World War Z

At first glance, World War Z does not seem like a movie that would be relevant to this site. But this Zombie movie does not fall into the mold of this genre like Dawn of the Dead or 28 Days Later. It is a twist on the classic Zombie movie that is more of a suspenseful mystery. Plus they had to make it a PG-13 summer blockbuster to recoup the $200M budget, so it lacks the gore ever present in episodes of The Walking Dead.

Brad Pitt plays the “detective,” travelling across the globe to try to solve the mystery behind the world-wide Zombie outbreak. One of the other characters has a monologue that readers of this site will love—a virologist, he compares Mother Nature to the most lethal serial killer, and like all great serial killers, she leaves clues behind because she wants to get caught.

Different from the Book

The movie is nothing like the book but does a good job of capturing the epic nature of this world war. The zombie hordes are like nothing I have ever seen—and this is coming from someone who is generally against “fast” CGI zombies like those in I Am Legend. The book contains the classic, slow lumbering Ghoul, but the movie does a good job tweaking this archetype to create a modern interpretation that is fast, relentless, and stops at nothing to try to bite you. Apparently, the special effects team modeled the zombie hordes after ants, and you can definitely sense this in some of the scenes set in Jerusalem.

More to Come?

The third act contrasts the macro level of the outbreak in the early scenes, with micro level interactions, where the characters come face to face with a small group of zombies trapped in a building. There were many reports during production that this third act was not even part of the first cut resulting in re-writes and re-shoots, but the version that made it to theaters fits, and I am sure there will be several sequels since much of the book was left unused.

As a whole, this intense movie keeps you engaged from start to finish—the outbreak starts a few minutes after the opening credits and it keeps up this pace until the end. I recommend it for fans of zombies, and for those just looking for an intelligent and entertaining summer movie.

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