August 11, 2013

Move Review: World War Z Movie Review

Reviewer: Lindsey Pogue

Rating: PG-13/ 116 minutes
Genre: Action | Adventure | Horror
Starring: Brad Pitt, David Morse, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz
Director: Marc Forster
Book Adaptation: World War Z, By Max Brooks (Apocalyptic Horror)
LP’s Rating: 5/5 stars

Basic Overview: A pandemic spreads throughout the world infecting billions of people, and in turn collapses armies and governments leaving everyone who's left to scramble for answers. Retired United Nations investigator Gerry Lane (Pitt) is called upon to investigate the origin and science behind the virus that’s threatening to destroy humanity itself. In order to keep his family protected, Lane agrees to traverse the world, digging up and following leads he hopes will lead him to the origin of the virus.

My Review. Although I’m an avid reader and I co-author a post-apocalyptic sci-fi book series, I’m not typically an end-of-the-world sort of reader. Movies, however, are a completely different story. When I heard they were making WWZ into a movie, and that Brad Pitt was going to star in it, I instantly thought, “this is going to be…interesting.” It was difficult for me to picture and really get excited about Brad Pitt and zombies. However, going into the movie knowing little about it, I had little to no expectations about the film, and I ended up being very pleasantly surprised by the story line. Don’t get me wrong, I like Brad Pitt as an actor. Who doesn't? But Brad Pitt and zombies didn’t seem like a believable or satisfying pairing to me. I was wrong.

Why did I like it? WWZ isn’t your typical zombie story—it has complexity, science, intrigue, and tons of on-the-edge-of-your-seat suspense and action.

It’s realistic. WWZ isn’t about a genetically altered badass or crazy gunslinger who single-handedly try to save the world nor was it about power hungry extremist. It's more organic than that. Yes, Lane is the hero of the story, but he doesn't save the world on his own, or do it with any ease whatsoever. Lane's drive is more human and relatable than say, Alice from Resident Evil (even though I love her). This movie is thoughtful and realistic in terms of what actions would be taken, the anatomy of the virus, and how and who might actually be able to get to the bottom of it and discover weakness, cures, and so on. WWZ, to me, seems feasible, which makes the story that much more frightening and realistic. It's more of a behind-the-scenes look at what the government (at least what remains of it) would do in order to stop the virus, who they’d call upon to help, how the world as a whole is affected, and so on.

Suspense. Without giving too much away, this movie is stressful—in a good way—to watch. Just when you think Lane might catch a break, that some of his team members might live or that answers may have been uncovered, the situation gets worse and the plans fall apart. Lane is forced to think of his feet and work with strangers in nearly every scene just to stay alive. Nothing in life is ever easy, right? There is little about this movie that's convenient, another reason why I appreciated it so much. All 116 minutes are a struggle and every minute of it you're hoping Lane will catch a much needed break.

The science. The more “interactions” Lane has with the infected, the more he observes. What sets them off? Who is it that they kill? Is it everyone, or…? Why? The more he sees, the more questions he has about their weaknesses and the way the virus works. Everything has some sort of weakness, right? What is the biology of nature? As a hypothesis begins to form, Lane is forced to make some very hard decisions as to how exactly he’s going to test them, making every moment up until the very end, thrilling.

My recommendation. I really enjoyed this movie, but that’s me. I’m not a fan of over-the-top horror movies like so many of them are. For a movie to be truly unsettling and considered “scary”, it needs to be plausible and this story does that for me. It makes me think…what if? I would recommend it to anyone who likes a deeper level of involvement from the audience—an action/horror film with complexity, humanity, and a character's sheer will to stay alive--if not for his family than for himself. This movie makes me want to read the book.


  1. Despite all appearances, World War Z isn't really a zombie movie. It's a disaster movie, one in which the agent of apocalypse just happens to be walking (and running) human corpses, rather than glaciers or a meteor strike.