I was prepared to hate "World War Z."
As a big fan of Max Brooks' book of the same name, I was nervous when Paramount announced a film adaptation. To me, it always screamed TV miniseries, with too many stories to cram into a 120 minute movie.
Then came the reports of reshoots, a ballooning budget, release date changes, a PG-13 rating and a trailer with loaded with CGI. In short, there was a lot to be nervous about.
But after finally seeing the movie, I can safely say, they still done good.
It may not be the zombie movie I wanted it to be, but it's still a fun, action-packed, big budget flick that manages to deliver the scares.
First off, if you've read the book, don't go in expected to see an adaptation. This movie may take place in the same world as the novel, but it doesn't draw from it. It's an adaptation in title only.
The plot follows Brad Pitt's retired U.N. officer Gerry Lane as he travels around the Earth, trying to locate Patient Zero and find out how to stop a worldwide zombie epidemic.
The scope of this movie is definitely bigger than any zombie flick I've ever seen, with isolated farm houses and malls replaced with set pieces in Philadelpha, South Korea, Wales and Israel that are equally intense and terrifying.
The "Zombie Wall" moment from the trailers leads to an impressive sequence as the "zekes" swarm the city. There's an epic chase scene, an amputation and an airplane flight with a very disastrous (and somewhat ludicrous) conclusion.
The pacing of the movie is relentless, starting the undead action almost 5 minutes in and barely letting up until the end. It's definitely more of a thriller than your standard horror movie -- feeling like a mix between "Contagion" and the original "Resident Evil" movie.
Like the Bond movies, "World War Z" is filled with bloodless violence .... something you don't normally see in a zombie flick. Hardcore horror fans are sure to be disappointed by the lack of red in the movie, especially in scenes like the aforementioned amputation -- which you never actually see on screen.
As the lead, Pitt stays grounded in reality and the moments he shares with his movie family (including scenes with the underused Mireille Enos) come across as genuine. You could see Papa Pitt acting like this with any of his own six children.
Speaking of his kids, Brad says son Maddox appears as a zombie in the film -- and gets shot in the head. I don't remember that moment, but be on the lookout.
Also easy to miss in the movie is Matthew Fox, whose part is so small, I had to check the credits to be sure it was really him. Poor guy.
The final verdict: Run to the theater like you'd run from a zombie. You'll hopefully be pleasantly surprised by what you see ... I was!
"World War Z" opens June 21, 2013.
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