I had read World War Z and reviewed it for Biff Bam Pop a few months ago. I like being scared and World War Z did not disappoint me. I was frightened all right, but in an unexpected way. Max Brooks wrote about the horrors of a zombie apocalypse from the perspective of the survivors; their tales frightening, I found myself unable to sleep. Would the movie hold the same thrill for me as the book? Join me after the jump, my little zombie snacks, and we will see.
Jerry Lane (Brad Pitt), a former investigator for the United Nations is living with his family in Philadelphia. They seem oblivious to what is heading their way. Stuck in traffic, Jerry and his wife Karen (Mireille Enos) and their two daughters Rachel (Abigail Hargrove) and Constance (Sterling Jerins) are wondering why there are so many helicopters flying overhead and why so many people are running down the street; no, it’s not the Mummer’s Parade or the Broad Street Run. What’s making its way towards Jerry and his family is zombies; hungry zombies; teeth clicking zombies; fast moving zombies. The family runs for their lives as people around them are first attacked and then become one of the undead.
Jerry’s older daughter is having an asthma attack so he borrows an RV to find the needed medication. During any tragedy, like hurricanes, tornadoes, or plain old zombie apocalypses, you can always count on bumping into nice people and knuckle heads; Jerry encounters both at the big shopping center. People are looting like crazy and ignoring all the marked down prices, but Jerry finds the meds for his daughter and saves his wife from two men intent on getting their discount freebie from her.
After making their way to an apartment building to find temporary shelter, Jerry, his family and a young boy named Tomas (Fabrizio Zacharee Guido) head to the roof and wait for a helicopter. They are taken to an aircraft carrier where Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena) of the United Nations and Captain Speke (James Badge Dale) send Jerry on a quest. In South Korea, a CIA agent (David Morse) tells Jerry that he’ll find his answers with the Mossad in Israel.
Without the excess blood and gore that is usually associated with zombie movies, the zombies of WWZ were somehow scarier as they moved quickly, attacking whoever was in their path. Once bitten, it only took from ten seconds to ten minutes for a victim to turn.
I was pleased with the scenes that showed the zombies moving as one large mass, as they made their way through the city; this is how I had imagined the scenes when I read the book. The sense of urgency as Jerry and his family tried to outrun the zombies had me jumping out of my seat.
It brought back memories of when I worked at the Academy of Natural Science in Philadelphia where I would wait for the school groups (600 to 700 children) to finish their lunch before charging up to the Changing Exhibit, where I was the manager. The zombies in WWZ moved as fast as those wee ones, who were on a sugar high. Very scary! The zombies were also funny, but I don’t know if this was the Director’s intent. All I know is that the audience laughed every time the zombies at the WHO headquarters snapped their teeth or moved in a convulsive dance.
Because the movie is so very different than the book, Jerry is the agent who is sent to find the source of the zombie pandemic and the means to stop it. WWZ had that familiar edgy tension of Contagion and Outbreak, where the hero rushes against time to save humanity and, luckily, I was kept on the edge of my seat as Jerry jumped around the globe searching for answers with the help of an Israeli soldier, Segen (Daniella Kertesz) Did the hero ever find a cure? Now you know I’m not going to tell you. You’ll have to see the movie to find out.
I know some people were upset that the movie did not follow the book closely; get over it. No movie can really do justice to any book. How could it, when our imaginations are better than even the best CGI out there.
The movie was good, not great, but good with Brad Pitt’s character believable, the zombies frightening, and the sense of doom real. I’m ready for the real zombie apocalypse when it comes and I already know how it will start; genetically modified foods. If you see someone clicking their teeth, you best run for your life!