Movie Review: ‘World War Z’

Brad Pitt Stars in World War Z

Brad Pitt stars in 'World War Z' - Photo © Paramount Pictures

“How do we know they’re coming?” asks Karin Lane (Mireille Enos). “They’re coming,” replies her husband Gerry (Brad Pitt) in a whisper as they and their two daughters wait for a helicopter to meet them up on the roof of a partially deserted Philadelphia apartment building crawling with zombies in the action/thriller World War Z.

After barely surviving an attack during gridlock traffic taking his daughters to school, Gerry contacts his former boss Thierry (Fana Mokoena) at the United Nations to find out exactly what is going on and how bad the epidemic is. Realizing he needs Gerry back, Thierry tells him to find a place to hide out and stay safe for a few hours and he’ll send an extraction team to bring his entire family to headquarters. Avoiding looters and zombies – and with the help of a few decent strangers – Gerry and his family find refuge in an apartment. Finally when it’s almost time to meet the helicopters on the roof, Gerry and his family slowly and carefully begin going through the dimly lighted hallways making their way to what they hope will be sanctuary. Unfortunately, they come across a few of the zombies – or if you prefer “infected” – and have to make a run for it.

Upon arriving at headquarters, which turns out to be on an aircraft carrier, Gerry is approached by Thierry and the military commander in charge and asked to accompany their chief scientist and a small squad of Navy SEALs on an expedition Korea which might be where the zombie virus originated. Not wanting to leave his family but knowing that if he doesn’t take the job Karin and his two daughters will most certainly be transported off the carrier, Gerry agrees and promises his wife that he will come back.

Suspenseful and thrilling, director Marc Forster’s World War is the Must Not Miss summer blockbuster of the year. This is a zombie invasion on a huge global scale with a great script and a very impressive performance by Brad Pitt. He’s completely believable as the loving and protective father and husband who wants to do one thing and one thing only: get his family somewhere safe and keep them there. The scene where Gerry has to calm down one of his daughters who’s having an asthma attack and doesn’t have her inhaler having just escaped an attack from some zombies comes across authentic. Pitt has solid chemistry with Mireille Enos as his wife and shows Gerry’s softer side with the cell phone calls between the two of them while he’s traveling the world trying to discover the secret of the virus. It’s his best performance in years.

The action scenes in the film are riveting and are sure to have the audience on the edge of their seats. And especially impressive and thrilling is the attack and fight scene onboard the plane headed to Russia. The CGI zombies are terrifying, as are the actors who portray the undead, and are sure to have the audience jumping and squirming in their seats. Not to mention the tension and fear during the haunted house-type scenes with Gerry and a few new friends making their way through a medical facility infested with zombies. Be careful and quiet around that corner!!!

The only problem with World War Z is the first attack scene in Philadelphia. The quick, jumbled camera work and editing makes it almost impossible to follow what’s happening and to really see anything clearly. But that minor problem aside…compelling and terrifying, World War Z has everything a moviegoer could want from a big budget summer blockbuster and is the best zombie film since 28 Days Later.

GRADE: B+

World War Z opens in theaters on June 21, 2013 and is rated PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images.

– Reviewed by Kevin Finnerty

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Kevin Finnerty

Professional film critic since 2003 and a member of the San Diego Film Critics Society. Host of “The Movie Guys” radio film review show from 2007 through 2013. Film and television critic for Showbizjunkies.com and a movie buff since 1973.

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