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Monday, September 9, 2013

Monday Movie Mania - World War Z

After the packing, the hot water heater situation, the car brakes going kaput, I FINALLY got to see World War Z, THE movie I wanted to see this summer. Because, you know, ZOMBIES!


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SPOILERS FOR BOTH THE BOOK AND THE MOVIE


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First off, I loved the book! I was a little pissed off because Max Brooks would have been pitching it at the same time I was pitching Zombie Love, and all these agents and editors told me, "Zombie aren't marketable."

I didn't hold it against Max. Not HIS fault. If you haven't read it, the book is about a journalist collecting survivors' stories ten years AFTER the zombie apocalypse, and he pieces together a fuller account of, well, basically the destruction of the world as we know it.

Frankly, I wasn't sure how that would play as a summer blockbuster. And I was right. Other than the name and, well, zombies, there's not a whole lot in common.

Brad Pitt plays Gerry a former trouble-shooter for the U.N. He's living quietly in Philly with his wife and two daughters (major kudos for not making it fucking Manhattan) when the zombie outbreak hits the city. In the resulting chaos, Gerry and family flee to Newark, NJ (another plus in the not-obvious-setting category), where they become trapped.

A Hispanic family gives them shelter for the night. Gerry manages to contact his U.N. buds and a chopper is on its way. The other dad refuses to let his family go with Gerry's. (Negative points in the stereotypical portrayal of macho Hispanic male stupidity and more negative points in the "You know what's going to happen next" category.)

Hispanic parents are eaten. Little boy flees with Gerry and family to an aircraft carrier and its escort fleet off the coast of New York. The American brass and the remainder of the U.N. have an uneasy truce. The science team on board believes the zombies are the result of a viral infection, and they need to find the source to develop a vaccine. Gerry is given the choice of helping the virologist or his family gets kicked off the carrier. The rest of the movie turns into a race to find a possible cure.

Pluses
- This is the year for some kickass women. Gerry saves the life of a female Israeli soldier named Segen by chopping off her hand after its been bitten. Despite being one-handed through the rest of the movie, she saves Gerry's ass time and time again.

- Gerry realizes the zombies are avoiding diseased humans, which sets up, not a cure, but a way for the non-infected populace ti fight without putting themselves in danger.

- The movie's cast and crew did a wonderful job of creating the horror of the situation without a ton of blood and gore. Seriously, there's less gore in the entire movie than there is in five minutes of The WALKING DEAD.

- The action scenes were realistic. Gerry and anyone around him suffers real damage from the incidents in the story. None of this "twenty bullets and it's just a flesh wound" crap.

- The behavior of the zombies was freaking cool! One of the reasons I wanted to see this was this insect-like behavior of the zombies in the trailers. Not the typical argument of slow vs. fast zombies. This more like getting attacked by a swarm of giant bees!

Minuses
- There some things you just don't do, like giving a loaded pistol to an inexperienced dork who has no respect for firearms. When the virologist panics and shoots himself by accident during a zombie attack, I laughed my ass off. It's a wonder that the five other people in the theater didn't call security.

- The pacing was off. Rather than a complete story, it felt like the first act of a three-act play. I'd avoided most articles and news pieces over the summer because I hate spoilers. But apparently, there was some major push-and-shove between Pitt and his production team and Paramount. The studio shut down development of the trilogy because of cost overruns. Of course, Paramount changed their minds at the end of June when the movie crossed the $1 billion mark worldwide. Even with this information in mind, the movie still feels vaguely disappointing. I'll probably pick up the movie when it comes out on Blu-Ray to see if I can put a finger on what's bothering me.

- The Hispanic dad as I mentioned above.

- Brad modeling his character too closely to his real-life family was a little--icky. I don't read the Brangelina crap in the tabloids for a reason.

Overall, I'd give this movie a 7 out of 10.

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