World War Z – 3/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

worldWorld War Z – 3/5 – Zombies, Zombies and more zombies.  This genre specific theme has grown to be a popular thing for the masses.  From everything that is video games, clothing, popular events and most of all, movies, zombies are the fashion of now.  A lot of films have come out in the past few years that deal with the idea of a zombie apocalypse, and have been done it in many different situations.  From the subtle eerie (28 Days Later) to the comical (Zombieland) there are a plethora to choose and watch.  Regardless if you’re a fan of these films, the saturation of the market has produced a mundane feel for the ‘zombie’ effect, but sometimes there is a chance that a film can spark something different, even in the most surreal event of this ‘genre specific’ theme.  For the film World War Z, we have a lot of generalities of previous zombie film (world end, must survive), but even with the generic feel, the tension built throughout and the ultimate goal to find a cure, World War Z is a film that will entertain, even in its non-impressive story.

Premise: United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) wants to live a life of a normal family man.  That all turns for the worst, when the world is encapsulated by a devastated infection.  Gerry and his family head for UN headquarters out at sea, and then have to traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic.  In his search, what he comes to find is that a cure may the answer, but a weakness to the Zombies must be found if they ever intend on finding that cure.

In the lead role of Gerry Lane, we have Brad Pitt.  In this role, a lot of things can be drawn from the person that is created in Gerry Lane.  On the surface, you see that Pitt doesn’t provide much of a deepening value, but brings someone that is relegated to the threat of this zombie invasion.  What you realize is that in the common folk mentality, what makes the character big is Pitts own aura as an actor.  His own charisma helps build this person, who has to work for the UN and find a reason for this tragic event happening around the world.  As he traverses the globe, the charisma is what draws you into his investigation.  You see he has a focus on this goal, and he brings that realism of living in this ‘surreal’ event seem genuine.  Outside of Pitt’s character Gerry Lane, there isn’t really any standout characters to speak of, as they affect the journey more than being worthy as individuals.  Outside of Gerry Lane, everyone else is left to be convenient for the story’s progress.  You have Gerry’s family, the UN agents, soldiers and the scientist.  There isn’t anything to describe as ‘excellent’ in anyone acting, but enough to say they are better than nothing, even if they are one-dimensional characters found in every other zombie styled film.  The only thing that is a real a highlight in the supporting character role, per say, is the infected (zombies).  They aren’t the traditional zombies, as they are quick, fast, and agile.  They react in a way that makes you feel desperate, tense and pretty scared when they are on screen.

The direction of the film is a mix of intense action scenes complimenting some investigative style drama.  In the beginning, we are introduced to Gerry and his family, as they are going about their normal routine in Philadelphia.  That normality changes quickly, as they are thrust into the mix of a city being attacked by these ‘infected’.  From here, we are lead on a track of an intense action and raw sensation, as we are part of a ‘cat and mouse’ game between the ‘infected’ and Gerry’s group.  Even though there are a lot of frantic moments in a very general setup, the opposite is also felt, and that is the realism of the situation.  Seeing people trying to escape, find places to hide, scourer empty Grocery stores and fight off the ‘infected’, it feels as if you’re there among the frenzy, trying to find a way to live.  After we get pass this fast paced first half of the ‘world ending’ scenario, Gerry and family get picked up by a UN helicopter and head for the ships at sea.  Here, the tone slightly shifts from the dark and tense dramatics, to an investigative/discovery theme, as Gerry is tasked to find out what the infected are.  One thing I liked about these particular scenes is that they don’t dance the wire act about what the infected are.  They come right out and call them Zombies.  That little side note, even very simple, adds to the authentic tone created.  Once the group claims this as the truth, we move along this investigative scenario, as Gerry is sent around the world to try to find the origins of the infected/zombies.  This traveling helps create a global pandemic feel, making you notice that this attack on humanity is real, raw and happening in real-time.  Even as the film moves along a general track and cliché scripted of ‘find a cure’ used so far, the tone is what makes the film watchable.  The feeling of being ‘real’ and ‘in your face’ makes the film standout from the crop of zombie films, but still doesn’t break the average atmosphere created by the direction and characters.  As the direction stays linear for the second half and we go from place to place (Korea, Israel, Europe), Gerry begins to realize that to fight off this pandemic, they don’t just need to find a cure, but a way to fight off the zombies and the attacks long enough to get to the source.  HIs answer comes subtly, through the allure of hints and metaphorical situations that are conveniently placed along his journey.  Near the climax, Gerry finds his answer in the most obvious place, and must find a way to get this answer back to the UN’s main ship headquarters.  When the climax hits, it is very underwhelming, as this leads to an ending that feels displaced, with a loose thread feeling.  There may be reasons here (sequel), but even if the people behind this film are looking to continue the overall war, it should have had some kind of ‘closure’ to the event’s that happen in this film.  Even trilogies have closure in the film the first parts, even if there is an overarching story.

The visuals of the film are truly aspiring towards a grounded reality.  From the destruction of civilization, to the creation of the tense moments between the zombies, and the zombies themselves, it all felt like it is real life.  Being created with that kind of authentic aura, it gives the film an attentive sensation, regardless of how well or bad the films characters, script or direction is.  The score is there, but it wasn’t a great part of creating moments, scenes or drawing any kind of sensational value to the film’s events.

Overall, World War Z is an intense and thrilling film, but with its generic direction, mundane characters (outside of Pitt’s character) and overall anticlimactic ending, the film left a lot of ‘wanting more’.  Thanks to the thrilling tone, we get a grounded feeling throughout, and the zombies truly standout as a formidable foe.  If you’re a fan of zombie anything, or Brad Pitt, this is a film for you.  It is a thrilling film to watch on the big screen.

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