the streets, the populace turns into a killing mob right in front of their eyes. Gerry goes into war-zone survival mode, securing his family into a tall residential building. You are rudely pitched headlong in the middle of the action unfolding in the abandoned streets as the whole world goes to hell around you.
From here, it is a race for survival – with Gerry – a former investigator for UN who has experience keeping people safe in dangerous places – fleeing the zombie mobsters. But the movie soon shakes off its straight shlock horror & gore-fest approach once the audience is made aware of the zombie outbreak. From here on, the scale goes epic. Gerry is recruited to find the “patient zero” or the source of this zombie viral outbreak along with a crack team of Navy Seals and an immunologist. It spins out from here onto a global scale, eschewing the typical zombie movie styles of keeping the narrative tight-focused on just one street or a wooden cabin where the team of ten teenagers get whittled down one by one until the hero-heroine remain standing. No, here it is a one-man show.
Brad Pitt shines through and through as the tortured man separated from his family, resolute in the face of danger who grits his teeth, clamps down his fear and gets the job done without any over-the-top narcissistic action sequences. With all the pulse-pounding action amidst some brilliant nail-biting tension that mounts through the movie narrative, sadly there was no scope of any character growth. But hell, we ain’t watching a Cohen brothers movie right? Brad Pitt wades right into the thick of the action like the stout undeniable warrior walking into the battle field for the last day of his life, sticks through the job assigned to him with a winning resolute and a quiet heart-warming demeanor. He is brilliant and it has been such a long time since I saw Pitt take on the mantle of an action hero. Pure mind-blowing awesomeness on screen.
Marc Foster the director wisely avoids any Hollywood lionizing of the American might and keeps the premise very straight. We see how different countries are affected around the globe, how they react differently and generally how mass panic outbreaks are quelled down or spiral out of control.
Some of the action set pieces are mind blowing – the harrowing scene of the zombies throwing themselves like a pack of hungry frenzied rats, scrabbling over each other, forming an unholy zombie tower that slips and grows with each one biting, foaming, snarling and thrashing for a bite of the human flesh. The mid-air explosion inside the airplane flinging out the infected zombies one by one through a ragged gaping hole right in the middle of the plane, the fear-maddened survival rush in an abandoned south Koran airport in the dark pouring rain to fuel up a plane in the middle of a zombie infected zone. Those and more will definitely scorch through your senses and will haunt you as you leave the theatre.
The sense of dread and fear conveyed is real. The creeping psychologically suffocating sense of an impending threat, I think, that is what makes the horror/zombie movie a winner. Next time you look at that sunny neighborhood park filled with happy faces, the movie will force you to think of a horrifying alternative that might just come true someday. And I think that element of raw vulnerability conveyed so brilliantly through the movie elevates it way beyond your stock-blood and gore-fest zombie kill fests.
I have a lot more thoughts on the movie but I will rein in here. So what makes World War Z a movie worth watching?
It’s unstoppable fun, it’s epic and it is intelligent. And it has got Brad Pitt who dominates and glides through the 2-hour screenplay running against time and dodging a pack of ferocious superfast killer zombie pack. What more do you want? Well, it’s definitely got a sequel planned I think. Smirk.
So jump on board now, will you. Go kill some zombies before they bring our world down. Join the war.