There is no foreplay here. This thing unzips itself and goes in right dry. There is no stumbling, grumbling figure that appears as no threat. It begins with a bang.
The opening credits make it almost feel like you are about to watch a documentary. The let down happens after when it shows Brad Pitt and generic family unit. When they said they were turning Max Brooks' classic (give it a few years) into a movie, my hope was that it would be an in depth mockumentary. The source material itself almost begs it to be.
A brief history lesson on the source material: Max Brooks wrote a tongue in cheek survival book. The premise was simple; how to survive a Zombie Apocalypse. The success of the book led to World War Z, which was subtitled 'An Oral History." It is a non-linear narrative that has individual subjects recounting the war that was the Zombie Uprising. To dig even deeper into the history of this, it is important to note the Brooks name. Max Brooks is the son of Mel Brooks, whose comedic legacy brought us such great films as Blazing Saddles or Spaceballs. Further to that, Max also served as a writer for SNL back in the early 2000's.
Considering that the Zombie Survival Guide was written as a comedy by the son of a comedian, going in to see this movie, you almost half expect levity amongst the chaos. It just so happens that this is one of the least funny Zombie movies ever made. Granted many Zombie movies are not intentionally funny, they just have this way about them. This movie takes its material far too seriously. I had a hard time believing in the protagonists' motives and choices, it takes more then cut-a-ways to a family the audience has no interest in to tug on the heart strings.
I did not recognize a lot of the book in the movie. I think the producers paid more for the name and just threw together their own Zombie apocalypse tale. World War Z is basically the James Bond of Zombie movies (go figure, director Marc Forster also directed Quantum of Solace). This is the first Zombie movie that really takes you from country to country. What this movie is not is a traditional Zombie movie. They played it really safe. The Zombies themselves did not look like Zombies. Their teeth were perfect, their skin was intact, and they were clean. You didn't see the kind of Zombie where they chewed through their own lips, and the ones that were bitten did not have flesh hanging from their arms. In both Max Brooks stories, they stressed that the groaning of the creatures was one of the hardest things to endure. These things did not groan, they were constantly gasping and sounded more like dinosaurs than zombies.
Considering the multitude of Zombie-media and the die-hard culture that is Zombie-mania, the producers may have shot themselves in the foot with this. People who love The Walking Dead, George A. Romero films, and all other things that is Zombie Culture, are passionate about the visual effects. The gore, the dirty, grunting, clumsy zombies is what they crave. Out of all the movies this year that deal with the apocalypse, this one would be better left to watch on demand.