Monday, November 18, 2013

World War Z (2013)

Time for my occasional movie review!

I saw World War Z last night, and wow, did it shatter my already low expectations. The film had many problems, so I’m going to limit myself and only talk about a few of them.

As a zombie film, it totally misses the point. The entire creeping dread of a world going “zombie” doesn’t work if people turn 12 seconds after being infected. That movie, involving living monsters, was called 28 Days Later. An incubation period that short leads to an entirely different style of film, not a classic zombie movie. The 12 second incubation would also curb any possible spread of the virus worldwide on normal aircraft. While I believe I did see a zombie driving a garbage truck, I’m reasonably sure they can’t pilot aircraft. Let that sink in, a zombie was driving a frigging truck.

Now, before someone pops in to defend it, I heard the line of dialogue where the incubation period was at first a few hours, or minutes. If the virus is adapting and changing that rapidly, then sign off on the Earth, cause messiah Brad Pitt’s “fix” isn’t going to work.

One of the most haunting aspects of a good zombie story is the knowledge that these monsters were once people. Usually, a good, slow turn gets the point across nicely, but seeing zombies in their un-agitated state does it too. Normal clothes and surroundings can hint at the average life each zombie once led. This movie avoids that thought at all costs. In an attempt to hold a foolish PG-13 rating, the zombies never have any personality. They are chomping, leaping images created by a computer. They act more like angry frogs than any zombies I’ve ever seen. Hell, if you are doing fast zombies, you might as well put some chubby people in there, the zombies don’t all have to be marathoners if they are CGI anyway!

So those are some generic complaints on the lack of zombie-ness in the movie. Now the specifics.

Brad Pitt is the only person in the world with a functioning brain, eyes, and ears. No one, not even trained scientists or political leaders are capable of putting simple facts together. Nope, the world’s only and best hope is an unemployed pancake maker who thinks stacking suitcases in front a curtain will stop a horde of zombies.

Rarely have I seen a movie that so gleefully exists just for the main character. Convoluted, moronic set pieces await Brad Pitt all over the world. Innocent morons waiting to be eaten, zombies capable of jumping up onto helicopters, and more; they are all just waiting for Brad (and the camera man) to arrive so they can get things going. Honestly, the same plot is just repeated around the world: Brad arrives, surveys zombie situation, meets a few bozos, zombies overrun the bozos.

The action is shot with shaky cam. Shaky cam and CGI are a ridiculous mix. The zombies have superpowers that come and go as necessary. The entire world doesn’t take reasonable precautions, even in a zombie apocalypse. I mean, you built a wall to keep the zombies out; wouldn’t you want to keep an eye on it? Or a frigging camera? Who knows when the zombies might get the insane ability to turn into an undead escalator?

This was a good book, people. With great settings, characters, and unique situations that really said something about zombies, and yes, about society. That is what good zombie stories are supposed to do. Author Max Brooks did it. Director Marc Forster couldn’t. As a film, this was amateurish, insultingly stupid, and impotent. As an adaptation of a good book, it is devastatingly inept and ineffectual.

World War Z is POOR.


(And for those of you who liked it, I will try to help you. I’m going to put up a list of GOOD zombie movies so you can compare them.)

1 comment:

Dan Reilly said...

Testify!
I hated this film, for all of the same reasons, and it's nice to see that someone else didn't drink the Kool-Ade. This film sucked.