World War Z begins by setting the stage as an intense “thriller” about an ordinary family trying to survive a mutating virus. Needless to say, the word “Zombie” makes its appearance and all hell breaks loose as everyone run for their lives as the global epidemic spreads. Most of the film is focused on Gerry Lane, depicted by Brad Pitt, a former United Nations investigator turned cure finder and zombie slayer. Lane, as a former UN investigator, has acquired some skills to survive difficult situations as he goes about his business dodging the undead in his quest to save the world. It’s never explained why Lane, with vaguely defined past duties in global hot spots would be the obvious choice to single-handedly eradicate the zombie epidemic?
Pitt shined as a father, being the concerned parent to two daughters, and loving husband to Karin Lane played by the “Gangster Squad” actress Mireille Enos. The first big scene in “World War Z” finds the Lanes in traffic in downtown Philadelphia, when the city spins down to a grinding halt as confusion sets in. Police motorcycles chase through traffic with intensity to cause alarm, as motorist become more wary that something is seriously wrong. The suspense of the scene reaches a climax with a big explosion up-ahead in the city, followed by an out of control truck smashing everything in its way.
The Lanes make their escape with a stolen camper to Newark, which already bares the scares of a post apocalyptic nightmare with looters and desperate survivors. The Lanes are rescued by UN forces and relocated to an aircraft carrier, thanks to Gerry’s old boss. The rescue comes at a price as the UN requires his skills to assist scientist to unravel the mysterious cause of the outbreak. Gerry broke his promise to not return to his old career, as he is forced to do so to secure his family on the aircraft carrier due to space constraints.
Gerry descends on ad hoc missions as he finds himself in one rapidly disintegrating crisis to another. He is lead to South Korea first, then Israel, then to Cardiff, Wales to find a cure and trace the origins of the undead virus.
One of the best scenes in the film places Gerry and Israeli commando (Daniella Kertesz) on a flight to Wales to reach the World Health Organization office in Cardiff. They escaped Israel when the zombies managed to climb an enormous wall built to protect the people of Israel. Whilst onboard the aircraft, they took stock of the events that took place and tended to their wounds. Unknowingly, one of the passengers “turned” whist in the restroom a couple of miles from reaching their destination. Panic and chaos breaks out as one by one is bitten and survivors onboard the plane is trying to save themselves. Where is Samuel L. Jackson when you need him?!
The final scene of the film is set at the World Health Organization office in Cardiff. The hero and the flesh eating advisories find themselves trapped inside the building and bio-hazardous laboratories that holds the key to unravelling the mystery. The climax was rather bleak considering the entire world is captured by darkness and fear and humanities final hope is played out with a couple of survivors trapped in a building (the stretch for a sequel is probably to blame for this!). The suspense is in overdrive as Gerry and the gang, crawl the dark hallways quietly in search of what they need to find. Lane is eventually separated from the pack as he faces his biggest challenge to pin him as the ultimate hero of “World War Z”.
The movie is plagued with commercialism and a story behind a story, with social statements about global instability. Marc Forster’s “World War Z” could have been profound and thought provoking however it lacked the final touches to leave a lasting impression. The key element of a mind-blowing movie is here, if you buy in to what Forster and the production team was trying to achieve. Not enough time is spent to utilize the decay and apocalyptic setting to ask philosophical questions of what happens when the world is turned upside down and humanity is left defenceless. The element of loss and grieving is missing among the living as the undead roam the streets.
Moviegoers preparing themselves to watch a traditional zombie movie should not expect much from the PG-13 thriller/horror. In a way the epic zombie wall, spectacular plane crash and final suspenseful scenes satisfies, however the terrifying R-Rated elements are screaming to be part of what could have been a super zombie film. Up close, the twitchy and teeth chattering zombies where laughable at times. They did however raise a sense of urgency for any survivors to find shelter, as the fleet-footed hungry critters chase to find their next meal. Our final thoughts boil down to an all too familiar action thriller flick with an entertaining plot, which is conventionally pieced together with a hero that saves the day. Don’t be too upset if you miss “World War Z” on the silver-screen.
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