Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

September 27, 2013

‘World War Z’ less graphic, but still a thrilling ride

DVD Review

Ezra Mann
Pauls Valley Democrat

emann@pvdemocrat.com — No matter how clear one attempts to make their mind before seeing a film, if you have read the book it is based on before you enter the theater, it is nearly impossible to put aside pre-set expectations. Most of the time this leads to a disappointment in the cinematic adaptation as not meeting up to one’s own standard and though a flick can still suck royally, it’s best if one wants to read to do it afterward.

From what I’ve seen so far in other reviews or read through my friends, today’s entry is no exception and thus I actually take comfort in the fact that I’ve never read an undead page of the inspiring book. And besides, if the filmmakers can’t convince an audience the story is engaging enough to pay to see it adapted in the first place, whether or not it is true to the source material becomes entirely irrelevant. “World War Z” is actually something very entertaining on its own, quite a bit less gory than the what the genre is usually subjected to, but likely not a ride you’ll doze off during.

The film starts off quietly and happy like all thrillers do, this time in Philadelphia, where former UN employee Gary Lane (Brad Pitt) and his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) don’t have to worry about much more than making sure their two daughters learn their manners. However, don’t worry about it moving slow for too long, because like an ADHD kid who finds a five gallon bucket full of sugar, things burst full speed ahead when the citizens are attacked by crazed zombies as mom and dad are taking the kids to school.

On the run and just trying to survive places like J-Mart (Think Black Friday where even the cops are in on the spree), there seems to be no escape for this average American family, that is until a former colleague of Gary, Deputy Secretary-General Thierry Umutoni (Fana Mokoena), offers them a helicopter ride to safety. After picking up a spare Mexican kid to spice up the family dynamic, Gary learns his safety cannot be guaranteed unless he helps solve the cause of the epidemic, which involves glob trotting to all the other zombie infested sightseeing destinations like Israel or Korea. It’s all quite interestingly done and then beefed up by one pretty sweet soundtrack courtesy of Marco Beltrami.

What sets this apart from other films featuring the living impaired is not so much the flesh munching, slow walking guys you can shoot recreationally, but a foe that is much more determined to spread the virus than be a side show. Imagine a swarm of fire ants or other hated creepy crawly attacking a helpless insect and you’ve pretty much got the gist of the infected, where there isn’t much you can do, even if you can run like Jessie Owens.

The ending also gets props not so much for dramatic delivery, but for being actually rather clever with the solution that one can easily pick up the clues for by the time it is revealed. I’d certainly consider watching it again, with enough interest remaining for a sequel and recommend it as something to enjoy with the surround sound cranked up to 11. For what it was, “World War Z” deserves a verdict of three out of five pathogens.

Movie rental courtesy of Family Video of Pauls Valley.