World War Z Review:
Another zombie story has hit the big screen and this time they’ve cast an A-list actor to play the main role. World War Z is a fitting title, because the film’s story takes place in a number of countries. This is the first time we get to see the initial reaction to an outbreak of epic proportion, and how the public and the military respond to this dilemma. Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a retired UN investigator, trying to live a happy quiet life with his wife and two daughters; unfortunately his life gets turned upside down when he is asked to use former investigative skills to save humanity. The movie is based on the 2006 bestselling novel, World War Z, written by Max Brooks (who is the son of Mel Brooks). The book is a follow up from the 2003 book, The Zombie Survival Guide. Although I’ve never read the books, I understand the general idea of what the author is trying to say: “even though fear, panic and desperation have taken over the people, there is still hope that humanity can overcome and survive this pandemic.”
The first half of the film is intense. The feral infected zombies rush through major cities washing over the public like a wave and creating havoc by infecting people within minutes after being bitten. The camerawork for these scenes were done with unsettling brilliance. Watching an overview of one of the major cities under attack is probably the best moments in the film. The rest of the first half of the picture focuses on Gerry’s family trying to get out of the city. There are moments in the film where I was holding my breath when they are running through the streets watching people being infected, and having no place to turn for safety. It reminds me of the running of the bulls in Pamplona, where people are being chased through the streets by a crap load of angry bulls with big horns trying to impale some poor victim. The only difference is that the poor victim still lives.
The second half of the movie slowed down a little bit, but not much. There is still a lot of action, but this is where we see how the military and the world battle this situation. Gerry and his family are flown to a temporary naval military base in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. This base consists of government officials, military brass, scientists, and survivors from neighboring ravaging cities. Being a former UN investigator, he is forced to go on a perilous mission to assist the scientists in finding the source of the infected and also a cure for it as well. Suddenly this movie turns into a journey through the ravaged countries, trying to be one step ahead of the undead and searching for clues as to how it started. The scenes with the infected were thrilling to watch. Despite those scenes were done by CGI, I thoroughly enjoyed the quick pace of the chase and seeing the stunt choreography with the undead.
In this film, Brad Pitt’s character approaches the zombie pandemic from a scientific and analytical point of view. It’s nice to switch thing around and see it from a different perspective. Your typical zombie flick usually revolves around a small band of survivors just trying to survive in an already desolate and hopeless world. This time Brad Pitt’s character, Gerry, is not alone and is being assisted by the military to investigate where the infection originated. Brad does a good job portraying Gerry’s emotions and dedication to his family. His love for his family is his motivation to accomplishing the mission. His skills as a UN investigator came into play several times in the film that made this story more complex, intriguing and mysterious than just your run of the mill zombie flick. He definitely brought his style of acting to give it a humanistic quality to a world that is unraveling fast.
Although the movie deals with the undead rising and infecting others, I don’t think this your typical zombie story. The undead acts more like animals with rage issues. It reminds me of the movie Contagion where the world population is decimated by a super flu, and 28Days Later where the infected acts like rabid animals transmitting the virus through blood contact. World War Z combines the two concepts from those films and delivers a story that is intelligent, exciting, and fast paced. For a summer action movie, it definitely takes you for a roller coaster ride with many gut wrenching twists and turns. I would rate this film 3 out of 4 movie stubs.