|Summary: United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.
Director: Marc Forster
Starring: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz, James Badge Dale, Ludi Boeken, Matthew Fox, Fana Mokoena, David Morse, Elyes Gabel
World War Z is a 2013 American disaster zombie film directed by Marc Forster. The screenplay by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, and Damon Lindelof is from a screen story by Carnahan and J. Michael Straczynski, based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Max Brooks. The film stars Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a former United Nations investigator who must travel the world to find a way to stop a zombie pandemic.
Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment secured the film rights in 2007, and Forster was approached to direct. In 2009, Carnahan was hired to rewrite the script. Filming began in July 2011 in Malta, on an estimated $125 million budget, before moving to Glasgow in August 2011 and Budapest in October 2011. Originally set for a December 2012 release, the production suffered some setbacks. In June 2012, the film’s release date was pushed back, and the crew returned to Budapest for seven weeks of additional shooting. Damon Lindelof was hired to rewrite the third act, but did not have time to finish the script, and Drew Goddard was hired to rewrite it. The reshoots took place between September and October 2012.
World War Z premiered in London on June 2, 2013 and was chosen to open the 35th Moscow International Film Festival. The film was released on June 21, 2013, in the United States, in 2D and RealD 3D. The film received positive reviews and was a commercial success, grossing over $540 million against a production budget of $190 million. A sequel was announced shortly after the film’s release.
PLOT – SPOILER ALERT
A worldwide zombie outbreak erupts in several metropolitan areas around the world; those bitten by the creatures become zombies themselves. Former UN investigator Gerry Lane, his wife Karin, and their two daughters manage to escape the outbreak in Philadelphia and take shelter with a Hispanic family in Newark, while waiting for special evacuation the next day thanks to Gerry’s friend UN Deputy Secretary-General Thierry Umutoni. Their hosts choose not to accompany them when they flee the next day, and are subsequently killed by zombies. Their son, Tommy, manages to escape, and Gerry’s family takes him in. They are flown to an offshore U.S. Navy carrier group where Umuntoni is overseeing the remaining worldwide governments’ reactions.
The scientists there believe they must find the first case of the zombie outbreak, believed to be in South Korea. A team is dispatched to go, and Gerry is coerced into going with them under the threat of having his family sent to a potentially unsafe mainland refugee camp. The team lands at Camp Humphreys, where the surviving soldiers hold back zombie attacks: the zombies are fast and vicious, and once bitten, a person turns within seconds. Gerry learns that a Korean doctor was the first to come down with the rabies-like infection, after being bitten by a soldier he was treating whom local villagers had captured when he tried to attack them. A former CIA operative held at the base reveals that Israel had reacted a week before the outbreak, building giant walls around Jerusalem, and suggests that Gerry talk to Mossad agent Jurgen Warmbrunn.
Gerry is flown to Jerusalem and is brought to Jurgen Warmbrunn. The Mossad agent reveals they had intercepted a message from the Indian army on fighting the rakshasa (“zombies”). He and other Israeli experts convinced the government to build the wall to protect themselves. As Gerry is escorted back to his plane by the IDF, zombies are drawn to the loud music playing in the city and pile themselves against the wall, forming a mound of bodies that allows many to clear the wall. As the city is quickly overtaken by zombies, Gerry and the IDF members battle their way to escape. On their way, Gerry notices that the zombies avoid attacking an old man, and in another instance, a young feeble boy. A zombie bites Gerry’s IDF escort and he quickly amputates her hand, which prevents her from being infected. Eventually, Gerry and the same female IDF member, who only identifies herself as Segen , are able to board the last passenger jet leaving the city.
Gerry recounts the zombie attacks and remembers seeing sick, injured, and elderly people passed over by the zombie hordes, which leads him to believe this is evidence of some way to deal with the hordes. He contacts Umuntoni to help convince the pilots to take them to Cardiff where an operational WHO facility is located. Nearing approach, a single zombie is discovered on the plane, and most of the passengers are quickly infected and converted. Seeing no other option, Gerry uses a grenade from Segen’s pack to rupture the cabin and blow out the zombies, but this also causes the plane to crash. Gerry and Segen survive, though Gerry is impaled by a piece of shrapnel. They make their way to the WHO facility, where Gerry blacks out.
Gerry wakes up a few days later, nursed back to health. He contacts Umuntoni to help convince the WHO employees of his identity, but learns that Karin and his family were shipped to the mainland, as they believed he had died in the plane crash. Gerry explains his theory that the zombies ignore the infirm for the healthy, and suggests injecting themselves with a deadly but curable disease to mask themselves from the zombies. The WHO scientists agree but point out the pathogens are located in one of the zombie-infected labs. Gerry, Segen, and another WHO scientist carefully work through the infested labs but are detected. Segen and the WHO scientist get to safety, while Gerry finds himself in the vault with the pathogens, cornered by a lone zombie. Without the ability to identify the strains in storage, many of which could kill him, Gerry injects himself with one of the samples and finds himself still alive. His hypothesis is proven correct as the zombie enters the vault but does not attack, allowing him to walk back to safety with more samples as the rest of the zombies run right past him. Gerry is then treated for the disease.
In a voice-over, Gerry explains they were able to use these diseases to create a masking agent, allowing them to rescue refugees still trapped by zombies and fight against them. He says that this isn’t the end and our war has just begun, but there is hope as people have used the masking agent to evacuate people or fight back. The final scene shows Gerry and Segen being taken to the mainland refugee camp where Gerry is reunited with his family.