Tuesday, July 9, 2013

First Ever Special Guest Review: World War Z

What I recalled as a drunken promise to do one movie review turned out to be a drunken promise to do two movie reviews.  Seeing as I might end up doing more of these in the future (or at least promising to do them while i'm drinking), the least we can do is get acquainted.  So, hello!  I'm Mike.  And although this about a week too late, why don't we sit back, push our golden Brad Pitt locks behind our ears, and have a little chat about World War Z.

In a world where The Walking Dead has made zombies cool again, Max Brook's best-selling novel World War Z has been turned into a feature film... Or at least the title was. The novel follows a journalist who travels the world conducting interviews with people following the events of the zombie apocalypse.  From what I can tell, the only thing the movie retained from the book is it's title.  I'll do my best to keep this as spoiler-free as possible, but.. tread lightly, spoilers ahead.
Gerry Lane (played by Brad Pitt - Legends of the Fall, Thelma and Louise) is a loving husband and father to two daughters.  He was once one of the UN's best investigators, but he's left his job in order to be a stay-at-home dad and remain closer to his wife and kids.  One morning while out driving with his family, there's some sort of accident on the road that causes traffic to come to a standstill.  Gerry exits the car to find out what's happening, when all of a sudden there are explosions, cars crashing, and all hell is breaking loose.  Zombies are hurling themselves at civilians, biting and scratching and turning people into ruthless killing machines in a matter of seconds.  When the virus starts getting out of control and taking over big cities, the government brings Gerry in to travel the globe to investigate where the disease originated so that they could maybe find a way to cure it.  

World War Z was much different than what I had anticipated.  The trailer made it seem like a frantic struggle for survival in a world taken over by an ever-expanding number of blood-thirsty zombies.  Actually, the trailer never made mention of the word "zombie" at all, which is why I was surprised when "zombie" was tossed around so often in the movie.  Instead of an edge-of-your-seat/ what's-around-the-corner kind of zombie flick, World War Z reminded me more of Zero Dark Thirty.  Most of the movie is Brad Pitt travelling the globe in search of answers, meeting with scientists and the military in order to find clues that could lead to a cure.  Of course there are zombie attacks mixed in-between, but they're almost always predictable.  Anytime Gerry expects there to be some sort of danger, there's danger.  And with such a large scale zombie outbreak, we're talking hordes of zombies--too many to fight, so most of the time everyone is just running away.  This movie is definitely big on adventure, but it's PG-13 rating kind of hindered the violence and blood.  For example, there's a scene where Gerry knocks down a zombie and then smashes it's head in with a crowbar.  The crowbar gets stuck in it's head and all we ever see is Gerry from the waste up.  It was almost confusing when he's trying to dislodge the crowbar because I wasn't sure why or how it became stuck in the first place. 

One problem I tend to have with zombie films is their ending--especially when the outbreak is on such a large scale, there's no way to ever recover from that. You're lucky if your "happy ending" is a "well, I guess that's the best we could do!". That's sort of how we're left in World War Z. Gerry doesn't find a "cure", but he finds out that the zombies are only looking for healthy hosts. Gerry's solution is to inject terminal, but curable diseases into the living so that the zombies leave them alone. And it works. It's an interesting idea, but you're still left with a world full of zombies that will continue to make more zombies until you can inject every single person with a terminal disease... which they will eventually need a cure for or they'll die anyway. The movie is left open for a sequel which may remedy my need for a "happy ending". Otherwise, I'd say World War Z was your average zombie flick.

My rating for World War Z: 65%
Reviewed by Mike Lombardo

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