Movie Review: World War Z

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Earlier this week my friend Tim and I attend a screening of World War Z. Tim is a much bigger fan of the zombie/horror genre than I ever will be so he agreed to do this review. Enjoy. 

World War Z one sheet

In a summer movie season chock full of comic book, sci-fi, tried and true comedy raunch-fests, and other big budget formulaic fare, one may expect the latest addition to the flavor-of-the-week zombie genre to fail miserably. Considering the well-publicized production history of World War Z, in many ways it rises far above other offerings at the local multiplex.

 Director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace, Monsters Ball) cleverly wraps a simple family story into a globe-spanning zombie thrill-ride. The film stars Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a former UN investigator that is called upon to once again contribute his skillset to track down patient zero in the zombie epidemic. Although he is dead-set against once again going active with the UN, he soon realizes that choosing to accept the call to action will place his family in a privileged and protected spot in a world that has literally gone to hell.

wwz-chaos

Paramount Pictures

The first act wastes no time dropping us into a storyline that is some parts Contagion, some parts 28 Days Later. Forster manages to effectively ratchet up the tension as Gerry and his family literally battle their way out of Philadelphia. The network news is documenting a widespread rabies outbreak, but we soon learn it is much more than that. If you have ever tried to envision what mass hysteria would look like, it’s probably very close to the action that is unveiled on the screen.

As the film progresses, we see Pitt traveling to remote locales like South Korea, Jerusalem, and Wales to gather “crumbs” that could be used to battle the continued spread of the apocalypse. Recent global healthcare concerns such as SARS, and H1N1 come to mind in terms of their contagion and impact. We learn that airlines were the “perfect delivery systems.”  In terms of action and intensity, the scenes that take place on the Belarus Airlines flight are among the best you will see in any film.

wwz

Paramount Pictures

The third act succeeds by doing something that is rarely done successfully in a thriller. Forster re-shot the ending, scrapping the grandiose Russian battle sequences, instead opting to utilize a smaller-scale and less bombastic conclusion. The ending works incredibly well by bringing the viewer into a claustrophobic setting and yields high levels of gripping tension and suspense.

World War Z is not the best zombie film ever made. It is however a fun, clever thriller that deserves a watch on the big screen.

 

My rating 8.2/10

 MPAA Rating:  PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images

Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, David Morse, James Badge Dale, Mathew Fox

Credits: Directed by Marc Forster, scripted by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, and Damon Lindelof, based on the Max Brooks novel.

A Paramount Pictures release

Running time: 1:56

3D upgrade worthy? NO

About the Author

Tim watches movies and TV. Lots and lots of movies and  TV. He writes about it, podcasts about, and pretty much talks about it constantly. Tim knows deep inside his heart that Han shot first. You can follow and interact with Tim on Twitter (@timarthur)  GetGlue and his website Second Screeners.

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