World War Z – Action, Mystery, Zombies – Review

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Photo Courtesy Paramount

Brad Pitt stars as Gerry – a former United Nations investigator who got out of the business to spend more time with his family (and maybe because of some incident that never really was explained), but, just when he thinks he has found a way out, they pull him back in!

One day, while driving through the streets of Philadelphia, his car gets stuck in a horrible traffic jam.  The family is cranky, and nothing seems to be moving, except for those cops rushing towards something, then rushing back.  ZOMBIES HAVE ATTACKED PHILDELPHIA!

Gerry uses his connections at the UN to be rescued (it’s good to have the cell number of the Under Secretary General), but it comes at a cost.  That Under Secretary, Thierry (Fana Mokoena), will offer Gerry’s family refuge if he goes with the physician trying to find the source of the virus causing zombies to be showing up all across the globe, with dire ramifications for civilization.  With that, Gerry is off to South Korea.

What is causing people to become zombies?

Can they be stopped?

How much of the world has been effected by this outbreak?

World War Z is best known for being a troubled production with a release delayed until summer and all sorts of talk about cuts, rewrites and more, but it’s pretty good.

The opening sequence of events stands as one of the best and most shocking of the year.  Director Marc Forster and the writing team wonderfully capture the suddenness of this outbreak, which leads to such a palpable shock and disbelief among those in the movie, the audience has a connection, sympathy and understanding with those on the screen.  Some of it may be very simplistic, but much of that is because the issues at hand (survival, protection of self and family) are the most basic in humanity.

Then, World War Z becomes a kind of action mystery as we see Gerry witnessing how the zombies are acting and trying to figure out what the heck is happening here.  Again, the mystery itself is not that complicated, but Forster mixes in enough zombie chases, and close calls to keep the audience thrilled and on edge, especially as we learn humans need to be quiet to avoid attracting zombies, which is a perfect mechanism to build tension as the theater falls silent and we jump at the slightest provocation (even if it is just someone dropping a soda and nothing to do with the action on the screen).

Plus, you have to love the zombies in this movie.  As a group, it’s nothing new or original, but, when isolated, I was amazed and amused by the behaviors they exhibit.  They are like crack addicts out to find a fix at any cost with mannerisms that are creepy as they mix animalistic salivating with the calculating minds of humans.

Pitt finds great, little ways to put his stamp on the movie.  In subtle ways, you can appreciate his reactions and facial expressions when surrounded by chaos or the unexplainable.  He’s smart enough to let the scenes speak for themselves, and enhance them with what he is doing as an actor, instead of dominating.

World War Z could have more details, especially about Gerry’s history, but the rest of it is so good, you can just enjoy it for what it is.

3waffles_sml3 Waffles (Out of 4)

World War Z is rated PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images

 

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