If you decide to watch WWZ because of the book be prepared to be disappointed. But if you want a fast-paced thriller with zombies as the villains, then please go ahead and watch. Plus, who can resist Brad Pitt trying to save the world?
I am a huge fan of the book World War Z. For me, it is the best version of the 'zombie end of the world' examination of humanity. It tells the story of many people around the world, all different, but all the same in that they are trying to survive. I didn't go to see World War Z on the big screen. I had heard that it didn't do justice to the book and so I didn't want to give the studios my money. But it is a zombie movie (and I seem to have this thing for zombies) so I rented it. There really is little connection between the book and this movie, but if you are willing to just take the movie as it is then it does have some merit.
The Good Things
First, there is Brad Pitt. If I had to choose someone to watch saving the world he is in the top twenty. He looks good beaten up, stabbed and even after crashing in an airplane. He is also one lucky guy, managing to escape from various zombie-infested regions of the world just in the nick of time. And his character Gerry is observant. I guess you don't manage to survive some of the hottest war zones in the world without paying attention. His observation is what saves the world. He observes that zombies leave certain people alone and figures out that they avoid those who are terminally ill. So all we have to do is give everyone a terminal illness. Frankly I preferred the winter as the thing that stopped the zombies (it really made sense) but deadly diseases are a good stand in for the advantage that humans will need to survive.
The Annoying Things
You really do have to suspend disbelief for most movies, especially action ones, but there were a few things that bothered me. First, the poor scientist who was supposed to save the world manages to kill himself by accident at the very beginning. Seriously, we nerds are a bit flighty but we are not stupid or usually that clumsy. Second, it really isn't that easy to climb a pile of humans, even if they are zombies. We are oddly shaped and squishy. Finally, if people turned as fast as the movie seemed to indicate, how did that zombie get on the plane? My last complaint is about the very convenient family that is apparently great for pathos, motivation and, in a pinch, blackmail. I would have liked a little more character development there. Gerry's wife in particular seemed awfully compliant, and if her partner had been stationed in all these horrible war zones then I think she might have figured out that it wasn't a good plan to call him when he was in the middle of a disaster.
All in all, despite my complaints I enjoyed the movie for what it was. If we ever get the ensemble piece that WWZ should have been I will be in heaven but I guess for now, this will have to do.