World War Z (2013)

Content by Tony Macklin. Originally published on June 23, 2013 @

In an entertainment world now glutted with more zombies than reality shows, World War Z still stands out.

Actually, tv reality shows are about zombies, but World War Z transcends them.

It's a slick and skillful movie that delivers solid entertainment. It may not have enough grisly gore for some, but its intense, international mayhem is effective.

One of the best things about World War Z is that it's not self-indulgent. It's less than two hours; it doesn't have redundant, intrusive music; and its special effects are not tiresome.

Noise draws zombies, so World War Z knows the value of occasional quiet.

World War Z focuses on Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt). Lane is a retired investigative expert, formerly with the UN.

Gerry is settled down in Philadelphia with his wife (Mireille Enos) and two young daughters. His forte is making pancakes - too bad zombies don't like pancakes.

Gerry and his family are caught in a traffic jam, when Philadelphia suddenly comes under attack from an unknown force that turns people into rabid zombies.

The Lanes escape the brutal assaults and are given refuge in an apartment.

The zombies are not just Eagles' fans. There's a worldwide attack of deranged, rabid mobs whose number is unstoppable, because they're biting everybody in sight.

Gerry receives a phone call and is told he and his family will be airlifted to an aircraft carrier, because his expertise is needed in the face of the deadly international chaos.

He is forced to comply. His desperate search for an answer takes him to South Korea, Jerusalem, and Wales. Meanwhile the zombies are berserk.

Instead of the predictable 30-minute face-off between hero and forces of evil in a tiresome cataclysmic battle, World War Z decided to employ another kind of climax. It's a welcome change.

Marc Forster directs with a quick touch, dwelling more on deft action than bombast.

The story and screenplay - in a very loose adaptation of a novel by Max Brooks - are credited to four writers. They have some good lines, e.g., "Mother Nature is a serial killer."

Forster utilizes the line, "Movement is life," as he keeps matters roiling.

The conclusion is not an overlong, assault and battery. And it isn't until the end that World War Z slips in a political statement.

The cast is suitable. Brad Pitt is becoming an old-style movie star. He exudes more humanity than the omnipresent Leonardo DiCaprio.

Mireille Enos, as the wife and mother, has a role that has all the depth of a telephone operator. She does rely on her patented glum expression that has been so much of her characterization on tv's The Killing.

The two daughters are merely pawns for hugging.

Danielle Kertesz exhibits cool personality as the sober Israeli soldier who aids Gerry.

World War Z - like Brad Pitt - is more needle than hammer.

It gets the job done. Efficiently and with aplomb.

© 2000-2018 Tony Macklin