Thursday, June 20, 2013

Brad Pitt Battles Zombies in 'World War Z'

By Darlene Donloe

It’s a day unlike any other day in Philadelphia.   However, things were about to go serisously wrong!

All of a sudden the city erupts and chaos fills the air.  In an instant, the city and the world as we know it changed.

Suddenly, the dead had risen in the form of flesh hungry zombies and they would stop at nothing to get their fill.

The world would no longer exist as we know it. In short order, the zombies could take over and the world would simply be dead.

This is the premise behind the new Brad Pitt drama, World War Z, opening nationwide Friday, June 21.

Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a former United Nations investigator who is saddled with the task of saving the world and humanity as we know it.

First, he has to figure out what the hell has happened. Then, he has to figure out how to stop it.

His journey takes him literally around the world looking for answers. Along the way he finds clues that will eventually help him put the puzzle together to create an antidote.

All he knows is that something is causing people to viciously attack each other through a lethal virus that is spread through a single bite, turning healthy humans into something creepy, unrecognizable and wild.  The origins of the virus are unknown, and the number of infected grows exponentially larger each day, quickly becoming a global pandemic.  As the infected overwhelm the world’s armies and rapidly topple its governments, Lane is forced to return to his dangerous former life to insure the safety of his family, leading a desperate worldwide search for the source of the epidemic and a means to stop its relentless spread. No one is spared, everyone is susceptible – or are they? 

The attacks have barely begun before Lane gets a call from U.N. Deputy Secretary-General Thiery Umutoni  played effectively by Fana Mokoena (Hotel Rwanda).

World War Z began as a post apocalyptic horror novel by Max Brooks called World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, written in first person, individual accounts from those who experienced it.  This World War Z is based loosely on the book.

There have been several other films that had humanity and the world on the brink of annihilation (Outbreak, Contagion) and Will Smith’s I Am Legend. World War Z kicks it up a notch. 
This is a different genre for Pitt. He could have gone his whole career without starring in a zombie film. 

But, he pulls it off remarkably well. 

He also put enough time into publicizing the movie – literally going around the world in 30 days to get folks worked up to see it.

His star power will surely launch the film into the number one position at opening. And, truthfully, it won’t be without merit.

The film is actually and surprisingly good. The concept of zombies is presented in a way that is, dare I say, plausible. It’s intelligent writing, fantastic direction, freaky special effects and impressive acting. The zombies are believable, as is Pitt.

Pitt, who is also one of the film’s producers, gives a genuine performance that is credible.

One thing Lane did figure out quickly is that the zombies come alive (ok, I know zombies are dead) when there is a lot of noise. So Lane and his Seal team and other military personnel must find a way to find a cure on their tippy toes. SShhhhh!  So, of course, there are several moments in the film when someone either kicks a soda can or a whole town square breaks out in song – arousing the dinner bell for the zombies. What is so scary is the speed in which the zombies move around and the crazy clicking of their teeth, which would drive anyone crazy.  
This is a whirlwind ride. If you’re squeamish and scare easily, this may not be the movie for you. The zombies are not only ghoulish, they are hella scary – like really, seriously frightening.

In fact, after a press screening, it was difficult to walk to my car without thinking that everyone I passed was a zombie. It was truly unsettling.

World War Z, directed by Marc Foster, stars Brad Pitt, Fana Mokoena, Mireille Enos, James Badge Dale, Daniella Kertesz, David Morse, Abigail Hargrove, Sterling Jerins, Ludi Boeken and Fabrizio Zacharee Guido.

World War Z is Rated: PG-13, Running time: 116 minutes.

Paramount Pictures and Skydance Production present, in association with Hemisphere Media Capital and GK Films, a Plan B Entertainment/2DUX2 Production, a Marc Forster film, World War Z. The film is being distributed worldwide by Paramount Pictures Corporation, a Viacom, Inc. company.

On the DONLOE SCALE: D (don’t bother), O (oh, no) N (needs work), L (likeable), O (OK) and E (excellent), World War Z gets an E (excellent).

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