It seems like it’s been forever since Brad Pitt was in a movie — well, one that everyone got a chance to see, anyway. Even though the movie star appeared in “Killing Them Softly” just last fall, “World War Z” marks his first big return to the screen since 2011’s “Moneyball,” and that return is just one of the big reasons to see the new thriller. Directed by Marc Forster (“Quantum of Solace”) from Max Brooks’ acclaimed novel, the film follows a retired United Nations employee who’s called back into service after a worldwide zombie epidemic breaks out. But whether its incredible source material, zombies or Brad Pitt himself is your particular brand of cinematic catnip, take a look at 5 reasons to see “World War Z.”
Brad Pitt Is Back.
As mentioned above, Pitt hasn’t been in a “big” movie in a while — as fantastic as he was in “Inglorious Basterds” and “Benjamin Button,” we have to go all the way back to 2007’s “Ocean’s Thirteen” for a proper crowd-pleaser. Perhaps appropriately, however, Pitt isn’t in the fun-loving mode of the “Ocean’s” films in “Z;” rather, he playing a concerned father whose pedigree as a field operative becomes both an asset and a liability after the military forces him to help them find a cure for the world’s zombie outbreak in exchange for safe haven for his family. Pitt’s a slightly softer and more sensitive guy than we’ve seen, but he charges headlong into the action, and he’s a leader worth following.
Zombies Are Badder Than Ever.
When Zack Snyder debuted “fast zombies” in his 2004 remake of “Dawn of the Dead,” it gave the lumbering undead a new profile. Since then we’ve had varying interpretations of zombies, but Marc Forster’s film treats the creatures like more of a literal encroaching force — or a giant, amorphous organism — than an inevitable tide that comes to swallow up humankind. Their speed, strength and numbers, all represented with terrifying vividness, offers audiences a threat unlike any they have seen before.
The World – The WHOLE World – Is At War.
Typically, zombie movies or outbreak stories tend to be confined to one or two locations, and seldom do audiences get to see the larger canvas for its impact on the world’s population. Pitt’s character travels from New Jersey to Korea to Israel to the U.K., and viewers get to see firsthand, in minute detail, how widespread and deadly the zombie menace truly is. Projected against an international backdrop, you really get a sense of how massive not just the epidemic is, but how important the stakes are for Pitt’s quest for a cure.
You’ll Never See It On A Plane.
There are a handful of plane crashes that guarantee that the movies in which they are depicted are never shown on airplanes. The central set piece in “World War Z” is one of the best ever staged, as one zombie turns all of coach class into a snarling web of voracious undead mouths. With few options available, Pitt’s character and the rest of the members of first class try to barricade their section, but soon enough the zombies find their way beyond that little curtain you’re not supposed to open. From there, what happens is best left up on the big screen, but we can guarantee one thing — if you take a plane trip any time in the next six months, you will not see that sequence unfolding on the seat-back screen in front of you.
It’s Really Big, But Ultimately It’s Really Small.
Although the story of “World War Z” unfolds literally on a global scale, at heart it’s the tale of a man trying to reunite with his family. And while a worldwide army of zombies certainly presents one man with as many challenges as it does, well, a living army, the finale of the film brings all of the story’s stakes down to a personal level, as Pitt’s character enlists two scientists to infiltrate a zombie-infested wing of a hospital in order to obtain some viruses that may hold the key to a cure. Rather than trying to go for a finale that is truly massive, blowing away all of the rest, Forster sharpens the focus on Pitt’s character and creates an identifiable kind of suspense that brings its story to a powerful, emotionally-wrenching climax.