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Brad Pitted Against Zombies


By Lori Hoffman
Add Comment Add Comment | Comments: 1 | Posted Jun. 26, 2013

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World War Z

The world’s fascination with the living dead just won’t die. The latest take on the zombie apocalypse stars Brad Pitt as a retired United Nations problem solver who is on the frontline of stopping a zombie plague in World War Z, based on a novel by Max Brooks and directed by Marc Forster (Monster’s Ball).


The film has an odd cadence to it, blending elements of the fast-moving zombies of 28 Days Later with a search for the cure that reminds one of Contagion. It is a strange mix of clashing movie styles and yet, for the most part, it works.


Happily living in Philadelphia and taking on the role of house husband with his wife (Mireille Enos) and two daughters, Gerry Lane’s domestic tranquility is shattered in the center of a traffic jam that turns into a run-for-your-life showdown with some zippy zombies whose bite turns you into a killing machine in 12 seconds. The zombies have a hive mentality, moving like frenzied insects.


Lane and his family make it out of Philly, but run into more zombie problems in Newark as they wait to be rescued by the UN forces dispatched to bring the Lane family to a mobile military base on an aircraft carrier. Gerry doesn’t want to leave his family but it is made clear that if he doesn’t join the global search for a cure, his family will be kicked off the ship.


The search takes Gerry and a brilliant scientist (played by Elyes Gabel) to South Korea in search of patient zero. Things don’t work out as planned, but more clues are gathered and the search continues in Jerusalem where they had enough prior knowledge of the zombie invasion to build a 25 foot wall, which is still not quite big enough.


Using his knack for observation, Gerry is forming a plan to fight back and hopes to continue the search in Wales at a World Health Organization lab. However, the plane has a zombie stowaway and the chaos that ensues in seconds makes for the best pure action scene in the movie, even if one quibbles that Gerry and his Israeli soldier companion are conveniently the only two that survive the crash, and are within walking distance of their destination.


At the lab the movie morphs into another cinematic style (a more classic zombie movie) as the undead left in a lab are dormant when not stimulated by fresh targets. It is here that Gerry hatches his plan to fight back but it involves a suspenseful trip into the zombie-filled lab.


World War Z has holes in the plot and an abrupt ending, and the odd mix of styles — art house-meets action flick — doesn’t always work, but when it does it is surprisingly effective. The film definitely gets kudos for action scenes that aren’t generic and that are directly tied to human emotions, a rarity on movie screens these days.


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1. Me said... on Jun 26, 2013 at 05:31PM

“I saw this film the other day & thought it was just another zombie movie that is supposedly going to have sequels - why? What could possibly be of interest to the audience? It was dull most of the time & quite predictable. It was actually disappointing & surprising that Pitt would even consider being involved let alone it's 'star'.”

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