In short, World War Zwas better than I ever anticipated a zombie movie could be. If you’re a fan of zombie movies, I have no idea what you’ll think of this one. But if, like me, you usually don’t go see zombie movies, you might want to make an exception for this one.
Brad Pitt plays the sort of reluctant action hero who’s just making pancakes for his kid when all hell breaks loose and he has no choice but to go out and save the world. He’s pretty believable in the role, making a quick stop in one mad race to escape the zombies to pick up his daughter’s dropped stuffed animal from the street. But, ridiculous as that sounds, he makes it look natural and understandable in the circumstances and is one of many small touches that shows us a more fully-developed character than we might expect from the lead zombie slayer. And, if you’re interested in this sort of thing, my personal opinion is that he was hotter in this movie than we’ve seen him since Thelma & Louise.
I’m not saying this was a high-tension movie or anything, but there was a moment when my popcorn tipped and I gasped out loud and grabbed it like my life depended on it. I immediately realized what I’d done and said to my daughter, “apparently, our lives are in jeopardy from falling popcorn.” She nodded knowingly and said, “that comes with free refills.” So, yeah. I may have overreacted.
The best thing about World War Z, though, was the imagery of the former humans turned into something wild and purely instinctive. One of the reasons I saw this movie was that the trailer showed some very intriguing imagery in that regard. In particular, a scene in which zombies climb one another in a swarm like ants caught my attention. It turned out that the resemblance was no accident; during the opening credits, we see scenes of various animals and insects in their natural environments, behaving similarly.
My daughter and I both appreciated the fact that the trailer didn’t even mention zombies—not having that information up front put us in a similar position to the lead characters as they looked at a world out of control and struggled to figure out what was happening. One negative about the trailer, and a big pet peeve of mine, is that we saw actual lines of dialogue during the trailer that didn’t happen in the film. This didn’t substantively impact my expectations for the film, but it was a little weird to see the trailer multiple times and hear, “If I could get into
Russia, where would I start?” and then hear “ India” substituted for Russia when that line arose in the actual film.