Oh look, another DVD hits my shelves, it’s time for a review!
This time out, it’s 2013’s zombie horror sensation World War Z, starring Brad Pitt, Matthew Fox and Mireille Enos.
Of course, people ought to know by now that I really don’t care for zombies as a monster and I’m not going to go into it again here, for those that are interested, I’ve explained it in great detail here. In fact, it’s not just zombies that I hate, I have an intense hatred of the absurdly fast-moving zombies popularized in films like 28 Days Later, which I hated. I think you can see where this review is going. World War Z has everything that I hate most about zombies, stuffed into one movie.
Former UN investigator Gerry Lane has retired to spend time with his family, wife Karen and two daughters, when they find themselves in the midst of a zombie rampage, with thousands of fast-moving and fast-changing undead suddenly surrounding their car. After a convenient rescue, they are taken aboard a zombie-free aircraft carrier where what remains of the government tries to work out what’s going on and railroad Lane into leading the mission to find out how this mess happened.
In keeping with my last review, I really liked the “Good”, “Bad” and “Neutral” layout so I’ll continue that here. And so, in no particular order, my thoughts about World War Z.
BAD: The fast zombies. In fact, the whole concept behind the zombies was absurd. 8 seconds to convert a living human into a zombie track star? We’re not even talking about track stars, the zombies in this movie throw themselves around the screen like ragdolls, often to their own “demise”. So what’s causing this? It really implies some kind of higher consciousness that’s pushing the collective zombie hive-mind to do things, especially the way they all move in unison. They’re not schooling like fish, which do it to enhance their safety against predators, the zombies don’t care about individual survival, so what’s making them act that way, except a bad script?
BAD: The “vaccine”. It seems absolutely ridiculous that a zombie, a rotting corpse that’s falling apart, could tell if someone had a fatal disease or not. Worse yet, they don’t even have to look at the person, they just instinctively know that they’re sick and the diseased individual becomes instantly invisible to zombies? Besides, what difference does it make? We’ve already established that the zombies cannot be infected by disease and presumably, once you’re dead, the disease stops mattering. So why not turn terminal patients? It makes no sense.
BAD: I hate films where they never find out what caused the disaster and it’s worse in this movie because not only do we spend most of the movie running around the world looking for patient zero, but we never even find it!
BAD: Seriously, who put the zombie into the cabinet on the plane? It’s not like a person could have gotten bit, boarded the plane and changed there, the change happens too fast. No, somehow this zombie must have been purposely packed onto the plane. What the hell?
BAD: Gerry Lane’s family gets thrown off the aircraft carrier because Lane doesn’t report in for 2 days? Seriously?
GOOD: Come on, Peter Capaldi, a scientist working at WHO? You can’t get better than that, especially since, when this movie filmed, nobody knew he’d be the new Doctor Who.
GOOD: The acting was great, especially Karen Lane, played by Mireille Enos, who wasn’t given a lot to do, but when she was on screen, was excellent. Given the rather silly premise behind the movie, I think the actors were overall fantastic and saved the movie from being a complete disaster.
BAD: The whole thing in Israel was dumb. First off, there’s no way in hell that the Jews could wall off Jerusalem and not start a war, especially in a week. That’s just nonsense. Secondly, they had helicopter gunships flying around the city, how did they not see the massive zombie horde climbing the wall until they were over?
BAD: Segen, the Israeli female soldier that got her hand hacked off. That sequence was just dumb anyhow. Yes, I could see that hacking of an infected limb could work if the infection worked slowly enough, but in this case, when it’s 8 seconds to full infection, death and rebirth, there’s no way. She got bit, it was at least a couple of seconds until she realized it, then another couple of seconds before Lane hacked off her hand, she should have been long gone by then. That act had no long-lasting effects in the movie, they didn’t learn anything from it, it didn’t come into play down the line, it was just gratuitous violence in a movie full of it.
BAD: Ultimately, as in most zombie apocalypse movies, there was no hope at the end. They did have a “vaccine”, if you can call a terminal disease that only works while it’s killing you a “vaccine”. What did that get them? Over 90% of the planet was dead. Most cities were destroyed. Most technology was ruined. Most crops were gone. What hope does humanity have after all of that? There’s nothing to be hopeful for and that’s what I hate about all of these films. The best that they can hope for is survival for a short time before the eventual extinction of humanity or being pushed back to the stone age. That’s not hope.
With all the red up there, I think it’s pretty obvious what kind of a score it’s going to get and that’s too bad. I wanted to like it. My oldest daughter was really looking forward to it, having read the Max Brooks book. It’s just nothing special as far as zombie movies go. It might even be the best zombie movie ever (it’s not) and it’s still not that good. I think the last-minute re-filming and re-engineering probably hurt it and if this is the best they could do, I’d hate to see what the first cuts looked like.
I don’t really recommend this to any but the most hardcore zombie fans, the story sucks, it makes no sense and while the acting makes it better, it can’t save this movie from the head-shaking script.