***SPOLIER ALERT*** (even though we all know to always aim for head…….geez)
You’ve seen the trailer by now. And just like me, your first impression of the trailer was probably something like “umm….okay so all these zombies are Olympic sprinters or what?” But allow me to suspend any lurking doubt that this film has given you: World War Z aims for action-thriller greatness…..and nails it.
We meet Gerry Lane (Pitt) and his loving family and get an idea that life is pretty good, especially since Gerry no longer does what he used to do and is now home more often. Director Marc Forster doesn’t give us too much time to stew in this nice family picture as the action quickly (and I mean Q-U-I-C-K-L-Y) mounts. After a large explosion, coupled with people yelling and running scared, we get to see the first several quick shots of the undead which prompts Gerry into action. As the camera pans around quickly and in short tight shots, you see that the infected become fiercely savage and move with great speed. I thought it was pretty cool the way the director used a kid’s toy and it’s countdown feature to give the audience an idea of how quickly a person turns into “the running dead.”
During the first overhead shot of everyone running wild, a real sense of panic sinks in to show just how fast everything could go bad. After they make it through an apartment building and their first night, they struggle to get to the rooftop where a helicopter is going to be waiting to take them to safety. I loved this early portion of the film due to the fact that it really does gives you the feeling that Gerry can manage a situation. And he shows the smarts to prove it! A little while after this scene we see that a big form of refuge is found on Naval carriers out in the ocean and while there we get a little more info on Gerry’s background and we hear, for the first time, the big Z word. When Gerry gets told that he basically needs to get back in the game or he and his family will get ejected from the ship, he reluctantly agrees. It was around this time that I found my myself being reminded of great Pitt performances like The Devil’s Own, Spy Game, and Seven. Gerry boards a plane with a small security detail including young man from Harvard, Andrew, who has an educational background that might be useful. While en route, the two have a conversation in which Andrew clues us in on how something like this could happen, comparing Mother Nature to a ‘serial killer.’ He also explains to Gerry that —- like all serial killers, if you follow the breadcrumbs —- you will eventually see “a kink in the armor.”
From that moment, you better make sure you don’t slip out of your seat from sitting on the edge so much! World War Z cleverly gives a brain (no pun intended) to the Zombie genre. From time to time I looked around the theater to see how the audience was reacting and from the looks of it, a lot of them were surprised. And in a good way. The film brilliantly mixes the right amount of action, thriller, and drama ingredients but also somehow manages to keep the Zombieness (it’s a word) at it’s core. While I will admit some aspects of the film we’ve seen in others like 28 Days Later, I Am Legend, and War of the Worlds, WWZ does provide a very unexpected twist towards the end…..just you wait! So do yourself a favor, don’t believe the negativity surrounding this awesome movie and judge for yourself on just how exciting it is!
Now if you’ll excuse me, there’s some cardio I need to take care of….