Max Brooks’ novel “World War Z” details an oral history of the zombie wars, set many years after the outbreak and told from several perspectives around the globe. World War Z instead decides to focus solely on Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his family around the time the worldwide pandemic begins. Gerry is a former UN employee used to going into hotspots around the globe who has retired to suburban housedad. Following a fantastically memorable attack in Philadelphia where Gerry and his family find themselves right in the middle of the action, he receives a call from his former boss telling him that he needs Gerry’s help. The Lane family is just barely extracted from the roof of a Newark apartment building and transported to an aircraft carrier serving as the U.N.’s temporary command center.
As Gerry travels the world searching for the root of this zombie disease, we begin to get a better picture of how the world is doing. For reasons I won’t give away, nations such as Israel and North Korea are doing alarmingly well given the zombie apocalypse, whilst the United States along with most of the world struggles to hold even a few small ‘safe zones’ for the uninfected. These brief glimpses out into the wider world are a part of what make World War Z great, as they attempt to explore the broader societal approach to the news of zombies. Opening and closing montages also shed some light on the sociological responses to this kind of mass outbreak, from initial denial to an eventual scramble to help survivors. However, those who the book may be disappointed as the film does spend most of its time centered on Gerry and his family. That being said, World War Z is still a fantastic thriller; with some terrifically tense action scenes and spot-on performances it offers surprisingly more than one may expect, and is definitely worth checking out.