By: Holley Sinn
The idea of the "Zombie Apocalypse" is not a new one. In fact, in recent years, the idea has been explored time and time again by authors and filmmakers alike. One might even venture to say that American pop culture has been largely "zombified"...to the point where "Zombie" is a film genre all its own. Brad Pitt's "World War Z" isn't exactly full of new ideas, but it is a solidly made film that just so happens to be about America's biggest horror obsession - the undead. At just under 2 hours, this film is an anomaly within this summer's cinematic spectrum - it isn't too long, and it isn't about superheroes. Well...not the traditional kind.
Based on the beloved novel by Max Brooks, "World War Z" stars Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a former United Nations investigator pulled from early retirement to help determine the cause and a potential cure for a global disease outbreak that is turning everyone into zombies. Using his skills derived from extensive work in the field, Gerry is able to get his wife, two daughters, and a little boy picked up along the way to safety aboard a United States Naval ship. However, his family's safety comes at a cost - Gerry must be transported into the most extremely impacted areas to study the disease in order to preserve their spots on the ship.
Once abroad, Gerry finds that it takes more than brute force to eliminate the infected. A visit to a South Korean military base leads to a visit to Jerusalem, the last remaining stronghold without zombie activity. However, as Gerry finally begins to piece together a hypothesis as to the treatment of the disease, the zombies find a way over the city's protective walls, and Jerusalem quickly joins the ranks of major cities destroyed by the undead.
While there are a lot of ways in which this film feels a bit unfulfilling, it is incredibly well made. Director Marc Forster uses light and darkness in clever ways to add some beautiful touches to a film where over half of the population appears to be melting and losing limbs. The score, which was partially developed by the rock band Muse, adds intensity to some already frenetic scenes, and Brad Pitt delivers a truly genuine performance as a father trying desperately to save the world so that he can, in turn, save his family. The action sequences are breathtaking, and the zombies themselves are both horrifying and awesome.
"World War Z" is rated PG-13 for some frightening imagery and zombie violence, and it opens wide in 2 and 3D on Friday.