Tuesday, October 8, 2013

World War Z (2013)

JohnnyTwoToes thums ups this big-budget, first rate Zombie Thriller

The recent Box office hit World War Z (2013) travels familiar ground with its "zombies take over the world" premise, however Marc Forster's apocalyptic film is an effective hybrid of action, adventure and horror that transcends the usual limitations of the zombie genre and makes an entertaining 2 hours of bloody zombie fun . 

The film stars Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a former U.N. employee who was, of course the best his boss had ever seen. Doing what is never explained. Lane even says at one point he is no doctor, but that he has "picked up some things in the field". So one can only imagine what it was the he did for the U.N. I only mention this because whatever it was, his services are needed after a zombie epidemic breaks out world wide. 

After he and his family survive a night in the city, they are picked up by a helicopter and make a daring escape to an aircraft carrier; apparently a sterile zombie free zone. Gerry is given the ultimatum; find the source or he and his family are kicked off the boat to a city. I liked they way they force him to accept his assignment, rather than appeal to his better nature. As viewers, we don't have to sit through another insufferable portion of the film where he thinks about it, talks to his wife and kids, etc. I'm sorry, but those scenes have become a unwelcome staple in films, for me; trite and predictable. 

Fortunately, Director Forster and his team of writers Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, and Damon Lindelof do a good job of getting to the meat of the film with a thoughtful script that knows we have seen zombie films before. They at least, know the viewers are smarter than they are given credit for in a lot of films today where every detail is explained in overkill fashion. 

At the heart of this film is Brad Pitt's performance which it top notch as always. He is only doing what he has to do to get back to his family. He is not a superhero and his character has the right amount of humanity that makes him a believable character. As Gerry goes from South Korea to Israel he desperately searches for a cure and where the infection started. He meets up with a young female Israeli soldier named Segen (Daniella Kertesz) and they have a platonic relationship but it has chemistry so we become invested in their well being. Daniella Kertesz, who is Israeli in real life, is quietly effective and lets her facial expression relay her fear. Here's to looking for more of her films. She is a find. 

Marco Beltrami's score is big and boisterous - a mostly orchestral score that compliments the action on screen, but has it's subdued elements when Gerry is with his family. Director Marc Forster, who took a beating when he directed the Bond film Quantum Of Solace (a film I loved, by the way). shows he is able to combine several genres and still make it effective and very intense. I mean there is nothing here we have not seen done before but the filmmakers have given us interesting characters and they have even made the zombies more threatening which makes it all the more fun.

Zombies in most such films seem to stop when they hit a wall or an obstacle - doing their zombie walk. In World War Z, they are the opposite, quick, nimble, not above using each other to breach perimeters, walls and doors no matter how high they go!

World War Z cost a mint to make - around $`190 million, went through plenty of production hiccups but it turned out an eventual success netting more than $500 million worldwide. Some suspect this claim though! No matter what the problems were or the reasons, kudos to all involved for sticking with the project and their passion for the film shows. This is a fine zombie film and worth a cinematic viewing. There will be an extended, unrated cut released which will take the running time from a PG-13 116 minutes to 123 minutes. Either cut will do, but as I always say, go with the extended version and the score is available online and in CD form. World War Z- ***1/2 out of 4.


  1. Nice review of a equally nice film. I did not like the ending - a clear indicator for a sequel but they could have still finished this with style!

  2. Sarah, thank you so much for reading and writing! As you have pointed out, the ending was a bit untidy, HOWEVER you nailed it. There is talk of a sequel, but as of this posting director Forster will more than likely NOT return. Too many problems occurred during the filming of this film so I guess, Forster has had enough. Again, thank you so much for reading and writing.


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