World War Z (2013)

Posted: November 4, 2013 in Movie Review
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World War Z (2013)

Director: Marc Foster

Starring: Brad Pitt, Mirelle Enos, Fana Mokoena, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, David Morse, Matthew Fox

Being a huge fan of the zombie genre, everything from George Romero to TV’s “The Walking Dead,” even including some of the rather cheap and silly Italian films like “Zombie” and “Nightmare City,” you’d think that a movie like “World War Z” would have been close to #1 on my radar for the films of Summer 2013. But it wasn’t. Some of it was because of bad word of mouth from fans of Max Brooks’ 2006 novel, upset because the movie takes considerable liberties. I also didn’t like the idea of a PG-13 rated (i.e. sanitized) zombie movie. Even an R-rated zombie movie is sometimes suspect to me, as in the case of Georg Romero’s “Land of the Dead” (2005). In depicting a post-apocalyptic world where the dead rise and eat the living, one should always go all-out. Fortunately, when I did finally get around to watching “World War Z,” the version I saw was listed as “Unrated.” That’s more like it!

After seeing things no one should ever have to witness, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), his wife and their two daughters escape the traffic jammed streets of Philadelphia to the rapidly burning city of Newark, New Jersey. After rescuing a young boy from an apartment building, the five board a helicopter sent by Deputy Secretary-General Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena), Gerry’s old buddy from his days at the United Nations. Once aboard a Naval vessel, Gerry is blackmailed into traversing the world in search of a cure for the zombie virus. He agrees to help so that his family can remain on board the ship.

Of the locations he travels to, among them South Korea, Israel and Wales, the film’s most harrowing moment is on board a plane taking him and a female Israeli soldier (Daniella Kertesz) to a World Health Organization facility in Wales. A stowaway zombie kills a flight attendant, who kills a passenger, and so on and so forth. I had always wondered what a zombie outbreak on board an airplane would look like, and now I know. The chaos created by this unexpected attack gives Gerry and the Israeli solider only seconds to react. They eradicate the zombies on the plane, but they create an even bigger problem for themselves. The resulting plane crash is the movie’s most stunning visual. Does Gerry survive the crash? Well, he IS played by Brad Pitt, after all.

The solution they come up with at the end of the movie is unique to any zombie movie I’ve ever seen. It certainly wouldn’t save the cast of characters on “The Walking Dead,” that’s for sure. Quite the opposite. I have to give them points for originality in that regard. Otherwise, “World War Z” is a film that follows a very familiar storyline, especially if you’ve seen a few of the ones that feature fast-moving zombies (“28 Days Later,” “28 Weeks Later” & the “Dawn of the Dead” remake, for example). Even in the unrated version, the zombie violence is significantly toned down, but I can understand why this choice was made. “World War Z” was targeted for as wide an audience as possible. Should there be a sequel (and, yes, there is a pretty obvious set-up for one), I’ll be less apprehensive about seeing it than I was this one. There is room for improvement, as “World War Z” is nowhere close to the best of its kind.

  1. shnsjolin says:

    I thought it was a pretty decent action movie but a so-so zombie movie. You could easily have replaced the zombies with desperate people wanting to escape a virus.

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