MESSAGE IN THE MOVIES
Photo By Paramount Pictures
Directed by Marc Forster. Starring Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos
EIt could be argued that a zombie movie doesn’t have to be logical or moral, as long as it offers up spectacle and scares. After all, we’re talking about seeing dead people walking, so what’s the big deal? That’s precisely the attitude that World War Z seems to be taking, which is precisely the ironic distance that most of our century’s dystopian apocalyptic films seem to champion (The Hunger Games being an exception to the rule.)
Let me take the other side of that argument. Once a film decides to depict a worldwide catastrophic plague that is killing hundreds of thousands of people, I expect someone to pull out a moral compass and ask for directions. 2011’s Contagion covered the globe and still demonstrated a sense of compassion and grief for lives lost and the courage needed to find a cure for a horrific disease. And the zombie genre is full of movies such as George Romero’s “living dead” film and the masterful 2002 Danny Boyle movie 28 Days Later that depicts various human tragedies alongside of the struggle to stay alive.
The movie starts off in chilling fashion, as Gerry Lane (Pitt), a recently retired United Nations field agent, and his wife Karen (Enos) are taking their kids on a family outing in Philadelphia when the world starts falling apart around them. They manage to survive a horrific nightmarish morning and are whisked out of town. Gerry is called back into service and his family is safely ensconced aboard an aircraft carrier while he goes off to save the world.
Despite the sudden and relentless deaths of so many persons, there is never a palpable sense of loss. I often felt that the movie was saying: “Hey, we’ve got fast-moving hordes of the undead attacking us! We’ll get to that later!”
Gerry Lane makes many moral decisions, and each one is based on his strong belief that he is doing the right thing. Sometimes his decisions will necessitate an emergency amputation or the destruction of a passenger vehicle. His ability to put himself above all others demonstrates the power of a quick wit and a strong ego. For someone who is supposed to be “the average guy” just doing what needs to be done, Gerry has an incredible series of lucky streaks.
Trinitarian Christianity has as its foundation not only the relationship of God with Godself, but also our relationship with one another and our capacity to become more self-giving as we model God’s love. World War Z promotes a general sense of anxiety while extolling the virtue of self-reliance to save the day. It’s sad to see popular entertainment moving away from a sense of the transcendent power of God with such great rapidity. Faster than a speeding zombie, you might say.
Two halos: A zombie movie with big ambitions but limited depth.
Three pitchforks Nonstop violence and death, including upsetting off-screen events that cater to the film’s PG-13 rating.
Rev. Bruce Batchelor-Glader
COMMENTS! Do you have comments about this movie or movie review?
E-mail comments. (Comments will be posted to our web site.)
The East Ohio Conference Office:
located in North Canton, OH.
near the Akron-Canton airport.
8800 Cleveland Ave. NW ·
North Canton, OH 44720
Toll Free: 800-831-3972
Office Hours: Monday through Friday 8:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m.
©2016 EAST OHIO CONFERENCE. All Rights Reserved.