Updated: Oct 23, 2020
Streaming Service – Hulu (but I watched my unedited Director’s cut instead)
I first saw World War Z at an early screening in Austin, Texas about a week before the film released. My friend, Kody Boye, had scored tickets. What we didn’t know was that Brad Pitt himself was gonna show up to introduce the film. That’s a pretty good memory. And I still have the T-shirt they passed out.
In the theatrical version, World War Z leaned more heavily into the action movie genre tropes. The version I watched for the moviefest, the unrated director’s cut, includes a lot more scenes of zombie mayhem, violence, and gore, making it much more a zombie film. I definitely prefer the unrated cut of the film.
The story centers around Gerry and his family. Gerry used to be an investigator for the United Nations, so his services are needed when a zombie outbreak starts to destroy the world. We see from the very beginning of the film that Gerry is very aware of his surroundings, noticing things that other people might miss in the mayhem. His observational skills are born out of his past and they help him gradually sort out how to defend humanity against the zombie virus.
World War Z has some very intense scenes of zombie destruction from the outbreak to the fall of Jerusalem. One of the things I do like about this film is that it’s the first zombie movie I’ve watched where I knew I would probably not survive. The zombies are absolutely relentless in their pursuit of human flesh. They’re so fast it’s nearly impossible to escape them. Also the virus kills very quickly and re-animates a corpse in seconds, something that Gerry grasps right away.
Brad Pitt is very good in the role of Gerry and I like that he doesn’t play a character that’s an automatic bad ass. He’s able to survive because he’s been in difficult situations before, but it’s not because he is a warrior. The extended scenes of Gerry fighting zombies in the tenement building are very stressful because it’s clear he’s not really a fighter. He’s just doing the best he can to protect his family.
It has a much bigger budget than most zombie films. Which is a good thing when it comes to the fall of Jerusalem. I really liked the extended scenes that added to the tension of Gerry’s escape as he's escorted by the IDF through the narrow streets.
Some people don’t like the third act, but I do because is not a repetition of the action scenes we’ve already seen earlier in the film. Gerry’s final quest for a solution to the zombie outbreak is claustrophobic, personal, and stressful.
Though the film did not adhere to the short story format of the original book it’s based on, it’s still a very solid entry into the zombie genre. It remains on my list of some of my favorites.
The airplane outbreak remains one of my absolute favorite scary scenes in any zombie film.
Also, in my mind, the little dog survived the plane crash and found a new home in Wales. I WILL NOT ACCEPT ANY OTHER SCENARIOS!