Yesterday I saw a prescreening of WWZ, which means it is review time!
Short story: While I wasn’t awestruck, WWZ had great moments, was entertaining, and I don’t regret seeing it. I definitely recommend seeing it in the theaters.
Long story (I believe this is spoiler-free):
When I first saw the trailer for WWZ I was not happy. The CGI zombie waves were absurd. Brad Pitt? Okkkayyy. It clearly wasn’t going to be a very good adaptation of the book and I wasn’t thrilled about it.
Then I started thinking about movie versions of books differently. That interview with Max Brooks also made me realize, we can’t dwell on movies staying true to books, or converting them scene for scene into film.
This is when I decided to go into seeing WWZ with absolutely no fan baggage from the book and no higher expectations than I normally would for any movie. What you are about to read is primarily a review based on the movie as the movie, with no relation to the book. Of course, I can’t get away with any mention of the book so I will at the end.
Brace yourself for an introduction that is essentially Dawn of the Dead (remake and original) remade, from the montage to the religious figure saying Hell has frozen over, to a closeup shot of a little girl pushing a door open to a bedroom. This started things off poorly for me, just because it felt more like a ripoff than a nod. Had to get that out of the way so you could brace yourself for impact if you see it.
Next, if you’re concerned about the seas of zombies like I was, climbing over each other in the thousands, don’t worry. It was actually well done and made a lot of sense once you see it in the movie. That was something I was dreading, but I found myself loving those scenes.
Speaking of that, the cheesy CGI factor was pretty high. After the first major fight scene in the beginning, I got over it.
There was a badass Israeli female soldier. Loved her. You will love her. She is awesome and reminds me a little of Blaze.
The zombies were okay. This is a PG13 movie and you can tell. They use a ton of shadows and silhouettes to keep it PG13. Don’t get me wrong, there are some very gory and violent scenes, but nothing like an R flick. But they pushed the boundaries and I appreciated that. There were also conceptually and emotionally tense scenes, which often have more impact than the gore anyway.
Brad Pitt delivered a performance that wasn’t stunning or awful. He mostly just facilitated cool scenes. The kids were irritating, as most movie kids are. Fortunately you don’t have to see them that often.
All that being said, there were moments of extreme, unbearable tension. I’m talking cover-your-eyes-can’t-take-it tension. There are some quality scary moments that make you jump without being cheesy.
Overall, I would recommend it with only one warning; this is not World War Z. You will not get many of the scenes you read in the book. If you go into this expecting a zombie action flick, you are more likely to be satisfied.