Movie review: 'World War Z'

Brad Pitt's latest is a zombie film that won’t turn your brains to mush.

By Crystal Duan | June 26, 2013

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Unlike other films that humanize all things supernatural, from conflicted superheroes to angsty vampires, zombie movies usually limit character diversity to grizzled survivors and relegate the soulless pursuers to backdrops.

And then there’s “World War Z," a stand-out deviation that focuses on observing the species while racing for the cure.

Similar to the chaos-ridden movie “Contagion,” this film documents the effects of a strain that leaves its infected hungering for flesh. The scenes show the development of the havoc the zombies wreak, with governments toppling, people panicking and the story ultimately gaining a birds-eye view into anarchy at its scariest.

Brad Pitt’s character, former UN investigator Gerry Lane, finds himself in the midst of the pandemonium and is forced to leave his family behind to join in finding the source and/or a potential vaccine.

Granted, as we follow Gerry from South Korea to Israel to a WHO research facility, you have to suspend reality a few times. But there aren’t too many impossible scenarios in which Gerry is the token survivor. Pitt may be overrated when it comes to real-world tabloid coverage, but unlike other testosterone-emitting leading men, he embodies a brand of tolerable and realistic hero when you put him in front of a camera.

Gerry’s determination to find a cure doesn’t make him Mr. Know-It-All or a macho, drastic savior; he still has to helplessly watch his comrades die while fumbling to find the best solution. His leading, white-knight tendencies are still there, but the movie doesn’t pretend he’s anything but an otherwise normal family man -- and this believability may have driven the movie (along with the original dialogue, despite the presence of quotable lines being semi-predictable).

Zombie films are essential for every comic book geek or fantasy nerd’s inner fangirl, and after years of exhausting various industry portrayals, Hollywood finally does something right by making an undead film that's subtly touching and decently fleshed out. The end doesn’t tie everything up with an overly happy or overly tragic ribbon, but it satisfies the audience.

Let’s just hope Gerry’s authentic perseverance will pay off at the box office.

MOVE gives "World War Z" 4.5 out of 5 stars.

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