I’ve always eschewed zombie films.
The notion of humans turning into feral beasts and attacking other humans has been anathema to my Indian sensibilities.
Until recently, zombies were not even part of the Indian movie lexicon.
But Brad Pitt admirer that I am, shedding all my zombie reservations, yours truly hotfooted over to the theater to watch World War Z (Brad Pitt is also co-producer).
Made by those with fat wallets (film’s cost is rumored to be $200 million), World War Z is an extremely fast-paced, well-made thriller that hops from Philadelphia to an aircraft carrier 200-miles east of New York City to South Korea to Jerusalem to Cardiff (Wales) before finally ending in calm Nova Scotia (Canada), all in a span of 1-hour 50-minutes.
World War Z begins on a warm, fuzzy note in the City of Brotherly Love a.k.a. Philadelphia.
A normal day. Commuters heading for work. Former U.N. Investigator Gerry Lane, wife and daughters have pancakes for breakfast.
But listen carefully.
There’s background talk on TV of a virus attack in some parts of the world and martial law being declared.
Moments later, traffic has come to a standstill in Center City, Philadelphia. Just a minute or two later, the zombie invasion is in full swing with the ‘undead’ leaping on windshields with scary thuds.
People run helter-skelter.
Gerry and family are evacuated to an aircraft carrier off NYC, but not before a violent fight with zombies in Newark (NJ).
Philly, Newark, Washington DC…whole nation is under attack.
The President dead, VP missing, DC in meltdown.
Beautiful, smooth build-up to the panic.
Soon a reluctant Gerry is forcibly dispatched on a mission to protect a virologist trying to find the source and cure to the problem.
Director Marc Forster maintains the adrenaline rush through a taut narrative.
Chaos and panic (particularly in walled Jerusalem) are impressive CGI feats as is the overall photography.
What about acting?
Are you crazy? Who gives a damn about acting in action-thrillers of this genre.
Just sit back and enjoy the killer thriller, will ya.
Director Forster throws in a clue to controlling the zombie attack in the middle of the movie itself but you have to be smart to get it. 😉
Some critics who’ve read Max Brooks’ eponymous novel on which the film is based are hopping mad that the movie diverges so much from the book as to make it unrecognizable.
But I suspect less than 10% of moviegoers will have read the book.
The movie’s ending is a bit abrupt though.
After the nail-biting moments at the WHO vaccine facility in Cardiff, one would have expected a smoother ending.
If World War Z does not turn out to be this summer’s biggest blockbuster, I’d be extremely surprised.
By the way, watch out for the sequel.