Screen Gems Movie Reviews
with Kennie Bass. You'll find it First On Fox!

World War Z June 21, 2013
World War Z
Studio: Plan B Entertainment
Rating: PG-13 for intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images.

We just cannot get enough of the undead. The zombie craze continues with another new chapter. This time it's a big-budget movie with a troubled history behind the camera.

Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is a former United Nations troubleshooter. But he left that dangerous life to spend time with his family.

The movie opens on an average day. Breakfast with the kids, then off to fight the traffic during a morning Philadelphia commute.

But chaos soon erupts around them. It;'s a zombie outbreak in which the infected turn into bloodthirsty monsters in just seconds.

Lane manages to get his wife and two kids to relative safety, but he needs help to save them from certain doom.

An old U.N. connection is his key. They make contact and after a harrowing night in a zombie-infected apartment building in New Jersey they are rescued by helicopter.

Once Lane and his family are safely on board a warship, he learns the world needs his help. The origin of the plague is a mystery. Lane is given the task of finding out how it started and how it might be defeated. But he's hesitant to jump into the fray. He wants to stay with his loved ones but he's quickly told there is no room on the ship for non-essential personnel. Lane reluctantly agrees and is soon off to South Korea with a hotshot professor and a team of Navy Seals looking for a solution to the plague.

If you follow movie news, you know that "World War Z" was plagued with re-writes, re-shoots, cost overruns and budget problems.

In many cases, films with those problems end up being a big mess.

Thankfully, "World War Z", while not perfect, mostly delivers on its promise of action and a threat to end humanity.

It's a based on a book by Max Brooks. However, it only borrows a little bit from its source material. That will probably anger fans of the novel.

Instead, director Marc Foster decided that while the premise of a world-wide pandemic was an attractive plot device, he needed more action to put it on the screen.

Foster includes several big set pieces that show just how fast, dangerous and relentless the zombies are. Lane's investigation takes him around the world from South Korea to Israel to Europe. He discovers the different way countries are battling the undead. Some are more effective than others, but its pretty clear if he doesn't find a cure, the end of the world is right around the corner.

Pitt is serious and somber, giving weight to his role and lifting what could have been a generic disaster movie into a higher class of films.

It's a little jerky in spots, but is satisfying and smart enough with a thrilling end sequence to warrant a good grade.

On my rating scale, "World War Z" earns a TRIPLE.

Screen Gems Score


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