There’s really no way to deny it; the world has gone crazy for zombies. Ever since THE WALKING DEAD hit the air and garnered a bazillion viewers, it seems like the undead-driven genre has come back from the dead. Sure, the genre saw a little boost in the early 2000s with successful films such as 28 DAYS LATER, SHAUN OF THE DEAD and the DAWN OF THE DEAD remake, but nothing can compare to the audience that THE WALKING DEAD has brought in (hell, even my mother likes to watch it at times). Apparently now is the best time to make a zombie film because with its theatrical run coming to a close, WORLD WAR Z has brought in nearly $200-million at the domestic box office; a figure that, before THE WALKING DEAD, was absolutely unheard of for a film in such a niche class.
WORLD WAR Z is an adaptation of Max Brooks’ best-selling novel of the same name. I’ve never read the book, but from what I’ve heard, the only thing that it and the film really have in common is the title. The film tells the story of humanity’s will to survive after a deadly strain of rabies causes half of the world’s population to become insane, chomping lunatics or, as they’re predictably nicknamed, zombies.
Leading the way against this new threat is Brad Pitt in the role of United Nations employee Gerry Lane. The first thing that came to mind when I heard about this casting was, “Wow, that’s unusual.” Brad Pitt in a zombie film? That’s definitely something that I thought I’d never see. Nevertheless, it looks like the decision has paid off greatly for Pitt as WORLD WAR Z now marks his highest-grossing film throughout his entire career. Pitt was excellent as Lane in this film. Not once was I taken out of the film due to the fact that here’s Brad Pitt in a zombie flick. He nailed all the dramatic beats and then kicked royal ass during the action sequences. Just like Will Smith in I AM LEGEND, Pitt proved that there’s no genre that he can’t dominate.
Pitt’s co-stars in the film were all casted perfectly, too; the highlights being Mireille Enos as his wife, Karin Lane, and Daniella Kertesz as his partner, Segen. Both of these women gave powerful, believable performances that definitely made the film’s near-two-hour runtime even more enjoyable. Kertesz was a master at portraying fear; I was in awe during her scenes. I’d like to make a joke here that Matthew Fox’s performance as “Parajumper” stole the show, but I just can’t due to the fact that I really feel bad for Fox. Here’s a guy with the chops to headline his own feature film, yet here is in a Brad Pitt vehicle reduced down to a side character who doesn’t even have a name. Very, very sad.
Director Marc Forster, like Pitt, also stepped out of his comfort zone for WORLD WAR Z. Known primarily for helming critically-acclaimed dramas such as MONSTER’S BALL and FINDING NEVERLAND as well as Daniel Craig’s worst James Bond flick, QUANTUM OF SOLACE, Forster wouldn’t’ve been my first pick for director on this film. The one thing that’s relatively known about Forster is that he always brings controversy along with him to his films. QUANTUM OF SOLACE had a lot of difficulty coming to light due to Forster scrapping and re-shooting scenes over and over again until the very last minute and WORLD WAR Z nearly suffered from the same type of production. In fact, the entire third act of the film was thrown into the trash at the last moment because it had gone over-budget. Can you imagine starting production on a film with a budget of over $170-million when there isn’t even a complete script on the table? That’s quite insane, if you ask me. In the end, though, Forster did a great job and honestly, I absolutely loved the third act of the film.
Overall, WORLD WAR Z was a great summer popcorn flick; most likely the smartest out of all the 2013 summer blockbusters. While I would’ve loved to had seen an adaptation closer to Brooks’ novel, Pitt, Forster and crew did a bang-up job of supplying the audience with one of the most exciting and visually-impressive zombie films in recent memory. It was refreshing to watch a zombie film that relied more on its characters rather than just blood and gore. Undead aficionados may be disappointed with the film in the end, but the general audience (as has been seen since the film’s release) will most-definitely gobble it up.
Final Thoughts are an opinion, not a review. I don’t believe that anyone should base their own opinion on that of another person. Reviewers and critics are just regular people like everyone else and their opinion shouldn’t be the be-all, end-all. What you just read were my Final Thoughts of WORLD WAR Z. I hope you share yours.