Plot: A zombie outbreak occurs in several cities around the world. It’s somehow up to Brad Pitt to save the world.
• This is an adaption from Max Brooks’ book of the same name – which is absolutely nothing like it, aside from a worldwide zombie apocalypse happening. The book is written after the apocalypse, a collection of passages written by many different people describing the effect on society, politics, religion etc.
• This big-budget action-horror was produced by Brad Pitt’s film studio and stars himself. He beat out DiCaprio’s company in the bidding. It’s release was delayed; the script was finished by different writers and ended up costing $190 million.
• Pitt plays Gerry Lane, a former UN investigator that travels around the world to meet various people, and uncover the source of the infection (ie the exposition). Why him and not someone more qualified, I don’t know. I also don’t know why he couldn’t just ring these people.
• He’s forced into finding Patient Zero/a solution as his family are used as leverage. He rings them between locations – it’s shit and only slows down the plot. The forced “they’ve been moved to a less safer place” plot device turns out be garbage.
• World War Z felt like it was missing some parts but it was edited well enough to be a whole story. (Did Pitt’s daughter having an asthma attack add anything? Alternate stories include the wife consenting to sex with Matthew Fox’s character, the helicopter para jumper, which is why a big actor seemingly only had 5 lines of dialogue. There was also no Airplane zombie scene – Pitt lands in Russia, is forced into the Russian zombie clearing squad, gets a call from Fox and makes he way back to America for his wife; leaving the film open for a supposed trilogy.)
• 3D is superfluous. It must be post-converted (i.e. the crap kind), as it’s not shot to add anything specifically for 3D, just a higher ticket price.
• Zombies are like 28 Days later: rabid, fast running and smart enough. It’s a high budget film but the tech just isn’t (wasn’t?) there to make masses of zombies look good – they run in packs and the CG is very ‘watery’ making the mass of zombies ‘flow’ down streets.
• Resi Remake Rules: shooting them slows them down, in the head stops them, gotta burn the bodies to completely kill them. Nice.
• Best line is Pitt being shown an axe and a baseball bat, and told “there are merits to each”. This is a reference to Max Brooks’ prior book, the Zombie Survival Guide (which is great btw)
• Morality trope: the family that took them in high-tail it without them, and get attacked by zombies.
• In Israel, they’ve built a massive wall for safety (like the Chinese and the Goddamn Mongolians!) Here we see the big set piece from the trailer, thousands of zombies pile-on to climb the wall and get the humans. Great stuff! Really impressive co-ordination from the undead.
• We see if immediate amputation can counteract being bit.
• Another fun set-piece, they get on a plane, you’d never guess what’s in the toilet! Also, trying to make a wall out of luggage to keep back the zombies, as well as throwing a grenade inside a plane. All of it awesome. Brad Pitt is exceptionally lucky to survive a plane crash, no seat belt or anything!
• Ach, there’s almost no gore. This is a PG-13 film. Amputations don’t have the expected accompanying sound or blood as the arm is generally off-screen or shot quickly. Pitt said he wanted to make a horror film his kids could see.
• Action set pieces:
Getting fuel into airplane at night/rain (meh)
Israel wall (short but some cool shots)
CDC collect viral samples (really enjoyable – also thanks for making it a tense corridor gauntlet instead of another boring zombie pile-on sequence. They made the right choice scrapping the Russia 3rd act.)
• I love the thinking-it-out approach to exposition, theory and test – perhaps if you were to become diseased, the zombies would ignore you, like biological camouflage!
• Just once I’d like people to watch where they’re stepping! COME ON! Your life depends on it!
Overall: The film’s logic is a bit wobbley and the wife is quite annoying, but I quite enjoyed this zombie flick, particularly the final jaunt in the CDC. Recommend! (in 2D)