|31 Days of Horror: Day 6|
Gerry (Brad Pitt) is just a normal guy, hanging out in a traffic jam with his wife (Mireille Enos) and kids, when the zombie apocalypse happens. That's not a euphemism for being stuck in traffic with small children. All of a sudden, the streets are filled with a raging mob that is becoming more and more undead with every passing moment.
|You know, your basic zombie movie opening scene|
|"Oh. That's all you need? Great."|
The quality of the acting in World War Z boils down to how much you like Brad Pitt. That's not a knock on the other actors; Pitt is simply the only one with an emotional arc and more than ten minutes onscreen. As far as that goes, Pitt is solid. You can make an argument that he's a little bland here, but this isn't a character piece. It's a zombie movie, and he serves his purpose by giving the audience something to care about. Mireille Enos was okay as his worried wife, but her expectations for a husband in the post-apocalypse were a little unreasonable. If one of them had to work for a living in the real world, why wouldn't one of them have to work to keep them from un-living? Daniella Kertesz was better as Gerry's unwilling surgical patient, but her part was pretty basic.
|It looks like Pitt is going to throw her at someone here, right?|
Marc Forster directed World War Z, and he succeeded in one of the most important aspects of this film: the scope. The movie looks and feels big, as a global zombie epidemic movie should. Most zombie movies have a small scope --- a mall or a house, or the like --- because the costs associated with a large-scale apocalyptic film are so high. Forster did a good job upping the ante and making this feel appropriately large.
|There are more zombies in this shot than in every Romero movie combined|
|Surprise! This didn't look like crap in the movie!|
Speaking of disappointments, let's address how well World War Z fares as a zombie film. In short, not well. I don't have a problem with the fact that the zombies here are the fast variety, as opposed to the classic slow creatures from the book. These zombies like to run.
|...and stage dive. Unsuccessfully.|
|Big insects, though. The kind you need a hatchet for.|
|Example: this is a buffet for "real" zombies|
The most frustrating and rewarding parts of World War Z stem from the same ultimate cause: the script. Having read the book, I can assure you that the process of creating a screenplay from that source material would be very difficult. That this film has a coherent story is an accomplishment in and of itself. However, to get this much of a narrative, a lot of sacrifices had to be made. When you couple that with budget constraints, you end up with a finished product that bears almost nothing in common with World War Z. To be perfectly honest, the money spent securing the film rights to the book was a complete waste, as the finished product is unrecognizable from the source material.
And yet...World War Z manages to do zombies on a scale that we haven't seen before (at least, not done well). This is a flawed movie, no doubt, and a few well-placed and gory zombie kills would have gone a long way toward making this more fun to watch, but it's not bad. It wasn't the zombie epic I was hoping for, but it brought some new elements to the table that I thought worked out pretty well. Since the film grossed over half a billion dollars, we will probably (eventually) see a sequel pop up, and that wouldn't be a bad thing. It should probably add some gore, though.