Reviewed By

Christopher Armstead
So we had two initial concerns before traversing to the theater to see this movie 'World War Z', one being that a friend of mine who had read Max Brook's book didn't know how they were going to construct a movie out it's short story, fragmented format.  Answer:  They didn't.  Apparently this movie is 'World War Z' in name only.  I haven't read the book so I guess I'm good with that.  Second concern, the PG-13 rating.  Really?  A PG-13 zombie movie?  Even 'Shaun of the Dead' managed to carry an R-rating for goodness sakes.  As it turns out this concern was also a bit misplaced because, to be honest with you, as 'World War Z' is barely a zombie movie, but more of an action procedural… with zombies… thus visually experiencing zombie head splitting was unnecessary and the friendlier PG-13 rating could be preserved.  And at the end of the day we mightily enjoyed this zombie procedural, though we must let you know that any single random episode of 'The Walking Dead' is way more hardcore than this 'World War Z'.

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is just your average, hardworking husband and father who, as far as I can tell, has no job at the moment.  He used to do something for the U.N. back in the day that has him all tortured and stuff, but now he just lets his hair grow long and makes pancakes for wife Karin (Michelle Enos) and daughters Constance (Sterling Jerins) and Rachel (Abigail Hargrove).  Recognize this family drama setup takes maybe three minutes, because before you can say 'aw, those kids are cute', while stuck in traffic in their home town of Philly, the Lanes witness the birth of the Zombie Apocalypse.  And while I have no real idea what the actual zombie apocalypse is going to look like, I'm thinking it's going to look like something similar to this.

The Lane's need to get out of Philly so Gerry calls his U.N homey Thierry (Fana Mokoena) who stages a daring escape from a high rise for Gerry and his people, and carts them to a safe spot on a destroyer which is serving as Zombie Response Central.  Once on the ship the
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general in charge needs Gerry to do what he does… whatever that is… and accompany a team in a globetrotting effort to find the root of this disaster in hopes of stopping it.  Gerry says no, General says 'then get off my boat and go back to Philly', Gerry wisely reconsiders. 

Now the fun really begins as Gerry, along with characters of varying degrees of disposability by his side, jetsets across the globe to glorious locales to madly flee from zombies and work through the clues in his mind that one of the disposable characters told him to look for.  What are the clues in figuring out a zombie disease that turns people into crazed, undead cannibals in about the same time it take Usain Bolt to run 200 meters?  Well… nothing that basically anybody with a brain probably should've eventually figured out, but this is the one guy on the Earth that we needed to figure this basic stuff out.  And when we talk about 'Taking one for the Team'… My man Gerry Lane took to that to the next level.  Believe that.

There are an awful lot good things going on in director Marc Forster's 'World War Z'.  It has a plot that is actually plausible in a zombie movie… at least in the sense that we are spoon fed information and never given enough of it to make the plot completely implausible.  Coherence though omission.  I like that concept.  Brad Pitt effectively carries the film as a movie star should, dominating the scenes he is in, which is almost all of them, but also making his presence felt in the few scenes he's absent from.  As we mentioned earlier, WWZ doesn't take very long to throw us into the fray of the Zombie Apocalypse, and once we're in it very rarely slows down to allow the audience to catch its breath.  It's not wall to wall mayhem and chaos type action, though there is a bit of that, but the movie is consistently paced and the story we're dealing with is efficiently told with not a lot of wasted time in between.

Is it perfect?  Of course not.  So while the story is efficient, it's also some very basic storytelling.  A character is introduced to give our main character some information, and once that information is delivered, we know this character has outlived his usefulness, and there are plenty of characters like that in this movie.  The family of our star honestly serves little purpose other to give our main character something to live for, and occasionally make ill advised phone calls, since the survival of the species obviously isn't nearly enough motivation for our hero.  The story telling is compartmentalized… this goes here, that goes there, to allow this to be here, and this particular style doesn't allow for a lot of surprises.  Thus when you tell a story knowing you have to be at point B., without giving too much thought on what's happening at point A., the occasional bout of stupidity will pop up as well.  If these zombies are sensitive sound, say like stepping on broken glass makes them come running, then surely the landing of a C-130 carrier should at least pique their interest, one would think.  But that's not the point B. we need to get to.  There are more instances such as that, but they should be experienced organically and for the most part, the way the film moves, you probably wouldn't even think about it until long after the final credits have rolled.

But that's all basically nitpicking because for the most part 'World War Z' was a rocking good time at the show.  Not the hardest or toughest zombie around, but a well crafted, solidly delivered action thriller that even had a half a brain to go with its action.  That's not a bad deal.
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