World War Z

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Zwift shot:  All the Max Brooks purists will probably never be happy, but who undied and made some SNL writer the authority on Zombies?  Given a chance as a stand-alone film, having almost nothing to do with the Brooks anthology of the same name, World War Z is as much a horror film as it is an international whodunit where mother nature plays the elusive serial killer.

Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a former UN Special Investigator who has opted out of the government to do the most important job, being Mr. Mom to his two daughters.  He led a past life of adventure, international intrigue and was in some of the more dangerous places this planet still has to offer.  But everything changes on Z-Day, the Zombie Apocalypse is at hand, and his obligation is no longer to his family . . . but the planet!

An unknown vicious virus is quickly turning hordes of people into ravenous creatures seeking living flesh.  By the time Gerry and his family have made the unfortunate discovery of the end, they narrowly escape a Zombie onslaught in Philadelphia, and Gerry is forced back into service.  He is paired up with humanity’s best hope to find a cure, Dr. Fumbles.

[Zwift aside: Can you tell me the four safety rules for handling a firearm?]

Quickly Gerry is sent to the source of the first time someone used the Z word . . . in an email, no less.  In South Korea he is assisted by a team of SEALS who are led by Captain Speke (James Badge Dale) and an unnamed parajumper played by Matthew Fox.  The team has an odd captive, a rogue CIA agent without any teeth, (David Morse).  A clue he provides sends Gerry to Jerusalem, thanks to their 10th man principle, they have managed a secure Zombie free zone.  But, Gerry can’t remain there for long as he is constantly being forced to new locations as clues open up.

He gains a side-kick of sorts, Segen (Daniella Kertesz), and they ultimately have to face the virus head on at a remote WHO research facility . . . that organization is very familiar to the soldiers of the Zombie Apocalypse Defense Force.

World War Z was brilliant in its execution, keeping the action and the horror balanced in a perfect harmony, and even some unintended (perhaps) moments of levity.  For instance, at my screening, some of the Zombies were doing funny things that got a gallows bellow from the audience.  Also, I think there may have been some not to subtle nods to Jurassic Park in the WHO scenes thrown in by Director Marc Forster.  See if you can spot, or rather, hear them.

The audience was immersed from the opening scene and remained so throughout the almost two hour run time, as the Bavarian director would let you exhale just enough to have you digging your fingernails into the leather seats again.  Also, I really liked how he added a ticking clock of suspense for the families “safe” on the ship.  See, the filtration system for the drinking water couldn’t keep out all the jet fuel on the ships . . so, the longer it took to stalk the elusive killer virus, the more poison each passenger was ingesting, slowly killing themselves!  You almost miss that in the film, they don’t hand hold in World War Z.  The action and the changes in location are explained once, and if you don’t pay attention you may miss some clues.

Part mystery, part horror and definitely action-packed, World War Z is going to surprise a lot of naysayers who think that Zombies shouldn’t be able to run.  Maybe you prefer the pseudo-safe zombies who slowly meander up to you and even a well-armed 10 year old can dispatch them.  But, think of a rabid dog, if it sees you and it wants to bite you, is it going to slowly approach you?  No, and humans are no different.  Brooks finds himself trapped by listing Zombies as undead, but World War Z doesn’t really draw that distinction, you just have a populace of savage beasts who will do ANYTHING to feed!

I highly recommend seeing this one with your Zombie loving friends in theaters.  We got to see it with some very special folks and members of the ZADF!


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