Brad Pitt + zombies = summer blockbuster.
That’s the equation, and by all rights, it should work. But does it?
Here there be spoilers, read on at your own risk.
Brad Pitt, playing retired U.N. Investigator Gerry Lane, takes on the zombie apocalypse as he is sent to find the origins of the virus (at least, that’s what is assumed). Gerry is reluctant to leave his family, and eventually is strong-armed into cooperation as the general in charge says there is no place in his refuge for those without “purpose.” So off Gerry jets to South Korea, then Jerusalem, and finally Cardiff in an attempt to track down the origin of the plague. The plot gets a little harried from here, because Lane fails to locate the origin of the plague, BUT he does stumble onto some handy info that could turn the tide of the war. The movie ends abruptly on that note; we never learn if the world is reclaimed from the zombies, but we do see Gerry Lane reunited with his family in Nova Scotia, so hey, as long as they’re together, does it matter that they’ll eventually be undead?
Pitt shows us an older, wiser, and more family-oriented side of his acting than we would have expected ten years ago (Troy, anyone?). Personally, I think fatherhood agrees with Pitt and it shows in his acting. Gerry Lane’s number one priority throughout the film is to protect his family, and the little things, like a trembling hand while he’s on the phone to his wife, shows that maybe the actor’s reality is influencing the character’s actions. I like this new side to Pitt’s acting, and I hope it continues. The first half of the equation (Brad Pitt) does not disappoint.
The zombies, however…
Zombie films are a particular weakness of mine (yes, I will continue to watch the Resident Evil franchise for as long as they continue to make them). And while zombies have definitely changed since The Night of the Living Dead, I am still a purist in what a zombie should be.
A zombie should be:
- Possessing a wide-eyed vacant expression devoid of any and all human emotion
- Eternally ravenous for the taste of human flesh
A zombie should not be:
- Able to outrun the fastest Olympian sprinter
- Able to perform the gymnastics
- Able to screech like a harpy
World War Z is a guilty of changing the formula of the traditional movie zombie. The zombies in WWZ are completely capable of performing superhuman feats, which, in my mind, a decaying body does not a 100-meter sprinter make. This fuzzes the second half of the equation for this potential blockbuster. Avid zombie-movie lovers may hate this new perception of the undead, but obviously Paramount only cares that the film made $66m in its first weekend and has already begun the workings of a sequel (WWZ2?). So maybe, the equation should be revised.
Brad Pitt + Large box office intake = summer blockbuster.
- 5 Brad Pitt Movies That Would Have Been Better With Zombies (socialitelife.com)
- World War Z REVIEW “more virus than zombie and nowhere the disaster it was set for” (noframeof.com)
- World War Z: Watch out Brad Pitt, the zombies are taking over Hollywood (metro.co.uk)
- The Lit Nerd’s Summer Reading: Zombies, zombies everywhere… (acollectivemind.wordpress.com)