Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.
Pop culture obsessives writing for the pop culture obsessed.

World War Z

Illustration for article titled World War Z

Thoughts on, and a place to discuss, the plot details we can’t reveal in our review.


There are bad endings, and then there are non-endings. World War Z has a non-ending. Convinced that the undead can't detect really sick people, Brad Pitt perilously makes his way to the center of a disease-control facility, where he then infects himself with some random bug in some random vial. To his, and the audience's, intense relief, this crazy gamble pays off, effectively "camouflaging" him from a dopey walker that's cornered him in the lab. It's a great sequence, capped by a crowd-pleasing moment in which Pitt slams a Pepsi and then passes through a swarm of zombies like Moses parting the red sea.

The problem is, that's a good second-act conclusion, not the proper end to a globe-trotting zombie outbreak blockbuster. But it's basically the movie's death gasp. The next scene shows Pitt on a boat to Nova Scotia to meet his family, his voiceover providing a supposed sense of finality to a montage of people fighting zombies across the globe. Snippets of this footage must be from the Russian final-battle scene Forster shot and for some reason scrapped. How bad must that big fight have turned out if everyone involved here decided that this anticlimactic coda was a better note to end on? It's the most abrupt sayonara in a Hollywood movie since the final scene of The Bourne Legacy—though unlike that similarly global thriller, World War Z doesn't seem to be setting things up for future installments. Its jarringly sudden conclusion just feels like a product of its troubled production, an oh-well-this-will-have-to-work punctuation. "This is not the end," Pitt soberingly intones during his boat ride. If only he was speaking literally.

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