World War Z: Zombies Finally Get Their Due—Movie

Simply put, “World War Z” is one of the best zombie movies ever. Producer Brad Pitt and director Marc Forster show that it’s possible to create a large-scale movie with heart, use special effects in a meaningful way and most of all, entertain.World-War-Z-Final-Movie-Poster

Based on the novel by Max Brooks, screenplay by  Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard and Damon Lindelof  and screen story by Matthew Michael Carnahan and J. Michael Straczynski, “World War Z” begins family friendly in the Philadelphia home of Gerry (Pitt) and Karin (Mireille Enos) Lane and their two young daughters. In the background we see and hear the television with “noise” about a mysterious virus. From the family conversation we learn that Gerry once traveled a great deal for work, but is now a stay at home dad. On a seemingly ordinary day, the family gets into their car and heads to downtown Philadelphia to drop the girls off at school. In the city they find themselves in a massive traffic jam when, literally, all hell breaks loose—car accidents, fires, smoke and most frighteningly, hordes of people running for their lives chased by equally large numbers of zombies. In the midst of all this chaos, the camera lingers on a man lying on the street, twitching. This unexpected activity is so intense that without realizing it, “World War Z “has grabbed you by the throat and keeps its hold on you for the movie’s entirety.

After several harrowing experiences in trying to avoid the zombie attack, the family is given shelter by the government in exchange for Gerry’s help in tracking down the cause of what is thought to be a zombie virus. It turns out that Gerry was an investigator for the U.N. We’re not told what that investigative work entailed, but we gather it was dangerous. From the safety of the shelter, Gerry makes his way by plane to South Korea, Israel and Wales. Each one of these locations comes with its own set of disturbingly dire circumstances. The scenes in the plane going to Cardiff are especially hard to watch, but are terrifically shot.

As Gerry rushes from country to country, the words of an Israeli officer stick with him, “Mother Nature is a serial killer. She loves disguising her weaknesses as strengths.” Those words lead him to the W.H.O. in Wales and some of the film’s most interesting, pulse-pounding scenes.

Brad Pitt is excellent as the former man of danger trying his best to remain a stable family man. Mireille Enos, known to most of us from “The Killing” does a nice turn as the faithful, protective wife (and it’s nice to see her actually smile). David Morse, James Badge Dale, Fana Mokoena and  Ludi Boeken round out a very good supporting cast ( and a special shout-out must be given to the clicking zombie in the lab…how did he do that?).

Part of what makes “World War Z” different from other zombie movies and thus more absorbing is its treatment of zombies. Although there is less blood and guts than the usual zombie flick, that doesn’t detract from the overall “zombieness”. The zombies confronted in the W.H.O. lab are especially fascinating to watch. And unlike other zombie movies,”Z” provides an intriguing theory as to what makes them tick.

You might have read that this film had some production problems as evidenced by the prominently billed, but almost missed Matthew Fox. However, the final product is terrific. “World War Z” is not your average zombie movie. It’s better.

3 ½ nuggets out of 4

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