World War Z
dir Marc Forster
scr Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof
prd Ian Bryce, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner
with Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, Fana Mokoena, Abigail Hargrove, Sterling Jerins, Fabrizio Zacharee Guido, Peter Capaldi, James Badge Dale, David Morse, Matthew Fox, Ludi Boeken
release UK/US 21.Jun.13
13/UK Paramount 1h55
World War Z
Panic on the streets of Philly: Enos and Pitt with Hargrove and Jerins

badgedale capaldi morse
R E V I E W    B Y    R I C H    C L I N E
World War Z This ripping thriller blends a Contagion-style investigative plot with a Walking Dead-style zombie apocalypse. It's fast-paced and bracingly well made, with a refreshingly fresh-faced cast. But the final act is a bundle of corny cliches, cop-out plotting and forced sentimentality that leaves us cold.

The Lane family is leaving Philadelphia when abject mayhem breaks out. Former UN military officer Gerry (Pitt) and his feisty wife Karen (Enos) protect their two young daughters (Hargrove and Jerins), along with a boy (Guido) they rescue along the way. When they're evacuated by Gerry's old boss (Mokoena), he's assigned to find the source of an infection that's turning people in the the marauding undead. He follows the trail to South Korea, Jerusalem and ultimately Wales, where an Israeli soldier (Kertesz) and a WHO scientist (Capaldi) helps him find the key to the epidemic.

Yes, Brad Pitt selflessly saves the planet! With inane implausibilities creeping in from the start, plot is more than a little shaky. Such as the fact that everywhere Gerry goes he manages to escape just as the leaping, relentlessly biting ex-humans overrun whatever he came to see. There's also a plane crash that has a remarkably convenient outcome. And everyone on screen plays it far too straight, as if they know that the fate of the world is in their hands.

That may be true, but Gerry is the only character who matters. This is definitely Pitt's show, as no one dares to upstage him for a second. It doesn't even matter who dies, because Gerry mysteriously able to do the work of the world's top epidemiology expert. Other characters don't really matter, except of course Gerry's family, because they're the reason for all his derring do. Although the film's only humane relationship is between Pitt and Kertesz.

Foster orchestrates everything with an eye for spectacle. Scenes of surging throngs of infected zombies are thrillingly chaotic, cranking up the suspense even though we know exactly who's safe. The clever camerawork adds genuinely terrifying moments, augmented into heart-stopping jolts by the otherwise unnecessary 3D. And the globe-hopping narrative adds a strong sense of scale, even if everything was shot in Britain and Malta. In fact, if the final act was less preposterous, this might be a blockbuster worth the hype.

cert 15 themes, strong violence 6.Jun.13

R E A D E R   R E V I E W S
send your review to Shadows... World War Z Amy, New York City: 2/5 "This was my one summer blockbuster. I'm usually an art film type of gal, etc, etc, you know the type. What a disappointment! It pales next to The Andromeda Strain. The silliness, the lack of scientific input, where are the space suits one would see in a biosafety level 3 or 4 laboratory? How stereotypical to show Newark the way it was 20 years ago. The only note of realism was the ethnicity choice for scientist (Indian subcontinent with British accent) - at least he did not have a German accent." (16.Jul.13)
© 2013 by Rich Cline, Shadows on the Wall