Director: Marc Forster
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz
Let me begin by saying that I don’t particularly enjoy “going to the movies.” Frankly, people get on my nerves—especially when I’m trying to watch a horror flick. The moral of the story? Most of the reviews you read (from me) on this blog will be based on films I’ve watched from the comfort of my own couch. As a rule, it will take something pretty epic to get me into a theater.
However, today I decided to take a Thursday afternoon off and let my wife pick a movie to see, and to my immense pleasure she quickly responded with “World War Z” when asked. What can I say; I’m finally rubbing off on her. I had read Max Brooks’ book a few years ago, grew up on Romero’s masterpieces and am as addicted to The Walking Dead as everyone else these days, so far be it from me to deny myself, or my lovely bride, the guilty pleasure of what I hoped would be a solid zombie movie.
I was a little concerned before the movie ever started. The theater wasn’t all that crowded, but the other dozen or so folks in the room were all much older patrons (as in retirement age). I started thinking that maybe Rachel and I had entered the wrong theater by mistake, and that we, along with the cast of Cocoon, were about to be subjected to Monsters University. Of course I knew that we were in the right place and once I reflected on the situation my heart began to warm with the idea that these Centrum Silver popping patrons knew exactly what they were getting into (as opposed to just wanting to catch the new Brad Pitt movie…) Horror—and lately and more specifically Zombie—movies transcend all demographics. With that comforting thought in mind, the show began.
If you, faithful reader, are starting to get bored and are considering skipping the rest of this post, I’ll help you out by giving you the same 5 second review I sent to Chris and Silvia via text message: World War Z was 80% amazing and 20% greedy. Now, if you’re still intrigued, read on…
World War Z accelerated like a Ferrari. The first two acts were absolutely relentless. Solid doses of action, combined with just enough undertones of humanity and a surprisingly strong performance from Brad Pitt make for a great 80 minutes or so of screen time. Hell, even the CG was tolerable! I didn’t even mind that there was virtually no blood or gore at all, which was pretty impressive considering this was supposed to be a ZOMBIE MOVIE! In a nut shell, I was pretty impressed and reveled in the unshakeable feeling that World War Z was both familiar AND fresh. Plus, it’s been awhile since we’ve seen that crazy sub-species of Zombie that moves faster than Usain Bolt after a six pack of Mountain Dew. There were more than a few tense moments that forced my wife and I to find each other’s hands in the dark, and several of the supporting characters (as well as Pitt) offered up a few witty lines that caused the audience to chuckle out loud. I was liking what I was seeing.
Then came the last 30 minute or so.
I’m still new to horror blogging, so I’m not sure what’s appropriate in terms of “Spoiler Alerts” so I’ll try to keep this as vague as possible. Although necessary, World War Z’s third act was extremely long winded and frankly, predictable. The blatant attempt at creating suspense was palpable but on this front the film fell short. Because I like analogies, let’s return to my Ferrari scenario and imagine that this is the point in which we get stuck behind the school bus, with a ton of power under the hood, but no opportunity to capitalize on it. My grins and fist pumps from the first 80 minutes of the film were suddenly replaced with head shakes and cries of “come on already!” The final moments of the film were clearly teeing up a potential sequel in the form of a very John Connor-esque narrative given by Pitt’s character.
So here’s the thing: upon exiting the theater my wife asked me how I would have re-written the ending for the movie, and—call me lazy—but I haven’t a clue. I don’t make movies (yet); I simply pass judgment and offer unsolicited feedback about them, with the hopes that someone who reads this can make an educated decision when confronted with the difficult choice of sitting through World War Z or Monster’s University.
To make it simple for you, choose World War Z. I mean, you’re a horror fan for Pete’s (Cushing?) sake! Monster’s University is a cartoon, headlined by Billy Crystal, who doesn’t do horror. Although Throw Mama From the Train scared the living shit out of me as a kid. Anyhoo, watch the movie. It’s a fun Zombie film, and while it’s not perfect and probably won’t end up on a top ten horror movie list any time soon, it does have some solid moments and is well worth the price of admission. Especially if you’re lucky enough to enjoy it with a baby boomer or two.
Because after all, a fun horror film never grows old.