Saturday, July 13, 2013

World War Z (Rhoades)

Brad Pitt Fights
Zombies In
“World War Z”

Reviewed by Shirrel Rhoades

As a film critic, I’ve always maintained that movies are a mirror of our society. They reflect the current zeitgeist that defines our times.
For example, the musicals during the Great Depression. The film noir of the ’40s. The anti-hero movies of the ’60s.
So what is it with all those apocalyptic movies we’ve been seeing lately?
“The Road.” “The Book of Eli.” “Warm Bodies.” “Zombieland.” “Resident Evil: Retribution.” “After Earth.” “Oblivion.” “Another World.” “Battle of the Damned.” “New Order.” “Red Dawn.” “Beasts of the Southern Wild.” “Cloud Atlas.” “Seeking a Friend at the End of the World.” “This Is the End.”
With more to come: “Elysium.” “Pacific Rim.” “Curio Shop.” “Snowpiercer.” “The World’s End.” “After the World Ended.” “Ender’s Game.” “The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.”
And this week, “World War Z.”
Do we have such a bleak outlook for our future?
And what is behind it? Not nuclear anxiety. What then? Economic unease? The destruction of the Middle Class? Lack of confidence in our governments? Or some sort of eerie prescience?
In “World War Z” – the Brad Pitt opus that’s now playing at the Tropic Cinema – we find a retired United Nations guy racing around the world trying to contain a zombie pandemic.
Gerry Lane (Pitt) is torn between his mission to save the world and saving his family as he battles this scourge “that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.”
Based on the Max Brooks novel, “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War,” the film is action heavy. Pitt running, jumping, fighting, scrambling over dead bodies. However, it bears little resemblance to the book. As one insider puts it, “This is a case of a studio liking a title and building a brand-new high concept around it after they buy the rights. Love it or hate it, this ‘World War Z’ is its own thing.”
“We started with a really interesting book about this idea of a worldwide pandemic and what happens if you wake up one morning and everything that's important to you is suddenly rendered useless,” explains Brad Pitt. He describes it as “the most intense thing you’re gonna see all summer.”
The scale of the film’s mayhem is ambitious. It offers an around-the-world tour, as Pitt races from zombie hotspot to zombie hotspot – Philadelphia to New York to New Jersey to Korea to Israel to Wales.
These hive-minded zombies are a faceless onslaught, coming at us wave after wave. There’s little Brad Pitt’s character can do but run.
One moviegoer called it “a horror film for people who don’t like horror films.” True enough.
With zombie culture at a high nowadays, both on TV and in movies, “World War Z” looks like it could be the “Lawrence of Arabia” of undead flicks. As directed by Marc Foster (“Quantum of Solace”), this big-budget summer movie is intended to be the start of a franchise. We’ll see.
If the film has a major flaw, it Gerry Lane’s cardboard cutout family – wife, kids – that offers little contrast between the living and the living dead. In a film that spends so little time on character, it’s hard to care if any of these people survive. Or make us want to hang around for a sequel.
Maybe it really is the end.

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