movies: Brad Pitt’s zombie stomp – World War Z ..........
DIRECTED without flair by the middling Marc Forster ( Quantum of Solace), World War Z consists mostly of chomping zombie near-misses as Brad Pitt, playing the world’s first useful UN worker, flies around the globe dispatching the undead, unravelling their mysteries and working out a long-term plan against the ‘‘Zekes’’, as the Navy SEALs jocularly call them.
Zombies, lacking repartee, interesting motives or longterm strategies, make inherently dull villains – in their CGI swarms, they might as well be bees, or a wildfire, or a reverse rock slide. Which is why most ambitious zeke flicks spice things up with some allegory or mordant wit.
Not World War Z. Despite an opening montage of news clips that hints at such unlikely phenomena as dolphins beaching themselves en masse, an outbreak of rabies and people actually watching Piers Morgan, this zombie flick has no social significance. It’s just a jumped-up midnight movie that thinks ‘‘stuff jumping out at you and making loud noises’’ equals horror and ‘‘perfect human being impervious to everything’’ equals hero.
Gerry Lane (Pitt) quit the UN, where he used to travel the globe solving problems (the first clue that the film is sci-fi). A loving dad of two adorable girls, he is driving with them and his wife (an irrelevant Mireille Enos) when the zombie apocalypse arrives. You or I would be terrified, or at least surprised: He reacts as calmly as if he had just chaired the commission behind the UN’s antizombie white paper.
A couple of jaunts around the globe later, you will have a lot of questions, but there is only ever one answer: Because he’s Brad Pitt.
Why does he know more about epidemiology than the World Health Organisation? Because he’s Brad Pitt.
Why is he the only one in Israel, which has been
World War Z opens today.
World War Z. surrounded by zombies for days, who knows that loud noises agitate them? Because he’s Brad Pitt.
Why does he get to outrun the Usain Bolts of zombieland even when he’s badly injured? Because he’s Brad Pitt.
When Gerry has a 50cm prong of metal sticking through his guts, you don’t even wince. You just figure he’ll yank it out and close the wound with a stick of chewing gum.
It would be hard to locate a more boringly capable hero, and worse, every so often the movie stops to announce what a great dad Gerry is, to pander to Pitt’s soccer-mum fan base. The family stuff is as meaningless and thrown-in as the Pepsi placement. An early scene in which Gerry’s daughter suffers an asthma attack means nothing; she and the others are pushed off to the side for the duration.
So once you figure out the first rule of Zombie Fight Club – nothing too bad can happen to Brad Pitt – the movie is, despite intermittent thrills, rote.
There are several intense chases and some dazzling trailer-bait set pieces, but stapling together trailer moments does not a movie make.
To the extent there is a story – detective work so easy it could have been done on the phone – it takes a pernicious turn when Israel, alone, is said to have known about the zombie apocalypse in advance. In a world where perhaps hundreds of millions believe Israel knew about 9/11 beforehand, this is questionable judgment. The movie backtracks by saying Israel is quick with the panic button because of its history, but that only makes it worse.
– The New York Post
(From left) Brad Pitt, Abigail Hargrove and Mireille Enos are the Lane family in