written by Marc Morin (@thetwoohsix)
World War Z is loosely based on the wildly popular novel of the same name which was written by Max Brooks who just happens to be the son of famous director Mel Brooks. That little known fact doesn't really have anything to do with the movie, but I thought it was cool and worth mentioning so get over it. Brad Pitt isn't just the name you will see on the marquee, but he is also largely credited with getting this movie made as it has been a passion project of his for some time.
In a world... (Yeah, I said it) where pollution, toxic chemicals, and other hazardous materials are all readily available for mass consumption in grocery stores, fast food restaurants, and just about every other facet of our daily lives, the human race itself is becoming its own worst enemy. When the warning signs of a fast spreading and unexplainable virus are ignored by military and government officials, the eventual outbreak causes a global catastrophe that is basically unstoppable.
After former United Nations operative Gerry Lane (Pitt) witnesses first hand what kind of effect this virus is having on the population, he is called back in to lead a task force that hopes to find the cause of the outbreak which could lead to discovering a way to stop it. As he sets out on this seemingly impossible task, the virus itself has turned into a pandemic literally transforming billions of humans into zombie-like hosts and nearly wiping out every major populated area in the world.
So, there are a few issues I have with this movie, but overall I found it to be more of an enjoyable experience than I thought it was going to be. Sure, those scenes filled with hundreds of zombies rampaging through streets or dogpiling each other to climb otherwise impenetrable walls look a little too CGI for their own good, but overall this movie is well thought out and packs a lot of intense energy into every scene. Where the whole thing fell short was the lack of epic scale battle scenes between military groups and the zombie hoards which, to me, should be an essential part of a movie called World War Z.
There is a lot of implied military action and we get to see plenty of the aftermath, but the focus of the story holds steady on Gerry's race for the cure which itself is still pretty exciting and Brad Pitt manages to hold the whole thing together quite nicely. There are definitely more than a couple political, environmental, and societal messages thrown into the story, but in no way does it distract from this being an all out, no holds barred, action adventure, zombie movie.
The PG-13 rating will probably disappoint fans of the genre more than anything else as stabbings and other acts of brutality take place just off screen and there is a minimal amount of blood for a movie that features literally millions of zombies running around biting people's faces off. For my part though it didn't make much of a difference whether or not I actually got to see that person's hand get chopped off, there was still enough going on story wise to keep me satisfied. I especially liked how Gerry really didn't want to be out there saving the world, but knowing that doing so was the only way to save the ones he loves kept him on task and willing to do pretty much anything to get the job done.
I suppose I should mention before I wrap this up that I have not read the book and had only a passing knowledge of the story before seeing the movie so I had no basis for comparison. From what I understand, some fans of the book don't like how liberally the story was altered for the movie version, but really that's to be expected from any adaptation so my advice would be to get over it and enjoy the movie for what it is. Ultimately, World War Z accomplishes what it set out to do which was to be very entertaining while at the same time, get you thinking about how a zombie outbreak could occur in the world we actually live in.
Marc Morin is a LFTDG33k friend and trusted contributor. His blog TwoOhSix Movies is frequently updated with new reviews of some of the hit films of the season. Keep an eye on this official Lifted Geek and future posts on our website.