So that’s how Brad and Angelina find new kids!

Theatrical Release Date: 06/21/2013
Director: Marc Forster
Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Sterling Jerins, Abigail Hargrove, Ludi Boeken, Matthew Fox, Fana Mokoena, David Morse, Elyes Gabel, Pierfrancesco Favino, Ruth Negga, Moritz Bleibtreu
Rated: PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images.
Runtime: 1 hour, 56 minutes


Show me “surprised”.

Zombies to the left of me, zombies to the right… Thank God I’m here, stuck in the middle (of the theater) with Brad Pitt. I can think of worse ways to face the zombie apocalypse. Man’s still got it in the looks department! So brooding, and still so pretty. I like Brad Pitt – there I said it. Sure, he’s done some less than stellar films and sure, he’s given us some less than stellar performances and sure, he and Angelina are so overexposed it’s irritating, but… I like him. A lot of people seem to like him. And he seems like a guy you’d like to know, not just meet – look at how happy he and George Clooney always look when they hang out. I could hang out with that guy. And I just think there would be worse people to face the apocalypse with.

Okay, that’s out of the way. And it pretty much sums up my thoughts on his performance. And about his character. And about the future of the world in World War Z: Thank goodness for Brad Pitt!

It’s modern day Philadelphia and Gerry and Karen Lane (Pitt and Mireille Enos) are sitting in traffic with their two girls in the backseat. There is a vague mention of Gerry’s old job, which he quit to stay home and make breakfast every morning, and they seem like a very happy family. And then, in the blink of an eye, the zombies are upon them! Good thing Gerry’s old job was as an investigator for the United Nations and he’s prepared to handle himself in a disaster. The undead are suddenly everywhere and quickly overrunning the world. Society falls almost immediately.

Gerry and his family are evacuated by one of his old colleagues and he is quickly pressed back into service and deemed to be the human race’s last hope. He leaves his family on a secure ship in a U.N. armada, and hops a flight across the world to hunt down patient zero and find a solution to the zombie pandemic.

World War Z introduces us to a revolving cast of characters around the world, each one briefly a participant in Gerry’s quest and then gone forever. That’s the zombie apocalypse for you: as soon as you make a friend, they’re eaten by zombies. Mireille Enos is our primary supporting character, but she doesn’t have much of a role to fill beyond parenting and worrying about her husband after they reach safety. She’s a good actress though, largely known for playing grim, unsmiling women in cable TV dramas and it’s nice to see her in a role where she smiles (which seems an odd choice for a zombie movie, but is none the less pleasant). The real scene stealer is Daniella Kertesz as a solemn, courageous Israeli soldier who accompanies Gerry on the last leg of his adventure to retrieve a possible solution to the zombie outbreak.

Typically, zombie films have something to say about society at large and World War Z, inspired by the novel of the same name by Max Brooks, seems ripe for that treatment with its global settings. Yet, the movie skips that route – by and large sparing us the story of a unified human race, instead focusing on the sheer terror of pulsing herds of reanimated corpses who are swarming the planet, choking out survivors and eliminating all in their path. The zombies are quick and terrible, but the film is mostly free of gore and the constant chattering of their jaws becomes comical at points.

Still, the first act is tense and thrilling – I actually squeaked out loud at one point (I’m being kind to myself here, it may well have been a scream) when a zombie sprung out at the screen in 3D and the rest of the film provides a palpable sense of panic with each near escape. And there are a lot of near escapes and plenty of luck involved as we follow our hero around the world. In fact, the movie loses a little steam in the final act when he manages to prove himself both nearly invincible and incredibly intuitive through sheer chance. Like I said, thank goodness Brad Pitt is around to save the world!

It doesn’t really detract from what’s good about World War Z. I haven’t walked out of a movie yet this year that I found as entertaining as this one (come on, rest of the year! Don’t let me down!!), and the 3D actually adds a little depth to the teeming swarms of zombies and claustrophobic scenes of fleeing refugees. It’s a good choice to kick off the summer movie season: it may be a bit farfetched, but it packs enough bite to leave you satisfied.

4 out of 53D Maybe