World War Z
Zombies have become a ridiculously outplayed trope in movies, video games, board games, and now even television. The reasons for this baffle me since the zombie genre is so watered-down, bland, and just all feels the same. So in order to stand out, zombie movies really need to take a different angle and approach the concept in a different way, much like Shaun of the Dead did almost 10 years ago (which still remains the only zombie movie I consider great). Luckily, the latest zombie blockbuster, World War Z, has that different angle.
World War Z deals with your basic run-of-the-mil zombie invasion, but the catch here is that this movie takes it to a global scale. The scope of the film is worldwide, were most zombie movies stick within the realm of a small group of characters. So is this enough to set it apart? As it turns out, it is.
Brad Pitt carries this film as Jerry, who has a past doing something or other with the UN which makes him skilled in tracking down the zombie virus origin. This mission takes him around the globe and more importantly around a number of interesting action and suspense set pieces.
What I really liked about WWZ is that it isn’t your basic “kill as many zombies as you can” type movie, but the action scenes are actually inventive and somewhat inspired. For example, we have a Metal Gear Solid style stealth scene in a research lab, a zombie attack on a passenger jet, and a zombie attack where they actually pile on each other to climb walls.
There’s also some interesting ideas at play with the zombie concept, including a neat tidbit about how North Korea managed to stay uninfected as Brad Pitt’s discovery about the nature of the zombie virus. What results is a different kind of zombie movie, and a rather refreshing one amidst all the usual dreck we get in this genre.
Now the film’s not all good. The score is pretty uninspired (and blatantly rips off Inception at one point) and the CG effects aren’t too hot. Also, the first couple action set pieces where it is just running from zombies are rather generic. But these are minor nitpicks in what is overall a solid action movie. It attempts to bring the scale to the global level and definitely succeeds.