World War Z
Brad Pitt zombie thriller is dull, despite intense moments.
Based on 29 reviews
Based on 140 reviews
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World War Z
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A Lot or a Little?
The parents' guide to what's in this movie.
What Parents Need to Know
Parents need to know that World War Z is an action/thriller movie about a worldwide zombie outbreak that's based on the bestselling novel by Max Brooks and stars Brad Pitt. It tones down the blood and gore that are trademarks of most zombie movies, instead focusing on chase sequences and lots of shootings (including children), explosions, and dead bodies. It's intense, but it's not overly graphic -- though a plane crash sequence does result in a key character being injured, with a piece of metal sticking out of his stomach, and other scenes include a woman's arm being cut off (no blood) and people choosing suicide over infection. Language is sparse but features a few uses of "s--t" and other words. Some vodka is used as a painkiller (and a cleaner) while the main character cleans and dresses a wound, and Pepsi and Mountain Dew are definitely used for product placement.
Not a bad zombie movie
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What's the Story?
Retired UN agent Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) is happy staying at home with his wife (Mireille Enos) and two daughters. But one morning, while driving the kids to school, strange things start happening. It becomes apparent that certain people have gone crazy and have started attacking and biting other innocents, zombie-style. It's not long before Gerry's old boss calls him in, and he's jetting around the world, trying to find the source of the deadly outbreak, or at least a cure. But the zombies are ruthless and resourceful, and Gerry is running out of time and places to hide.
Is It Any Good?
The bestselling novel World War Z by Max Brooks (Mel Brooks' son) started a bidding war right out of the gate, and unfortunately it's been turned into a sloppy, dull summer action flick. Director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace, Machine Gun Preacher) has never shown much personality or skill when it comes to big movies; his action sequences are shaky and choppy, and his suspense sequences are clunky rather than tense. The entire movie has a grim, serious demeanor that sucks all the potential fun out of it. It's probably the least scary zombie movie ever made.
WORLD WAR Z is also one of those movies that makes you want to scream at the characters for not being very smart; if they'd seen even one zombie movie, they'd know not to make the same old mistakes. There isn't a scene in it that couldn't have been done better. Not even the actors pass muster: Pitt is on autopilot, and character actors like David Morse are gone before they've had a chance to warm up. The title of this dud should have included more "Z"s.
Talk to Your Kids About ...
Families can talk about World War Z's violence. What is shown, and what isn't shown? How is this movie different from other zombie movies? Is it more or less intense?
What's the appeal of zombie movies in general? What do zombies say about who we are as a culture?
Is World War Z scary? What is it really about if it's not a true horror movie?
- In theaters: June 21, 2013
- On DVD or streaming: September 17, 2013
- Cast: Brad Pitt, James Badge Dale, Mireille Enos
- Director: Marc Forster
- Studio: Paramount Pictures
- Genre: Action/Adventure
- Topics: Book Characters, Monsters, Ghosts, and Vampires
- Run time: 116 minutes
- MPAA rating: PG-13
- MPAA explanation: intense frightening zombie sequences, violence and disturbing images
- Last updated: March 10, 2023
Our Editors Recommend
28 Days Later
Viral apocalypse, zombies, and terror. For adults.
I Am Legend
Intense, thoughtful thriller has some big scares.
Terry Gilliam's violent dystopian masterpiece.
For kids who love scares
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