Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz
Director: Marc Forster
Screenplay: Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof
Action/Drama/Horror, Rated: PG-13
Running Time: 116 Minutes
(Dr. Scott Allison, Professor of Psychology, University of Richmond)
Greg, we just witnessed billions of undead in the film World War Z.
Happily I took the antidote before going in. Let’s recap:
The movie begins with us getting to know the Lane family who live in Philadelphia. We meet the father Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), his wife Karin (Mereille Enos), and their two daughters Rachel (Abigail Hargrove) and Constance (Sterling Jerins). The family is stuck in traffic when they notice a commotion several blocks ahead. Within minutes, they are fleeing an invasion of zombies and barely escape with their lives. Assisted by Gerry’s former U.N. colleague Thierry Umotoni (Fana Mokoena), the family is flown to a U.S. Navy ship off the northeast coast.
In return for his family’s safe passage on the naval vessel, Gerry agrees to seek out the source of the zombie apocalypse. He escorts a young biological genius (Elyes Gabel) who accidentally kills himself. This leaves Gerry alone to figure out where the virus came from and hence how to kill it. He interviews ex-CIA agent Gunter Haffner (David Morse) who tells him the Israelis have built a wall to keep the zombies out – but how did they know to expect the invasion? Gerry is on his way on a global trek to seek out the origins of the virus and hence the clue to its cure.
Greg, I must confess that I’ve never been a big fan of zombie movies. But this one is good. First and foremost, the zombies in the film were magnificent. They score off the scale marks on the creep-meter, with their ravenous attacks on human flesh and their lizard skin, chattering teeth, and Frankenstenian gaits. At various times the zombies screech like pigs, roosters, dogs, and dinosaurs. There is a ferocious fanaticism in their virus-like quest to conquer humanity.
The movie features many high-production-value scenes of streets teeming with hordes of flesh-munching undead. We see swarms of zombies compressed like giant globules of insects ready to obliterate everything in their path. And then there is the scene on the airplane — How many times do you see the hero in a movie decide that his best hope for survival on a plane is to blow it up in mid-air? All of this scores high on the coolness factor.
I agree with you, Scott. This was a non-stop thriller and action-packed movie. However, it was a bit low on plot. For the most part we follow Brad Pitt from one exotic location to the next just barely escaping the zombie horde. Unlike zombies of old, these zombies move fast and are hard to kill.
Gerry Lane made for a good hero. He contained all your Great Eight characteristics of a contemporary hero: He was smart, strong, resilient, selfless, caring, charismatic, reliable, and inspiring. There is a scene in the opening chase where Gerry fears he has gotten zombie blood into his mouth. He knows it is a mere 12 seconds between infection and zombification. He stands on the ledge of a tall building counting the seconds down to see if he will change – planning to jump the ledge if he does – so as to protect his family. In this one motion he exhibits the qualities of smart, strong, resilient, selfless, and caring.
You’re right about the plot being a little on the impoverished side, Greg. This isn’t the most cerebral movie of the year. It’s meant to be a movie that throws likeable characters into impossible situations involving unstoppable monsters. The trick is to do it right, which these filmmakers did. We care about the Lane family — they are nice and attractive, and their kids are cute and giggly. We want no harm to come to them and we empathize with their plight. The heartstrings are tugged to great effect.
True enough, Scott. I went into this movie with low expectations and was surprised how much I enjoyed it. Although, the zombie actors did start to resemble that classic music video “Thriller” by Michael Jackson. I caught myself laughing a bit under my breath and wishing for the grittier zombies of Will Smith’s I Am Legend from 2007.
Still this was a good popcorn blockbuster. I give the thrill ride 3 out of 5 Reels. Gerry Lane was a good heroic character matching up with our expectations of a heroic stereotype (although a bit light on characterization). I give him 4 out of 5 Heroes.
World War Z is a very good suspense film that makes you care about its hero, his family, and all the people around them who are fighting to save humanity. Brad Pitt truly carries this movie with his charisma and tenacity. The zombies themselves are a most formidable enemy, terrifying us at every turn the way any zombies worth their salt should. I also award this movie 3 Reels out of 5.
This is a fairly good hero story. Our hero Gerry is unwillingly sent on a journey into a world fraught with unimaginable danger and receives help along the way from several sources, including his U.N. friend Umotoni, Dr. Andrew Fassbach, Former CIA agent Gunter Haffner, and Israeli solder Segen (Daniella Kertesz). My only complaint is that Gerry doesn’t evolve much and is pretty much the same guy at the end that he was at the beginning. Still, Gerry’s charisma and other heroic characteristics give him 3 out of 5 Heroes.