Lively, entertaining reviews of, and essays on, old and newer films and everything relating to them, written by professional author William Schoell.

Thursday, October 31, 2013


Brad Pitt in one of the film's few quiet moments
WORLD WAR Z (2013). Director: Marc Foster.

"You can't make a dead person sick."

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his family suddenly find themselves in the midst of chaos when a plague breaks out in their city -- indeed, around the world --  driving people crazy and making them violently attack others. These people turn out to be zombies, reanimated after death by a virus. UN representative Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena) gets Lane out, but he learns that his family can not stay in their safe refuge unless he agrees to accompany a biologist, hoping to create a vaccine, to the spot where the virus originated to look for clues. Lane later winds up in Israel, were the undead pile atop one another in a grotesque exhibition so they can launch themselves over a wall to get at the living people on the other side. [Unlike the dead in Night of the Living Dead, these zombies movie very quickly]. Lane saves the life of a young female Israeli soldier named Segen (Daniella Kertesz), and both wind up on a plane when the passengers become infected. They wind up at a research center in England where Lane thinks he's come up with a novel way of protecting people against the zombies. Despite some arresting passages -- such as the wall sequence in Israel and the outbreak on the plane -- World War Z can't quite overcome the fact that it's just another apocalyptic zombie movie [like 28 Days Later] with over-familiar ideas. Based on a novel, it still owes a lot to Richard Matheson's I Am Legend. However, it is generally fast-paced, creepy, well-acted, and often quite exciting. [Gore geeks must have been quite disappointed that despite the gruesome tone the movie does not indulge in much graphic bloodiness.] Humanism is in short supply -- there's little talk of compassion for the dead victims nor scenes where a living person sees a dead one that they loved -- and the ending is kind of flat. Foster also directed one of the worst James Bond movies, Quantum of Solace.

Verdict: More zombies that you can shake a stick at. **1/2.

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