World War Z (2013)

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World War Z (2013)

Post  BoG on Fri Mar 27, 2015 10:16 pm

This was an upgrade to all the zombie films that had been seen up to that point, presenting a worldwide epidemic which sweeps the globe at speeds so far not seen before, as well as infected people which move at speeds superior to that of normal humans. This last aspect is what really raises the threat level here up a notch from previous such films; in older zombie thrillers - and TV series such as The Walking Dead - the one advantage that humanity had was that zombies moved at a slower pace. This is not the case here. The closest to this demon-like speed shown before was in 28 Days Later and its sequel, and the 2004 Dawn of the Dead remake; and, there have been some cheap Syfy movies which jumped on this bandwagon, showing quick-moving zombies.  But, these still do not match the superhuman effectiveness of the predators we see here, which also move in herds or swarms that suggest a different, aberrant instinct or intelligence.
This was based on a 2006 novel by Max Brooks, and Brad Pitt purchased the rights besides also starring in it, resulting in the first really big budget zombie film.  Things go bad quickly in the first act, when Pitt and his family, on a routine commute in Philly, encounter instant havoc in the streets. Zombies or infected run rampant and people who are bitten turn in about a dozen seconds. The family makes its way to Newark, but the 'disease' has already spread everywhere. Pitt's character happens to be an ex-U.N. investigator and is soon assigned to travel to different points on the globe in search of a cure while his family is tucked away on board a Navy carrier. He didn't want the job, but it was the only way to assure his family's safety. His first stop is South Korea, where most of his team are killed, and then Jerusalem. As he learns, Israel somehow prepared for the threat, building a giant wall a week before the outbreak became critical. But even here, the measures prove to be inadequate - some of the refugees inside the walls begin to sing on loudspeakers and the sound is enough to galvanize the zombie hordes to build a flesh ladder up the 50-foot wall.
The film is adrenaline-charged and the zombie hordes are truly frightening, but the film is still saddled with moments of stupidity and implausibility. Pitt's wife buzzing him on the cell phone while he's tip-toeing past sleeping zombies comes to mind (either she or Pitt really screwed up) and also the singing which attracts all the zombies. Pitt's survival skills are impressive at first - he's adept and quick on his feet - but when he walks away from an airplane crash (after fleeing Jerusalem), it moves the notion of his skill set beyond just good luck; I mean, nothing can kill this guy by this point. Also, the military takes the trouble to kick his family off the carrier seconds after he might be considered a casualty - wow, no time wasted on that move!  This was to set up more tension for Pitt and the audience, but I sort of expected Pitt to just quit when he learned of this.  The way that Pitt picks up little clues about the infected in his travels was supposed to be clever, but comes across as too pat. By the end, it seemed as if some supernatural force assured his survival at every turn to save the world. BoG's Score: 7 out of 10
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