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Brad Pitt Vs. Zombies: ‘World War Z’ Movie Review

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As an unexplained rash of violent, cannibalistic human behavior begins to spread globally, Brad Pitt begins his quest to save the world in World War Z. As the film opens, they appear to be one of those still in love couples, dealing with two adorable young daughters. You thought his daughter’s teen years were going to be Gerry’s biggest problem?  Photo: goodreads.com

Director Marc Forster  creates a world tour, as Gerry (Pitt) gets called back by his old boss from the United Nations to figure out what has happened. Gerry begins his journey in Philadelphia before heading to Newark, South Korea, Israel and Wales, evoking the Bourne and Bond franchises. Pitt is delightful – he’s pushing 50, but still retains the athletic ease of a younger man. Mireille Enos (of AMC’s mediocre-but-trying-to-improve series The Killing) portrays his stoic and supportive wife, Karen. Enos embodies Karen with more depth than the generic supportive wife. She bottles up her concerns so not to distract him from his mission.  

Gerry gets support from both American and Israeli military forces. James Badge Dale (Iron Man 3, The Pacific) leads the American team trying to protect him. The US team is jaded and points out how misinformation contributed to the catastrophe. When the word “Zombie” is finally spoken – it’s unnerving. These zombies can run and they are horrifying.

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The South Korean sequence is one of the most suspenseful and reminiscent of Aliens.  Daniella Kertesz helps Gerry when he heads to Israel to track down more answers. She demonstrates Israeli efficiency and cool and thankfully is a crack shot.

With the serialized Walking Dead firmly entrenched in the sci-fi cultural landscape, World War Z leverages the strengths of cinema to deliver an expansive vision. The scope is massive, which explains the reported $400 million budget. The movie contributes to a rich canon of Zombie movies –in a similar vein to the realistic 28 Days Later, rather than the more light-hearted Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland.  


The film is loosely based on Max Brooks’ novel of the same title. The writers – all five of them – did a decent job adapting the spirit of Mr. Brook’s time. Apparently, the script went through multiple rewrites, but it maintains its narrative thread throughout the film. Gerry’s desire to stop the zombie apocalypse is rooted in his hope that his daughters can return to a normal life, and that he might live to see them again.  

The movie doesn’t follow the book’s plot – but it uses some of the key scenarios like the emphasis on military operations to great effect. World War Z is a smart, thrilling experience. How will you prepare for zombie apocalypse?

 

Contact Diane Cooney at dcooney@philly2philly.com

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Photo: goodreads.com