Hi! I’m back! It’s been a long time since I last blogged–I was kinda busy on a lot of stuff the past couple of months with my thesis, graduation, bumming around, and job hunting. Anyway, enough about that! Today, I review World War Z, starring Brad Pitt and loosely based on Max Brooks’ novel. There might be minor spoilers ahead, so do watch out.
First, let me just say that I’m a huge zombie apocalypse fan. I like post-apocalyptic settings in general, but the zombie genre is one of my most favorite. Second, I’m also quite tired of all the zombie stuff. We have it in television, in comics, movies, and videogames which has over-saturated the genre. But seeing the trailer of the movie, I thought that the movie was worth a shot. Even if the early reviews of World War Z were basically telling that the movie is from bad to mediocre, I didn’t care and watched anyway. Sure, I’m nit-picky on a lot of details and I went in the movie theater expecting it to suck badly and fall asleep, but apparently I was wrong.
The movie stars Brad Pitt as this ex-UN guy, Gerry. He was kinda some big shot back in his UN days, but I think I missed what he did, or why he got special treatment from the UN undersecretary, Thierry/Terry/Cherry (to be simple let’s call him UN Boss). Most of the exposition about his past are tidbits from the minor characters from the movie, but it never gave anything conclusive. I didn’t understand what his overall role was supposed to be, and it felt like the movie was forcing me to just trust him. Well, Gerry did have a reliable atmosphere with him, and I like Brad Pitt’s acting here as this calm stoic guy, and there is sincerity that he really cares for his family.
But let me just say this: Gerry is the Harbinger of Death. Seriously, wherever he goes, people just die. Yes, there is a zombie apocalypse, and it is inevitable that people will die–but when Gerry is present, it is almost always assured that some terrible shit is going to happen. These are the following cases: (1) Goes to an apartment unit of a Hispanic family–Hispanic family dies with the exception of the kid; (2.1) Goes to South Korea with a squadron and a scientist, almost all of them die; (2.2) The military guys were doing a good job of holding off, then he screws up plane refueling operation (not partly his fault), some soldiers die, along with their captain; (3.1) Goes to a heavily fortified Jerusalem that has walled itself in and has managed to stay infection-free–the city suddenly got overrun by zombies; (3.2) Escorted by a squadron of soldiers to bring him to safety, only one remains and her hand got cut off; (4) Boards a passenger airplane–eventually, it was overrun with zombies. See.
The other characters are useless. Also, since this is a zombie apocalypse movie, all characters besides the main character is made of pure concentrated idiocy that will screw up in every given chance. Whether it be making a noise, causing the death of other characters, wandering around, panicking when told not to; you know, the usual stuff that makes us swear and cringe at the existence of those characters.
The only person I got to remember was UN Boss, and Gerry’s daughter, Connie, aka the most annoying kid ever. Let’s talk about Connie, since UN Boss did nothing of merit in the whole movie except look like a confused person. Connie is around 5 or 6 and is basically a walking liability in the first part of the movie. I get it that she’s just a child, but seriously, she screams a lot even when told not to scream. Wanders around, stands around, and then scream all over the place…even when told not to! Her only redeeming role was discovering the Hispanic family’s unit and convincing them to allow them to enter–though eventually they die.
Gerry’s wife on the other hand, gets much attention, but no character development. Actually, nobody in the movie does, so she’s kinda forgiven. But, she was the reason why Gerry’s South Korea gig turned downhill. Simply put, the only character you’re going to care about is Gerry and that one-handed Israeli soldier he saved that became his mainstay companion.
The plot is typical of a zombie apocalypse movie in that, they try to figure the origins, find a cure, find a safe place, or find a way to fight back. It really doesn’t introduce something new, but luckily, the plot was simple and not all over the place. There weren’t too much great leaps of logic, except for Gerry and his companion surviving the plane crash where none of the other passengers did. The zombie camouflage solution, which was introduced at the climax of the movie, was out of place. Sure, there were three instances where the zombies did ignore people, but for Gerry to draw conclusions from it along with some few pieces of info was quite…dubious for the lack of better term. It seemed like a total deus ex machina, and it made the latter part of the movie a whole let down. That plot device was not developed that much.
Some plot points were left out the dark, like the Patient Zero, or the whole thing with India and South Korea. But, it didn’t do that much harm (well, we still don’t know how the plague did come about) and it did make the plot linear and super simple to watch, which may be good for some viewers who doesn’t really like elaborate and complex plot points.
The zombies here are basically upgraded versions of the sprinting-types. They can jump really high, run really fast, and can scale walls by hurling themselves to piles to create some sort of meat ladders. Simply put, this is the worst zombie to encounter when it comes to a zombie apocalypse. I dabble on some zombie apocalypse fantasies once in a while, but those involves either the mindless sprinting ones or the derpy walking ones. All my zombie fail-safes and strategies are null and void when it comes to these buggers. Also, their rate of infection are very quick. People are infected at mere seconds! This breed of zombie is scary, because most strategies wouldn’t work and that one of the solutions in fighting back is a double-edged sword; and not scary, because it’s not a zombie in a traditional sense.
What made traditional zombies scary is not the zombie itself, but their methodology. It was mindless, and it was slow, but it gave you hope–a slim chance of surviving. What made it scary is because surviving is agony. Yes, you can live–but against an unstoppable foe, you run out of food and water; your health deteriorates and your chances of getting sick increases; and the fact that you have to move out from your safe zone to get rations, ammo, or even to get to a better spot. It’s the psychological torture, and the fear that comes with being a survivor on a slow creeping menace. Being slowly roasted alive is far scarier and more painful than being burnt to a crisp in mere seconds.
What this fast killing, high-jumping zombie lacked is that survivor aspect. It merely becomes a chase. But it works in the context of the movie, because most of the characters have an impenetrable safe zone (the US fleet and Jerusalem). Merely having slow-moving zombies or sprinting zombies would have ended this movie in an hour.
RANDOM ISSUES AND TIDBITS
*On the US Atlantic fleet where the refugees were, the higher-ups were complaining about the lack of supplies and the need to relocate people because of this. However, in the cafeteria, people are getting full-course meals. If my memory serves me right, they had two pieces of corn, two pieces of toast, some vegetables, meat, mashed potatoes, and soup. A soldier next to Gerry’s wife told her that because of the huge amount of people, there isn’t much to eat for everybody–then he dumps a boatload of mashed potatoes in his fully-loaded plate. Gerry’s wife also has this full-course meal.
Seriously. If people are complaining of the lack of supplies, why not ration it? That’s actually the first rule on any disaster, when you have limited supplies and a lot of mouths to feed. Even if you have supplies that can last you a year–you ration it so not only everybody gets to eat, but to possibly extend the instances that you can eat. A person could live with the soup, toast, and veggies as the minimum; adding the meat would be the ideal; and when you add one piece of corn, it’ already an extravagant meal.
*That scientist Harvard guy, dubbed as humanity’s last hope. He gave an amazing long-winded speech about mother nature and the virus, while being smug and sounding like a complete wacko. His death was one of the funniest scenes ever.
*The captain who was in charge of the refueling. While he was going all Rambo, he got bit and decides to commit suicide instead of turning to a zombie. It was a great and noble act…only he didn’t detach that fuel line before killing himself. There were only three people in Gerry’s group, so one had to detach the fuel line and sacrifice himself. It could have been avoided if the captain remembered his job!
*The main cause of Jerusalem’s downfall are a bunch of people randomly and suddenly singing with a loudspeaker near the walls. Where coincidentally, is where the zombies are. Jerusalem was on a lock-down, everything was in military order, but they let some random civilians sing when they are still not in the city proper itself? Seriously, when it comes to processing, keep them quiet, and let them sing once they are actually really inside and safe. Also, when the zombies were scaling the walls, there were no air support that spotted it. Few minutes before that, there were a lot of helicopters patrolling the wall. What happened to that?
Recommendation: Watch it. It’s enjoyable at the very least.