Wednesday, July 31, 2013

World War Z

World War Z – 116M – PG-13

This movie has the following things in common with the book of the same name; zombies annnd The title annnnnnnd that’s it. There are almost no other carryovers that make this a good representation of the book. Once you get past the huge differences and just grade this on its own zombie merits, at best it only gets a yellow light from me.

I was a fan of zombies from the first time I watched the 1968 version of Night of the Living Dead. Maybe I am harder on this type of movie and hold it to a higher standard because I love the genre. The movie was fine from your run of the mill modern zombie that is crazy fast and completely unstoppable. But I am finding myself missing the psychological horror of the original movies.

Brad Pitt is Gerry Lane, a UN troubleshooter that has a way of getting things done in some very politically tight spots. He has a reputation of being relentless and letting nothing get in his way. He has just retired and is spending more time at home with his wife, Karin (Mireille Enos), and his two daughters, Constance and Rachel (Sterling Jerins, Abigail Hargrove). He is on a day out with the fam when the world explodes with an unstoppable wave of zombies.

There are very few relief points in the action. You get a never-ending ride of ups and downs while you are forced fed clues that are used in the end to come up with a solution of how to combat the zombies. I am guessing they are heavy handed because Brad Pitt needs to be able to see them.

I’m sorry about that last line, it was offsides, Brad Pitt is a very talented actor and a great person. That cheap shot was petty and uncalled for. I retract it. I was aiming more at the filmmakers. He was collateral damage in that jibe. I get cranky when I have to write about a movie that did not have enough good or bad in it to make me feel one way or the other.

I did like many of the small things they did to enhance the tension and imminent danger in this version of the zombie mythos. But adding cool small nuances to the overall tired big blockbuster story machine is not enough to keep me interested.

A missing element to the movie was how humanity changed and evolved overall in response to the crisis. We never get to see this in the film because instead of being a story about all of us, it’s just one man’s story. The book was told from several points of view. Maybe they should have thought of doing a Contagion approach in telling this story.

The CGI zeds were good at times and at times they were a bit grainy. Perhaps the director (Marc Forster) was going for that look, they wanted to give that effect to be like the shaky camera shots and bring you into the story, but it was distracting. I am a fan of his other films but this one I think is going to the bottom of my favorites from him.

I have issue with the ultra fast and super human zombie. Simon Pegg wrote an article about this very subject he said:

       “the fast zombie is bereft of poetic subtlety. As monsters from the id, zombies win out over vampires and werewolves when it comes to the title of Most Potent Metaphorical Monster. Where their pointy-toothed cousins are all about sex and bestial savagery, the zombie trumps all by personifying our deepest fear: death. Zombies are our destiny writ large. Slow and steady in their approach, weak, clumsy, often absurd, the zombie relentlessly closes in, unstoppable, intractable.“

The rest of the article is here. This is said much more elegant than I could but it is exactly how I feel.

Warning Spoilers !!!!! Only the Uninfected beyond this point. !!!!!!!!!!!

Ok. Right off the bat I thought the world’s smartest and best hope for humanity shooting his face off as soon as he gets face to face with danger (pun intended) was priceless. My exact words were “Wellllllllll, poop. We’re Stewed” I am cleaning this up for some of our younger readers but you get the idea.

From there few minutes of conversation on the plane we are supposed to believe that Brad Pitt’s character can piece together a plan about a vaccine that can make us invisible to them? Again this is hard for me to get behind.

The solution they came up with of making us not a compatible host seems a bit sketchy when they were pretty clearly killing everything that moved in the opening scenes I know I am watching a zombie movie so my suspension of disbelief should be pretty high, but it was hard to take in with such a farfetched premise.

Also the level of contagion seemed disproportionate. There is a news report of someplace incanting martial law but the news report makes the outbreak seem miles away. When the action kicks off it’s just in your face waves of sprinting zombies.

I loved the little touches of zombie prep, wrapping the arm in magazines and duct tape. Stand on the edge of the building as a safety measure if he turned. Walking back through the zombies and taking a soda when he created the distraction was a nice touch.

I was a bit disappointed by the fact that the sound of people singing were enough to bring the zombies to scale the wall but the other noise of helicopters and trucks and security gates and other conversations and yelling orders did nothing to inspire them to attack.

Ok enough about this blah zombie movie I am going to attack digital zombies as I go play State of Decay. I can show you how a real survivor is supposed to act.

What is your favorite zombie and why? Shamblers or rage machines?