World war Z

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Director: Marc Forster
Screenplay: : Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof, screen story by Matthew Michael Carnahan and J. Michael Straczynski
Producers: Brad Pitt, Dede Gardner, Jeremy Kleiner, Ian Bryce
Release Date: 21st June 2013 (USA)
Running Time: 116 minutes

Sequels:

A sequel to World War Z has been scheduled for cinematic release on 9th June 2017. Moreover, it has been hinted that World War Z could eventually be expanded into a trilogy. After all, according to an interview featured in the Los Angeles Times in January 2012, both Marc Forster and Paramount Pictures agreed that they; “view World War Z as a trilogy that would have the grounded, gun-metal realism of, say, Matt Damon’s Jason Bourne series tethered to the unsettling end-times vibe of AMC’s The Walking Dead“.

Violence Rating

Although World War Z was granted a PG-13 rating upon release, there are certain scenes which may be distressing for younger viewers or for those who have just begun to discover the zombie horror film genre. Due to the fact that the zombies, or “Zekes” as they are affectionately known in World War Z, are fast-moving, quick to transform and emit bird-like screeches, growls, clicking and chattering sounds, you have been warned that these traits facilitate several suspenseful, tense scenes which will have your heart pumping! Consequently, if you are frightened by frenetic zombies then you should expect to view most of World War Z behind a cushion or through your fingers because there are many occasions where hungry, gray fleshed Zekes rage towards the camera; with wide eyes, slobbering, bloody mouths and gnarly yellow teeth, all the better to zombify you with!

Reviews

Despite the fact that World War Z suffered many production problems during its conception, including multiple rewrites, re-shooting complications and setbacks regarding its scheduled commercial release date, upon its eventual cinematic release World War Z earned more than $540 million worldwide in 2013. As a result, World War Z has served as the highest-grossing film of Brad Pitt’s entire career. In addition to this significant box office success, World War Z also received several glowing reviews from leading film critics. For instance, according to a review in the New Yorker by film critic David Denby;

” ‘World War Z’ is the most gratifying action spectacle in years, and one reason for its success is that Pitt doesn’t play a superhero. Gerry Lane is tough and infinitely resourceful (he could reset his own broken arm if he had to), but he doesn’t fly, he doesn’t pass through walls, and, in the long tradition of unpretentious movie heroes, he’s reluctant and terse…the horror-film version of disaster in ‘World War Z’ stretches the senses to take in more than you may expect. Pop dynamism can tear through normal expectations when the fantastic is as precise as this”.
Similarly, in a review by Variety magazine, fellow film critic Scott Foundas enthused how;
“Rising from an early grave of negative pre-release publicity, director Marc Forster and producer-star Brad Pitt’s much-maligned ‘World War Z’ emerges as a surprisingly smart, gripping and imaginative addition to the zombie-movie canon…a bona-fide box office hit”.
In addition to these positive reviews from international film critics and journalistic publications, World War Z has also received a 67% approval rating from the film review website Rotten Tomatoes. Its site summary of World War Z highlighted how, despite the film’s;
“diverges from the source book, but World War Z still brings smart, fast-moving thrills and a solid performance from Brad Pitt to the zombie genre”.

Awards:

Since its cinematic and commercial DVD releases, World War Z has won and been nominated for numerous awards.
Amongst these various film accolades include;

  1. The award for “Best Thriller Film” at the 2014 Saturn (Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy and Horror Films) Awards,
  2. Composer Marco Beltrami won the “Top Box Office Films” award at the ASCAP Film and Television Music Awards for the World War Z’s original score,
  3. Brad Pitt won the “Best Scared As S*** Performance” award at the 2014 MTV Movie Awards

Synopsis

Inspired by the 2006 apocalyptic horror novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks, World War Z is set within an apocalyptic reality wherein a lethal virus has just begun to rapidly infect the globe and transform the majority of its population into flesh-craving zombies, or “Zekes” as they are often known. Within this universe, we follow the trials and tribulations of United Nations investigator Gerry Lane as he strives to quickly seek out “Patient Zero”, the first person infected by this lethal zombie virus, in the hopes of developing a vaccine which will prevent the spread of this contagion. Can Gerry’s efforts save his family, fellow survivors and once more restore natural order to the world? Or is Gerry too late and has humanity as we once knew it been lost forever? Break out the popcorn and let’s find out!

Although World War Z features appearances from many notable stage and screen actors, including Matthew Fox as a U.S Air Force Rescue Para-jumper, Elyes Gabel as Dr. Andrew Fassbach and David Morse as a former CIA operative, the core characters whose escapades we follow throughout the film are listed as follows:

Gerry Lane

world war z
Portrayed by Brad Pitt, Gerry Lane is a retired United Nations investigator living in Philadelphia with his wife and two daughters. However, Gerry’s retirement plans to spend more time with his family do not go exactly to plan when the city becomes infested by hordes of infected zombies. After narrowly escaping Philadelphia via a U.S Air Force rescue helicopter, Gerry is coerced by his old United Nations colleagues to help virologist Dr. Andrew Fassbach to find the origin of the zombie virus i.e. “Patient Zero” in order to develop a vaccine. After being promised that his family will be granted governmental protection if he co-operates, Gerry agrees to work alongside Dr. Andrew Fassbach in order to investigate the zombie virus, locate the source of the outbreak and develop a vaccine which will save what remains of the world’s dwindling population.

Karin Lane

world war z
Gerry’s wife Karin Lane is portrayed by Mireille Enos. Not a great deal is known about Karin’s family although it is revealed early on that her grandmother is British and Karin was most likely born and raised in Britain. At one point when Karin asks Gerry, her husband, to change the Radio station to the BBC, Gerry replies “you’re not British anymore”. He further reveals that Karin’s British accent is only evident after she has been drinking wine!
After she and her family are evacuated from Philadelphia via helicopter to a U.S Naval aircraft carrier, Karin remains with her two daughters, Rachel and Constance, whilst her husband Gerry strives to develop a zombie virus vaccine.

Rachel Lane

Portrayed by Abigail Hargrove, Rachael Lane is Gerry and Karin’s eldest daughter. Rachael accompanies her family from Philadelphia via helicopter to a U.S Naval aircraft carrier where they are given refuge against the impending hordes of zombies. Despite her concerns, Rachel remains at the U.S Naval aircraft carrier with her mother and younger sister Constance whilst her father leaves to search for a vaccine.

Constance Lane

Gerry and Karin’s youngest daughter Constance Lane is portrayed by Sterling Jerins. Alongside her father, mother and older sister, Constance flees from hordes of zombies in Philadelphia. After being evacuated via helicopter to a secure U.S Naval aircraft carrier, Constance remains with her mother and sister whilst her father travels across the globe in his efforts to develop a zombie vaccine.

Thierry Umutoni

Portrayed by Fana Mokoena, Thierry Umutoni is the United Nations Deputy Secretary General in charge of overseeing the reactions of the remaining worldwide governments to the ever-spreading zombie infestation. Umutoni is an old friend of Gerry’s and it is he who arranges for a helicopter to rescue Gerry and his family from Philadelphia. It is also Umutoni who convinces Gerry to help the scientists and military personnel at the U.S Navy aircraft carrier in their analysis of the worldwide zombie outbreak and to accompany them in their search for a cure. Although Umutoni helps Gerry and his family to evacuate Philadelphia when they are in dire need, he is also shown to be a firm leader who is willing to use Gerry’s family as leverage in order to secure his cooperation in the frantic search for a zombie vaccine.

Captain Speke

James Badge Dale portrays Captain Speke, a United States Army Ranger who is a member of the 75th Ranger Battalion, Airborne, Special Forces. Stationed at Camp Humphreys in South Korea, Speke and the men under his command are tasked with aiding Gerry Lane in his investigation of zombies.

Jurgen Warmbrunn

Portrayed by Ludi Boeken, Jurgen Warmbrunn is the Director of Mossad. Within the World War Z universe, it is Warmbrunn who was responsible for preparing Israel’s pre-emptive defences when news of the zombie virus infestation first broke. It is revealed that, after intercepting communications from an Army General in India that their troops were fighting “dead spirits”, Warmbrunn orchestrated the construction of a 50 foot wall around the centre of Jerusalem; thus creating an impenetrable quarantine zone. In this manner, Warmbrunn is shown to be a resourceful yet compassionate leader who strives to offer safe haven to all manner of uninfected refugees.

Segen

Daniella Kertesz portrays an Israeli soldier known only as ‘Segen’ who is Gerry’s Israeli escort. Segen is a mysterious individual who proves herself to be eminently resilient whilst she accompanies Gerry during their escape from zombie hordes in Israel.

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Verdict:

At its core, World War Z is a fast-paced zombie action-adventure film with no shortage of frenetic zombies and thrilling scenes that will have you watching on the edge of your seat with bated breath! Unfortunately, it is this same frenetic pace which results in much of the character development, political plotlines and international context of Max Brooks’ exceptional source text to become lost.
Furthermore, the time scales of World War Z also differ from Brooks’ novel. Whereas the film adaptation of World War Z takes place at the advent of the zombie virus outbreak, within the novel these events are depicted via survivors’ interviews which are carried out ten years in the future in order to offer more in-depth, post-apocalyptic accounts. As such, if you are a die-hard fan of Max Brooks’ novel then you may not enjoy the ways in which the cinematic version of World War Z decides to diverge from the source text.

On the other hand, if you are willing to take some of its plot discrepancies with a pinch of salt, World War Z actually proves to be an eminently enjoyable zombie thriller film. Brad Pitt delivers a powerful performance as the reluctant saviour of mankind, the “Zekes” offer a refreshing yet completely chilling shift from traditional slow-moving zombies, and the universe within which the film is set possesses the potential for multiple sequels to be made; all of which could provide the opportunity to delve deeper into Max Brooks’ source material if they so choose.

Zombie Rating

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Written by Zombie Pit

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