Unless you are completely cut off from the outside world, or just don’t care about the entertainment business in general, chances are you are aware that zombies are pretty much at the top of the pop culture landscape at the moment. In the last decade or so, whenever zombies (or infected humans) are utilized in a form of media, people take notice and a hit is usually guaranteed. Movies such as Dawn of the Dead and 28 Days Later are considered two of the most well made monster movies of the century, so far. The Walking Dead is the highest rated (and one of the best) scripted shows on television. As for video games, we have had The Last of Us and Telltale’s Walking Dead, which have been released to near perfect critical acclaim. I think the only media that hasn’t benefited from zombie-mania is music (and no, The Cranberries song Zombie does not count). Of course, seeing how popular the brainless flesh eaters have become, it was only a matter of time before Hollywood green lit a mega-budget zombie epic starring an A-list star.
Based on the best selling novel (see, even literature has jumped on the zombie bandwagon) by Max Brooks, World War Z finds superstar Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a retired member of the military who has chosen to stay at home with his wife and 2 young girls. However, that moment of happiness proves to be short lived when an outbreak starts turning people into zombies. They start multiplying at an exponential rate, forcing survivors onto aircraft carriers in the middle of the sea. In order to ensure his families safety, he rejoins the military and goes on a mission to find the cause of the outbreak in hopes of stopping it.
These aren’t the traditional zombies that lumber around and eat the living. These are fast, vicious creatures whose only purpose is to infect the living. Also, for a movie with literally millions of the undead running around, there is virtually no gore or explicit violence to be seen. With the exception of a few cuts to the character’s faces and hands, there isn’t a drop of blood to be seen.
So, considering how tame the movie is, it’s a surprise how entertaining it can be.
Of course, many people are well aware of how troubled the production of this movie was. Reshoot after reshoot, casting and directing changes reeked havoc from the start. It’s a wonder the film was ever completed in the first place, but in the end luck was on their side and the finished product broke the curse that has befallen many problematic movies before. The only real issue I had was that the new ending feels so out of place with the rest of the production that it can be confusing. It’s not a bad ending by any means, but it seems like its from a completely different film altogether.