Friday, December 26, 2014

World War Z Mini-Review

"Then the origin could have come from anywhere." -Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt)
This incredibly slipshod line sort of encapsulates the movie, right there. Instead of saying that the origin "could be anywhere," or "the virus could have originated anywhere," we get a bit of dialogue that shows a... very poor command of language and grammar.

Then again, we're talking about a zombie movie that's so extreme (cue "edgy" guitar riff) that (a) the zombies are faster and more agile than living people are, (b) we witness total "super-destruction" of the type that would appeal to teens who only listen to metal/punk, yet includes (c) a shocking lack of blood for a... "horror" film? I wasn't gonna write this mini-review, save my noticing it's still on Netflix - I'm amazed anyone even cares...

Max Brooks' WWZ novel is supposed to be really cool (he's the son of Mel!), so it's a shame to get a watered-down action movie instead. And while the novel creates a global picture of many incredible sieges and struggles for survival among large groups of characters... We're stuck with Gerry Lane, a retired Jack Bauer-type, running about, trying to save the world (almost) single-handedly.

Instead of worrying about many fleshed-out people, we focus on Gerry and his wife and kid. And that's a wash, too, because they're not vaguely interesting. Oooh, one family is in danger. Meanwhile, bloodless carnage abounds.

I already dislike "fast zombies" as they're just X random monster that's IN right now. I hate to be a snob or an idiot, but zombies that are tougher and faster than normal people only makes sense (hahaha) if they're magical zombies. If you're a technological zombie, you should be slow and probably fall apart without too much trouble. It's a silly distinction, but then again I'm a silly man.

What's worse, the fast ones take away the dread and horror of what zombies represent: the collapse of the natural order of things, and the resulting confusion among survivors. Holy s--t, the dead are walking! Are we in hell?! Has God abandoned us!? Is gravity gonna change next?! But then you see civilians get bit and transform in like 3 seconds, and they're faster than Usain Bolt, so suspense and terror fall away.

The idea that Brad Pitt travels around the globe to resolve a zombie plague is neat, but then the sequences are so rushed that it undercuts the changes of scenery. The film feels less like it has a big scope and more like it has an attention span problem. Or assumes that the audience does.

A couple of effective concept or moments are evident. But this movie doesn't have enough heart, enough scares, and isn't well-written enough. With the exception of how "extreme" its zombies are, World War Z is just not enough of anything. I caught this pic while fighting insomnia, and I'm amazed it didn't do the trick, because I was seldom excited or engaged.

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