movies: Brad Pitt’s zom­bie stomp – World War Z ..........

The Gold Coast Bulletin - Play Magazine - - PLAYCONTENTS -

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

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