WORLD WAR Z

I have only watched a handful of episodes of Walking Dead.  The series just didn’t grab me.  It’s true, I chuckled my way through Zombieland and thought 28 Days Later was entertaining, but I don’t go out of my way to see a zombie movie.

So, it should mean something when I say that World War Z is one zombie picture worth checking out for viewers looking for an escapist, popcorn flick.

To the naysayers who thought zombies had peaked in the marketplace and those saying that the huge amount ($190 million budget) spent on a reportedly troubled production would produce a bomb, the film is performing above preliminary projections at the box office – second only to Monsters University this weekend – and opening bigger than any previous Brad Pitt picture.

But, what of the movie itself?

I went with modest expectations, which were surpassed.  I found the film entertaining, and engrossing except for the very, very end.  The main character’s closing statement seems anti-climactic and a bit preachy in direct contrast to the tone of the film leading up to the conclusion.  What a letdown, but it doesn’t undermine all of the good things about the film – good action sequences, good performances, some effective dialogue and plot twists.

I can’t speak to criticisms that World War Z deviates too much from the book by Max Brooks because I haven’t read it and always believe that films should stand of their own as creative works separate from the forms that inspire them. 

Unlike Man of Steel, World War Z is not too long, not too loud, and not too sterile.  Like Man of Steel, a hunky lead actor is pleasant to watch, and Brad Pitt is a perennial favorite of mine more because he can act than because of how he looks.

World War Z is the best of the big summer blockbusters thus far this season overall, and while I won’t be racing out to see it again (and haven’t been bowled over by any of the big films this summer so competition is modest), I enjoyed it. 

And, the film may have the best line of dialogue so far this year, “Mother Nature is a serial killer.”  Don’t like to think about her that way, but there is a lot of truth there!

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