World War Z might be based on the book by Max Brooks, but it’s not as if you would notice it if you didn’t know it. Whereas the book is a collection of fictitious UN reports, eyewitness reports and interviews with soldiers, survivors and scientists who look back on the zombie apocalypse a couple of years after the facts, the movie is a no holds barred blockbuster that places you right in the action and that will have you on the edge of your seat.
For a while though it seemed as if this movie would never see the light of day: six years in the making, postponed release dates, more than enough writers to start a zombie apocalypse of their own, a budget that went from huge to epic, expensive reshoots and fights between the movie’s lead/producer Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster. Shit didn’t look good. But in the end the most expensive zombie flick ever was well worth the wait and easily one of this year’s best movies if you ask me.
Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a former UN field investigator, who ends up running for his life when he and his family find themselves smack dab in the middle of the action as zombies take over Philadelphia. Because of his connections, he and his family are escorted to safety on a ship that is far from the zombie hordes. There is a catch however… the powers that be (or are left) want Lane to trace the origin of the infestation in order to find a cure. In return his wife and kids get to stay on the ship.
If you think the opening sequence is already impressive (it is), you can brace yourself for what’s to come as we follow Lane hopscotch around the world. That is largely thanks to the zombies not being of the Romero variety. Instead they give Usain Bolt a run for his money and it makes them highly photogenic. When facing a huge wall in Jerusalem, they simply run over one another until a mountain of undead flesh is formed from which they can scale the wall. The way this scene is shot is nothing short of spectacular so kudos to Forster. The man deserves even more respect for not letting the movie go out with a bang (don’t worry, you get plenty of those beforehand) but rather with a climax that can almost be called intimate. We’ve even gladly forgiven him now for “Quantum Of Solace”.
Okay, so there could’ve been more character development. True. But this movie is so well paced and the action sequences are some of the most eye-popping ones I have seen in a long time (that scene in the plane!). Simply put, I wasn’t thinking about character development because I was too busy enjoying the hell out of this movie.