Sunday, June 23, 2013

World War Z

With last night's Zombie rules post conveniently available to explain my terms, let's first get one thing straight about World War Z:  It is not a zombie film.  It is a hybrid zombie film, part apocalyptic medical epidemic thriller and part zombie flick.  This distinction is vital, and the sooner you accept it, the sooner you'll be able to accept and even enjoy the movie's take on zombies.

For these are very special zombies indeed.  They run.  Boy, do they run.  These suckers are fast.  They leap like long-jump contestants.  They climb, particularly over one another.  They're attracted to loud noises.  There are people they won't eat.  These hybrid zombies are some scary critters. 

Having made all those zombie customizations, the World War Z gang then play the rest of the movie straight up, no humor, all horror, and lots of the emotions you would expect people to feel should a zombie uprising occur.  Brad Pitt never smirks; this is serious shit, and he wants us to know it.  I appreciated that quite a bit, because it both helped maintain the tension and was nice to see in a big-budget Hollywood zombie flick. 

The cast around Pitt, the vast majority of whom I don't recall seeing before, also play it straight, so that everyone we meet is genuinely having a hard time with the new reality.

Pitt's character is a bit of a stretch, a man who is some vague sort of U.N. special investigator who's been in bad places and knows his way around a gun but who otherwise is only occasionally the sort of bad-ass you'd expect him to be.  Fortunately, the movie's pacing is fast enough that his nebulous credentials bother you only occasionally.

I don't want to spoil the plot for you any more than the earlier hints already have, so I won't go into the story itself beyond saying that within its rules it does a reasonable job of being self-consistent.

Though World War Z wasn't a pure zombie film, I enjoyed it quite a bit and recommend it.

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