Last weekend Julia and I ordered up some pizza (take out, since we live in the wilderness now)(i.e. a place that doesn’t get pizza delivery) and watched via Blu Ray a movie we’d intended to see in the theater but never got around to, World War Z. This movie, based on the novel by Max Brooks, was more than just a star vehicle for Brad Pitt: he played a major role in getting rights to it and getting it made. It didn’t seem to be a story that could be made into a film, as the book isn’t a traditional novel in any sense. Instead, it is a fake “oral history” of a war against zombies that has recently been fought. It is broken up into sections, each totally different from the last, capturing the stories of different people and how they managed during the events. No central character, no central theme, nothing. I loved the book, and I was curious to see if the filmmakers managed to pull it off. For my money, they did. Big time. I thoroughly enjoyed this movie.
I’m not a zombie movie guy. In fact of all the “supernatural” entities that books and movies regularly come back to — vampires, werewolves, zombies, etc. — they are far and away my least favorite. But this really isn’t a “zombie movie” at all. It is more of an action/adventure movie, which is right up my alley. The zombies are the villains, certainly, but they really aren’t even in the movie all that much.
So the premise is some virus has swept across the earth and civilization starts to crumble. Brad Pitt’s character is a former employee of the UN, who apparently did a lot of work in hot spots around the world. He gets dragged into the plan to take this young doctor to South Korea to investigate the possible origin of the virus. One thing leads to another, and Pitt finds himself needing to complete the doctor’s work. So he becomes the central thread of the story, and the individual stories ala how the book is written are the different places he goes and the people he encounters.
Pitt is a tough guy, but he’s no ex-military badass. He is the type of action character I prefer. He’s smart, observant, and a survivor. He does kick some ass when it’s necessary, but he takes a hell of a beating too. I found the movie fun and exciting, and it kept me on the edge of my seat. At PG-13, it wasn’t full of graphic violence either. Their was some grossness, sure, but what violence there was was more implied than splashed across the screen, and that is more effective in my opinion anyway.
Sure there are holes that can be punched in the movie, and there are a few problems. But it destroys most of the action movies I’ve seen lately, and was two hours of entertaining escapism, which was exactly what I wanted from it. I’ll definitely see it again.