Brad Pitt's epic zombie pic is finally here, promising a scale previously unseen in the undead genre. Gerry (Pitt) must flee his Philadelphia hometown (nice wink to the original Night of the Living Dead setting) and drop his family off on a nearby aircraft carrier so he can scour multiple countries in the hopes of finding a cure. Once officials start using the Z word though, there's really no going back to DVRs and 9 to 5 workdays.
Though the film is big, director Marc Forester (Quantum of Solace) keeps our focus on Gerry's tale. There are a few names in the cast, but you'll have to keep your dead eyes peeled for them, as when Matthew Fox (Lost) shows up. As a fun summer thrill ride WWZ mostly deliverers.
And here are 6 ways this zombie pic serves up a whole new flavor.
1. Brad Pitt's Dream: To Be A United Nations Man. Still ruggedly handsome and blessed with a loving family (that includes The Killing's Mireille Enos) Gerry's a U.N. investigator travelling the world to find Patient Zero. He knows how to fight, but is more concerned with making nice with North Korea. Bonus points for saving an orphan child from the zombie horde.
2. 12 Seconds Is All It Takes…Transformation can be extremely fast. Which is why Gerry has to do things like chop off an infected soldier's hand. Speed is of the essence.
3. Did We Need A $200 Million Dollar Zombie Pic? Yes! A troubled production with multiple reshoots that led to a complete change in the tone has birthed a film that barely resembles the novel by Max Brooks (Mel's son). The political angle has been hacked away. The biggest change, however, was there from day one: the zombies are insanely fast. They toss themselves over buildings, body parts flailing. Like really ticked off army ants. Most undead movies are claustrophobic with characters trapped in confined spaces. Here, the set pieces are huge, with an attack on Jerusalem completely justifying the big screen ticket price.
4. PG-13 Means Not As Gory As AMC's The Walking Dead. We get that this is a big tent-pole release for Paramount, but an R rating would have delivered more rotting flesh and dismemberments. Audiences are hungry for brainzzz….
5. No Dumb Fighting Between Humans: We All Are the World, After All. One the biggest drags with many apocalyptic films is the constant bickering between survivors. Z has no silly moles to uncover, no power-obsessed warlords to battle. Ya know, because zombies have taken over.
6. More of an Amazing Skirmish Than All Out War. At two hours, it's a little disappointing that the "war" in the title is saved for a presumed sequel. The big finale is bizarrely small scale to say the least.