World War Z

Directed By: Marc Forster

Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Matthew Fox, and David Morse

I've rarely seen a film more plagued with production issues than World War Z.  There have been twenty million rewrites to the screenplay, an adaptation of the 2006 novel by Max Brooks.  The movie, which has been in the works for six years, had a really hard time getting financing.  To cap off this movie's woes, casting changes took place throughout filming.  With all of this, World War Z has every right to be a bad movie.  Somehow, it's not.  Somehow, it's not so bad after all.

A virus has been spreading around the globe, and an epidemic is beginning to unfold.  The undead are rising up and infecting the living.  After a peaceful morning eating pancakes with his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and their daughters Rachel and Connie (Abigail Hargrove and Sterling Jerins), retired UN investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) takes his family out into the city and they get to witness firsthand just how far this virus has spread.  The Lane family gets a front row seat to Philadelphia getting ripped apart by zombies that were once normal people just like them.  This nightmare is not isolated to the city of brotherly love, and they will soon learn how widespread this issue is.

Gerry flees with his family and eventually takes them to Newark.  With the help of a well-connected friend in the United Nations named Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena), Gerry gets his family aboard a safe military vessel.  He soon learns that the powers that be on the ship are only allowing the families of essential personnel aboard.  With a global catastrophe at hand, they need all hands on deck.  Right now, Gerry's not essential.  Under threat of his family being sent back to Philadelphia where zombies have taken over, Gerry is coerced to go back into the field and investigate the cause of this mysterious epidemic.  He'll do what he must to ensure the safety of his loved ones.

What a zombie movie!  World War Z is exactly the kind of blockbuster we need this time of year.  The film delivers on all fronts.  There are plenty of thrills, chills, and wit in this flick.  Director Marc Forster starts out the film slowly but reels his audience into it as he gradually introduces us to this global catastrophe.  Once he gets you invested in this fast-moving story and familiarizes you with his ferocious take on zombies, there's no going back.  You'll be hooked until the end.  Centered by some seriously menacing zombies and a strong performance from leading man Brad Pitt, World War Z is relentlessly entertaining.

World War Z is one thrilling movie that takes an intelligent look at an unintelligent, undead life form.  The movie is really a worldwide investigation into the source of the epidemic.  Brad Pitt's character Gerry is determined to find patient zero.  To even attempt to accomplish this daunting task, he can't stay on the East Coast.  He's got to get out into the world.  He's got to hop around the globe and get a taste of these flesh-eating creatures on a global scale.  As he does so, we get one pulse-pounding thrill after another as these hungry zombies viciously attack just about anyone and everyone with whom Gerry interacts throughout the film.  After all these thrills, the film eventually comes to an intelligent conclusion about the notion of finding patient zero.  It's impossible to do so amongst billions of zombies.  I have to respect that.  I won't spoil what else they conclude though.

The zombies in World War Z are nothing short of impressive.  The way they look, move, and feast on flesh is incredible.  They're ferocious predators.  Thanks to some excellent work by the makeup department and some great extras, these mean buggers have a truly chilling presence on screen.  Surprisingly, these zombies can run like hell.  These undead don't conform to the traditional zombie stereotypes.  They're fast as lightning, especially in the face of human prey.  Finally, the 12-second rule is interesting to watch in action.  After a zombie feasts on a human, the prey turns into one as well in a matter of a short 12 seconds.  The world’s best serial killer Mother Nature is non-discriminating.  Any fresh human flesh is welcome aboard the No. 12 train.

Beyond the zombies, Brad Pitt anchors this movie with a solid lead performance.  The A-lister has shied away from big budget blockbusters for a while.  Opting for smaller indie films like Moneyball and Killing Them Softly instead, it's refreshing to see this screen legend back on the big screen in a big way.  With a steady flow of supporting cast members on and off screen, Pitt is the film's only consistent presence other than his man-eating foes.  As the UN investigator coming out of retirement, Pitt brings all the wit and charm we've come to enjoy from time to time and gives us a character to whom we can connect despite a rather mediocre backstory.

All in all, World War Z is one exceptionally entertaining zombie movie. Vicious zombies that sprint like marathon runners.  Check.  Creative world and intelligent plot.  Check.  Strong performance from one of the last true movie stars.  Check.  You can't go wrong with this zombie movie.  It's not for everyone, but it's one thrilling ride.  It's a disaster movie, survival thriller, and action flick all rolled into one.  World War Z gets a 0.03% rating.  Sit back and enjoy the world's best serial killer at work with some wine coolers.