‘World War Z,’ reviewed by Marshall Fine


Ahhh yes, the zombie apocalypse – that moment when the dead rise and, by biting the living, turn them into zombies as well. Some theorize that Patient Zero was Ronald Reagan.

Before long, there’s an unorganized zombie army meandering around the streets, chomping on any unfortunate warm-blooded soul who happens to cross their path (and there are always a few). And – wham! Instant Tea Party.

Zombies have become the fear-fantasy of the age, having replaced aliens from outer space and natural disasters as the metaphor for how little control we have, how much we fear and how quickly it can all change. Still, “World War Z,” Marc Forster’s film of Max Brooks’ best-selling novel, is a little late to the party. After all, “The Walking Dead” has been on the air since 2010. Hey, Danny Boyle’s “28 Days Later” came out in 2002.

But with Brad Pitt and Mireille Enos in the lead roles and a budget north of $150 million, “World War Z” commands attention. And, for the first two-thirds of its almost two-hour running time, it delivers. Even with a late assist from writer Damon Lindelof to shore up the finale, however, “World War Z” still suffers from what’s referred to as third-act problems. It builds and builds to what ultimately is an anti-climax.

Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a house-husband in Philadelphia who, we eventually learn, used to be a trouble-shooter/fixer for the United Nations, until he burned out. One day, while driving his kids to school and his wife to work, traffic in downtown Philly grinds to a halt. And then all hell breaks loose, as seemingly rabid people go running through the crowd, attacking and savagely biting anyone they can.

This review continues on my website.

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