World War Z
Available from September 17, 2013 until mid-March 2014 at Rogers On Demand (Channel 100) and online at RogersAnyplaceTV.com
Even if you’re not a fan of the undead – perhaps especially if you’re not a fan of the undead – World War Z delivers.
Never mind whether or not the world really needs another zombie movie. Or that World War Z contains only the barest of bones of the epic bestseller on which it’s based. Or that its original ending was DOA and had to be completely rewritten and reshot. Or that the zombie rotters in question are of the fast-moving 28 Days Later variety. Avoid picking those nits and you’ll have a heckuva lot of fun.
The book, a cult hit with rabid fans (and written by Max Brooks, the son of comedy legend Mel Brooks and ‘Mrs Robinson’ herself, Anne Bancroft), consists of a series of post-zombie pandemic vignettes recounted in the reports of a UN investigator. The script cleaves away everything but the UN investigator, played by Brad Pitt, and thrusts him into the middle of the rotter outbreak as he tries to save his family and find the origin of the outbreak.
The result is a $200-million zombie movie starring one of the biggest stars on the planet. Think about that for a second: The undead have crawled out of the straight-to-DVD graveyard and into the mainstreamiest mainstream imaginable.
The first 40 minutes are tense – and intense – as Pitt scrambles to escape the tsunami of CGI rotters that is sweeping across the globe, destroying armies and toppling governments. It’s a stunning, thrilling undead apocalypse.
There’s a terrific heart-pounding action set piece, with not-so-subtle political overtones, set in Jerusalem, and then the finale, the much discussed retooled ending. Dead and buried is an epic man-versus-zombie battle set in Russia. It didn’t work, for whatever reason. Instead, World War Z offers something more intimate, more intense and ultimately with higher risks and greater stakes.