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Judy Thorburn's Movie Reviews

World War Z (3-D) | Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Hertesz, Fana Mokoena | Review

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4sm The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is GOOD Judy Thorburn

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4lg The Flick Chicks movie rating for this film is GOOD

World War Z

Humans are at war with an enemy, and it isn't nation against nation, political adversaries or extraterrestrial invaders. The Z stands for zombies, whom everyone is terrified of transforming into as the result of a sudden and deadly pandemic that is spreading fast and furious all over the globe and threatening to wipe out mankind as we know it.

So who do you call to save the world population from the impending apocalypse?  It seems that only one man has what it takes to get the job done.

Brad Pitt is one of the film's producers and he stars as the man of the hour (actually, in movie time, approximately 2 hours) Gerry Lane, a former United Nations investigator, living a leisurely life with his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and their two young daughters, Constance and Rachel (Sterling Jerins and Abigail Hargrove) until the sh-t hits the fan. There isn't a slow buildup as  director wastes no time in pumping up the action, kicking into gear almost immediately.

After preparing and sharing breakfast with his family, one morning, while driving through downtown Philadelphia (but filmed in Glasgow) in their SUV, the Lanes are caught in a traffic jam that unexpectedly turns lethal when an onslaught of crazed zombies arrive in swarms wrecking havoc on the streets, attacking and chomping down on everyone in their path.  It takes only seconds before the bitten are infected and become part of the legions of the undead.

Needless to say, Lane manages to maneuver his way through the carnage and crowded streets and find temporary refuge in the apartment of a Latino family.  Soon, he is forced to fight off zombies in the staircase as he and his family struggle to make it to the roof where they are rescued by a military helicopter and taken to an aircraft carrier.

Thats where he meets up with his former boss, U.N. Deputy Secretary General Thiery Umutoni (Fana Mokoena), who informs Lane that the U.S. President and his staff are dead, with  the authorities clueless as to what “it” is turning the living into rabid creatures. In command, the Secretary General recruits Lane back into action for a mission to track down the source of the deadly virus with the hope of developing a vaccine. Knowing that his family is at risk, Lane agrees to go on the assignment, in exchange for their safety.
 
An international search to find the answer takes Lane to South Korea, Jerusalem where he teams up with Segen, a kick ass female Israeli soldier (an androgynous looking Daniella Kertesz), and eventually to the headquarters of the World Health Organization in Wales. Along the way, in a race against time, the resourceful and smart Lane picks up clues that lead to finding a possible antidote.

Working from a screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan and Drew Goddard & Damon Lindelof, loosely based on the 2006 novel by Max Brooks (the son of late actress Anne Bancroft and comedy genius Mel Brooks), director Marc Forster (Monster's Ball) keeps the action moving at a steady pace, with just enough suspense and intrigue that keeps viewers drawn in.

Superstar Pitt inhabits the role of a loving family man with their protection and weight of the world on his shoulders, and in exuding humanity and fortitude, more than aptly carries the film.

I am not a big fan of zombie movies. Other than George Romero's original Night of the Living Dead and the recent comedy spoof Warm Bodies. I think once you've seen a  zombie flick you've seen them all. But, World War Z is not the run of the mill zombie movie. For one thing, the undead are not the usual slow moving freakazoid menaces we are accustomed to, but speedy, out of control creatures that go into a dormant state when there is no one around to infect, until noise reaches their ears and sets them off. Secondly, they aren't interested in eating flesh or other human organs, but instead have an uncontrollable desire to infect their victims with a bite so they can join their growing undead population.

For those looking for a gore fest, you are in for a disappointment as this is more of an end of the world action vehicle featuring horrifying, but not graphically bloody encounters with fast moving eye popping, teeth clattering, eerie screeching, zombies.

Despite some plot holes and obvious, convenient contrivances, such as Lane and Segen able to walk away after enduring a disastrous plane crash that left everyone dead except them, World War Z is an exciting thrill ride that conjures up elements reminiscent of The Andromeda Strain, Contagion and 28 Days Later.  The sci fi adventure certainly doesn't offer a cure for real world problems, but as a harmless, escapist diversion from the summertime heat, it surely delivers.

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