world-war-zSo, by now, I’m assuming everyone knows WORLD WAR Z has hit theatres. Brad Pitt’s hair, er, I mean production company and their (estimated) 200 million dollar take on the genre mainstay novel by Max Brooks. Reviews have been coming in left and right, by both sides of the “I hated it/I LOVED IT!” argument. As a respected member of the Moral Middle Ground, I have thusly decided to take it upon myself to review this movie in the manner that an overblown Hollywood mega-production deserves.

I was not able to see WWZ right away. This was primarily for two reasons. A) I had a lack of disposable cash, which makes dropping eleven bucks at the movies problematic, and B) I wasn’t entirely sure I wanted to subject myself to two hours of Hollywood ass-raping one of my favorite books. I have maintained from the day that Brad Pitt’s production company first bought the movie rights that WWZ would be better served as a mini-series, on a station that allowed their shows a certain level of creative freedom, like HBO or AMC. But, alas, no. Hollywood seemed hell-bent on capitalizing on the WWZ name in order to make a quick buck. After the reports starting trickling in about production issues, script issues, budget overruns, and Brad Pitt’s hair plug malfunctions, I started to lose faith that anything good would ever come of this.

(ED. NOTE—Hey, Hollywood. Perhaps next time, you should actually wait to start filming your movie until, I don’t know, you actually have a COMPLETED SCRIPT!!?! It tends to make your shooting schedule a LOT easier. Morons.)

(ED. NOTE Part 2—I was only kidding about Brad Pitt having hair plugs. As far as you know.)

So it wasn’t until after the movies’ third weekend in theatres that I finally relented, and my wife and I went into a mid-afternoon show on a Saturday with expectations lower than a freshman at a Sorority kegger. Popcorn and Oil tanker-sized soda in hand (I’d tell you what I was drinking, but until those cheap bastards start paying for their product placement, they can kiss my ass) I took my seat.

After a few unremarkable previews of movies that barely rated a RedBox rental, the movie started. I shall endeavor, to the best of my limited short-term memory, to relay the movie, exactly as I saw it. In my head, I repeated “It won’t be like the book, It won’t be like the book”, as if that would help.

Spoilers ahead. Don’t say I didn’t warn you…

Opening credits- a montage of news reports and flash cut images, likely used to explain the virus’ origins. Not bad. A little rock video-ish, but effective.

Oh, look. Brad Pitt has two impossibly adorable kids that are only found in movies. Good family chemistry. They don’t have a dog, which is a good thing. Hollywood rarely kills off a dog, and this is supposed to be a zombie flick. No dog = promising.

brad-wwz-hairSo Brad Pitt used to be what? A CIA agent? A Government employee? A greeter at WalMart? It doesn’t matter. I want to make love to his hair. It is a work of art.

Driving through downtown Philadelphia (I think), shit is about to hit the fan. How do I know this? I saw the preview.

Yup, I was right. Shit hit the fan. The crowd panic scene is good. The zombies move fast, and are sufficiently vicious. The sequence where Brad Pitt watches the dude on the street turn while his daughter’s talking toy counted down was inspired.

So, Brad crashes his car and manages to jack an RV? Umm…ok.

Civilization is collapsing, yet cell service still works? Dude, I can’t even use my phone in my frakkin bathroom!! I want to know what network you’re on. I will guaran-frickin-tee it isn’t AT&T.

I really like the scene of the looting at the New Jersey grocery store. Having a young daughter myself, I can fully endorse doing whatever you can to make sure she is ok. The scene with the kid holding the gun in the pharmacy was especially noteworthy. Laced with tension, yet filled with a humanity you don’t see in your standard everyday horror flick. Well done.

Well, of course their RV will get jacked while they are in the store. Wouldn’t want to make things easy, would ya?

Nice aerial shots of ants on the street in New Jersey. Wait, those are people. Meh, easy mistake to make. It’s still New Jersey.

First twenty minutes are a passing grade. Solid B plus. The urban collapse scenes are top shelf.

So, if you know there are helicopters on their way to get you out, you figure the easiest thing to do would be to get to the top of an apartment building? Really? You do know this is New Jersey, right?

It was awfully nice of that Hispanic family to let our hero and his kids in. No snarky comments here. I’d like to believe normal people would help out complete strangers in an emergency, but I’m not going to hold my breath.

OK. The hero and his family have left for the roof, offering a chance for the Hispanic family to go with them. Why would you stay? You live in New Jersey. Frankly, turning into a zombie is preferable.

brad-pitt-wwz-hairIf you honestly believe anything was going to happen to Brad Pitt’s hair, or his family, you have obviously never seen a movie ever. And you just knew the little Hispanic kid would come after them, right?

A lesson to be learned at this point: If you want to survive the zombie apocalypse, it helps if you work for the UN.

So the Military/United Nations/Grumpy bastards in charge of everything that is left just told Brad Pitt’s hair that if he doesn’t hop on a plane RIGHT NOW, that his family won’t be allowed to stay on the Love Boat, or whatever that particular naval vessel is called.

Addendum- So their big plan is to hop on a cargo plane and send Brad Pitt’s hair and its entourage to track down where the plague started from. Really? OK. Not sure I’m buying it, but I’ll play along.

Man, South Korea is really dark and rainy. The soldiers stationed there are kind of a bunch of dicks. On a side note, why can’t James Badge Dale get more work? The dude is money in everything he does.

Ok, the super-smart scientist who undoubtedly got laid more in college than I ever did, just tripped and shot himself dead. Really??!?

So you’re telling me they didn’t find what they were looking for, and now have to go to Israel? Maybe you should have thought this through a wee bit more…

David Morse was in this movie, I swear. His name was in the credits, and on the poster. I’m thinking most of his scenes were left on the cutting room floor.

The whole Israel scene is well done, and might be the best part of the movie. The CGI didn’t look nearly as wonky as I feared. Some real tension, and the shots of the infected storming over the giant wall was pretty cool.

I have to hand it to the female Israeli soldier, she sure was handy to have around… anyone? Ok, I’ll stop.

So, in America, I can’t board an airplane if I have more than an ounce of shampoo in my carry-on, but a Belarussian flight will allow a heavily armed soldier and Brad Pitt’s hair to hop onboard? God help us if the TSA is in charge during the Z-poc…

Again, raise your hand if you did NOT see there being a zombie on the plane? Did you not see the preview?

Did anyone else hear Samuel Jackson’s voice from SNAKES ON A PLANE during this sequence? “I’m tired of these mother-f#[email protected]& zombies on this mother-F$#@% plane??”

And the plane goes down. Luckily for us, Brad Pitt’s hair made it out alive. On a side note, wouldn’t the sound of the plane crash have attracted any nearby zombies? Guess not.

Very noticeable shift in tone in the third act. Where act one was character development and act two was more actiony set pieces, act 3 goes more for a closer feel. I have heard some people had issues with this. I didn’t. It allowed us to actually see the zombies, and the neat little chomping thing they did with their teeth. I am still in lust with Brad Pitt’s hair though…

As far as the big issue with the product placement, seriously?? Have you seen what Brad Pitt’s hair just went through? If I had injected myself with something in order to test my theory that will ultimately save the day, you’re damn right I’m going to stop for a damn soda. Or scotch. Whichever was handy.

As this is a Hollywood mega-movie, you could see the happy ending coming a mile away, as well as the open-ended ending, leaving room for a sequel.

So, was it disappointing? Not particularly. The two hour run time zoomed by, and I found myself momentarily forgetting all the crap that happened while the movie was shooting. I found it to be an enjoyable flick. Was it a perfect zombie movie? Hell, no. It’s obvious there was a bunch of things that they wanted to do, but most of it was dropped in editing. However, it gave us a unique take on zombies, and frankly, that was more than I could have asked for. It was not as bad as some have made it out to be, nor is it an instant classic. It’s a functional, character-driven flick with zombies, as opposed to a zombie flick. I didn’t even mind the lack of gore (Hello, kid-friendly PG-13). As much as I hate to admit it, I was wrong. I enjoyed WWZ a lot more than I thought.

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About Chip Fehd

Chip Fehd is an author, screenwriter and Lover of all things horror. He currently haunts the Seattle area.Chip welcomes all communication, both positive and negative. Come find him on Facebook.