World War Z

Jun 20, 2013

World War Z Grade: B Director: Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace) Screenplay: Matthew Michael Carnahan (State of Play), Drew Goddard (The Cabin in the Woods), Damon Lindelof Star Trek Into Darkness) Cast: Brad Pitt (Fight Club), Mireille Enos (Gangster Squad) Rating: PG-13 Runtime: 116 min by John DeSando If you like Zombie movies, crave them so to speak, then you’ll be pleased with World War Z, a work in the genre somewhere between Night of the Living Dead and 28 Days, my fav. Actually it is closer in quality and modest believability to 28 Days, with a bit of Contagion, as UN operative Gerry (Brad Pitt) struggles to find the source of the pandemic that is consuming the world. The implausibility of most horror films is built in; the genius of the filmmakers is to make us believe anyway. Unbelievable, yes, ludicrous no, for it speaks even in its grand setups of human vulnerability and the capricious power of Mother Nature. Although 28 Days had a minimalist approach, fewer zombies and more good guys, WWZ has a focus on hero Gerry with close-ups aplenty—but then it’s Brad Pitt, who was born to be photographed. The zombie tropes are all there if you’re checking: the hero coming out of retirement, the loving family he has to leave to save the world, the unreal transformation of millions into undead monsters, the good guy bitten, and so on. Yet director Marc Foster has assembled the best looking zombie horde to complement his star’s good looks. Foster has also depicted thousands of zombies climbing and being shot down in vast groups, and image I have not encountered except in films about Nazi atrocities. The almost two hours are as fast paced as the virus—nary a moment of peace—from transporting Gerry and his family to various safe spots to running from the legions of zombies to finally a relatively quiet World Health Organization lab, where the creatures are ready to stop Gerry from finding their weakness and producing an antidote. The allegorical implications of HIV or chemical warfare are there if you want them. Otherwise, it’s just an enjoyable ride along the suspense express. However, I have to admit the pandemic has a ring of truth to it , as if Ma Nature had decide another Black Plague would be good to get the population to reasonable size. For that scenario, see Dan Brown’s Inferno. For nothing more than edge-of-your seat thrills, World War Z will do for a good old-fashioned adrenaline rush. John DeSando co-hosts WCBE 90.5’s It’s Movie Time and Cinema Classics, which can be heard streaming and on-demand at Contact him at