Monday, September 16, 2013

World War Z: the film

** Warning: contains spoilers. **

First, this film bears absolutely no resemblance to the book of the same name. The only thing they have in common is the existence of zombies, the title, and the worldwide scale. This film could only be remotely like the book if it were told in a documentary style with interviews of the various people. This film is basically Brad Pitt (Gerry) goes around the world kicking zombie butt and looking for a cure for the zombie plague. In order to review it more objectively, I am going to pretend the movie isn't called World War Z and put aside all my expectations and hopes based on that title.

World War Z is an interesting film that brings up concepts I haven't seen before in zombie films. There aren't many that focus on what the government does during such a situation. Gerry used to work for the UN and he is basically told to help them find a cure or his family can't stay in the safe housing anymore. He flies all over the world chasing the origin of the disease and narrowly escaping death at each locale. The suspense is well done and builds in the right places. My favorite scenes were the zombies in the airplane and the claustrophobic journey through the WHO lab. The zombies are frightening and super fast. The solution at the end is temporary, but effective. Gerry notices certain people just don't exist to the zombies. He theorizes that those people survived a deadly disease and thus are an nonviable host for the zombie virus. This is proven true when he injects himself with a random disease in order to go bypass the zombies and return to his team with the diseases to test the theory. The film ends with a vaccine being made of a lethal pathogen to render the general public invisible to zombies. It isn't perfect and it isn't the end, but it's a good place to start. I like that all the ends aren't tied up with a nice bow. The theory makes sense and isn't something I've seen before.

The film has a lot of flaws. I've ranted about it before, but I really don't like fast zombies. It doesn't make biological sense for their muscles and tendons to be magically invincible and able to take the stress over long periods of time. World War Z takes it a step further and makes them swarm in an insectile way using bad, cartoony CGI. It just looked horrible and made me roll my eyes. The film is PG-13, so although there are numerous zombie attacks, there is very little blood and gore. I'm not just being a gorehound here. It's a realistic part of being in a zombie apocalypse: people are torn apart and eaten everywhere. I felt like I was watching a watered down or censored zombie film. The zombie virus takes hold quite fast. There really isn't enough time for a person to board a plane and go somewhere else to spread that the disease. It just doesn't work in the scope of the narrative. The characters were less than compelling. Gerry only agrees to help save humanity because his incredibly generic family is threatened. I'm not sure if he thought that through, but his family is included in all of humanity. The situation with his family also makes the film just like every other disaster movie ever. It was frustrating in a lot of ways. It just goes to show that being the most expensive zombie film ever made does not make automatically it a good film.

Overall, the film was ok: nothing spectacular and definitely does not live up to the hype. The novel is clearly superior on all possible levels. I would watch the sequel to see where it goes next, but I don't anticipate greatness.

My rating: 6/10 fishmuffins

1 comment: said...

Great review. Impressive and fun, but not as a good as it’s first 20 minutes promised.