World War Z: Three Faith Takeaways

I may end up sleeping with all the lights on for the next few nights due to my viewing this afternoon of the pretty amazing zombie flick World War Z. Rated PG13 and with an AIII rating from the USCCB, this film mainly stars Brad Pitt and a bunch of (actually not too gruesome as zombies go) zombies.

Here’s the official trailer:

I don’t in any way want to give the ending away so I’ll simply tell you that the film revolves around a massive “infection” (my word, not the movie’s) of people who become zombies. Brad Pitt, a retired UN operative, is called back into duty to help find a resolution. His response to that call to duty is made despite the fact that he doesn’t want to leave his wife and children (plus “Tomas”, a bonus child he and his family take in out of compassion). In the end, the only way for him to keep his loved ones safe is to go fight the zombies.

World War Z

What follows are many intense scenes in a variety of cool geographic locations around the world. I was particularly glued to the Jerusalem chapter of the movie, since I had the opportunity to travel there last year and since it involves a pretty amazing prayer scene that I don’t want to give away.

Without divulging the end of the movie, I would like to share a few basic “faith takeaways” that are ringing in my head this evening:

  1. Being “in it for yourself” isn’t right, especially when there are zombies involved. One of my favorite parts of this movie happens early on, when Brad Pitt’s character Gerry Lane and his wife Karin and their two precious daughters are taken in by young Tomas and his Spanish speaking parents. They are offered food, shelter, and comfort by complete strangers. In the end, Tomas’ family’s courtesy and compassion is returned. Isn’t it sad that the fact that people would go out of their way to care for one another amidst crisis seems so striking to me? This makes me ponder the many times a day I “look out for number one” when I should be looking to better love and care for those around me.
  2. The walls you build to protect yourself may in the end be the cause of your destruction. When you see the film (and I think you should, if you’re not afraid of zombies) you’ll know what I’m talking about here. While remaining spoiler-free I’ll simply say that while we may think we’re saving ourselves by cutting ourselves off from “dangerous” elements in our lives, we can just as easily be eaten from within by our own sin.
  3. What are you willing to give to save those you love? I guess this last one isn’t so much a “takeaway” as it is a point I’m pondering in the aftermath of watching World War Z. Again, I don’t want to give away the ending but I’ll simply say that one character proves that he is willing to risk everything to do what he knows is right, what simply has to be done if the world is to be saved. Would I have what it takes to be so selfless, so giving, so courageous? More importantly, do I fully recognize and appreciate the amazing grace of knowing that One gave his all to save me, out of love?

In closing, if you have a few moments, I invite you to listen to someone far more intellectually adept, more eloquent and more well-versed on the spirituality of popular culture than myself. Here’s Father Robert Barron’s take on World War Z:

A question for you: Have you seen World War Z? What are your faith “takeaways” for this movie?

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  • OK, now I think I’m going to have to see it.

  • rj

    I saw the movie and enjoyed it. I honestly did not have the time to think about it at the time. I was too busy holding onto my husband’s hand becuse the suspense kept me on my on my toes almost all through the movie. But afterwards I thought what a beautiful boy Thomas was! Thanks for sharing your view points.