Director: Marc Forster
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, David Morse, Sterling Jerins, Abigail Hargrove
Who would have thought that a morning filled with pancakes and family time would end up as a day of disaster and catastrophic fear? Gerry Lane (Pitt) is a former United Nations employee stuck in heavy Philadelphia traffic with his wife Karin (Enos) and their two daughters (Jerins and Hargrove). They listen in on the radio as a rabies outbreak is being broadcast throughout the city. It is not long before the citizens go into a chaotic state. Many people are seen running the hell away from something. Gerry wastes no time by trying to get his family away from the apparent zombies that are taking over the city. They are fast and ferocious as they attack and infect the masses. If a person is infected, they will turn into a zombie within twelve seconds.
The Lanes make their way to Newark in a desperate attempt to escape this outbreak. Unfortunately, the zombie takeover is reaching a pandemic level. The Lanes make their way to a supermarket to gather supplies and asthma medicine for their daughter. Gerry is in communication with friend and former colleague Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena) who leads them to safety on a US Navy vessel which is housing other government employees and their families. Gerry is asked to lead an investigation team to find a vaccine for this zombie virus that has swept across the nation. He refuses to leave his family but is blackmailed into the job as they threaten to kick his family off the vessel if he does not assist in finding this vaccine. Gerry and the crew head to South Korea, Jerusalem, and Nova Scotia in their attempt to learn more about what is causing the spread of the zombie infection and what cures may be available to control it.
Rumors have been spreading about World War Z for months now. The film was way over budget; there have been numerous rewrites with various screenwriters, reshoots with various cinematographers, etc… There is a certain aura that comes with films of this magnitude having a troubled production. As one of the main producers and its star, Brad Pitt had a lot lying on how the final product would be received. The film lists three screenwriters. The majority of it was written by Matthew Michael Carnahan and then Drew Goddard and Damon Lindelof were hired in post-production to rewrite the film’s third act. I wish more attention would have been paid toward character development. Pitt is good in the film but is not given much to play around with. Mireille Enos (TV's "The Killing") spends the majority of the time seen on the phone checking in with Pitt thoughout his mission. The action sequences are intense to say the least. There is so much happening in those moments that the camera is often frantic and whizzing around faster than I can handle. I lose a little bit of interest in those scenes when I cannot see what the camera is focused on. Whenever the audience sees an individual zombie, they look great but the CGI zombie masses are all far too phony looking.
Sure the film has its faults, but I must admit, I was pleasantly surprised at how engaging and thrilling this whole roller coaster ride turned out to be. Within the first ten minutes, the audience is catapulted into an edge-of-your-seat thriller that never lets up. Composer Marco Beltrami and British band Muse have created some pulsating music throughout. The beginning piece by Muse has a “Tubular Bells” feel to it that really sets the ground running. The movie is more than just some zombie romp. Based on the book by Max Brooks, he uses zombies as a pandemic threat asking many questions of what would happen to the world and society if there was a global threat that is more advanced than the humans are. I have not read the book, but apparently the film is quite different and only encompasses a portion of the book. I do not want to give too much away, but the ending is left open for a continuation of the story. Sign me up for Part 2 as I will be there!
RATING: ****1/2 (4.5 out of 5 stars)