I love all kinds of movies but a big chunk of my heart belongs to horror. Zombie movies in particular have been experiencing a long streak of popularity. Some people say they’re played out but I think the idea of a flesh-eating population running riot over the planet still lends itself to some potentially interesting ideas.
It’s hard to review movies based on books without comparing the two. I don’t want to be one of those people who says, “You have to read the book,” but in the case of “World War Z”, I’m going to. Two important points, present in the title and missing in the movie: world and war. Instead of a series of stories from around the world, dealing with the initial panic and the mystery surrounding its origin, and then bringing us the horror of the zombie war, told from global points of view, the movie instead focuses on Brad Pitt’s character, Gerry, a devoted family man/everyman. This decision robs the film of the culturally diverse reactions of the world’s population to the outbreak, and the unique set of characters of the novel. Virtually from the start, the characters in World War Z cease to resemble anyone from the book, living or undead.
George Romero’s early zombie movies are famous for Tom Savini’s exceptionally realistic gore and make-up effects, and subsequent forays into the world of zombies have offered brutal and graphic scenes of undead banquets. Star Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace, Finding Neverland) have brought to the screen the most bloodless zombie movie ever made. They’ve managed to create the first-ever family-friendly zombie movie. The M rating doesn’t allow for an all‑out gorefest, granted, but the movie virtually shows no drop of blood being shed. In the zombie apocalypse? Come on!
The three minutes of screen time from David Morse as a CIA rogue agent give the movie its three only truly great minutes. The performance from Brad Pitt, who is in pretty much every scene, is generally bland but there were a couple of moments where he was truly awful. The final scenes in the WHO building in Wales, where the action has come to a screeching halt, are truly ridiculous and finally made me give up on the film as a serious attempt to bring the audience face to face with the new zombie world order. Instead, we’re given a simple and unsatisfying solution.
If I could say something to the makers of World War Z, I’d speak to them with words that a parent might say to a naughty zombie child who has just chomped on his little brother: I’m not angry, I’m just disappointed.