Last night I went to see Word War Z, toting along with my mother who has recently become a crazed zombie fan thanks to The Walking Dead. Honestly I don’t know if she likes being on-edge every Sunday(?) night or if she has the hots for one of the characters. I know you must think that I am personally crazy if I don’t watch the critically-acclaimed drama about life after zombies. But zombie films do a really good job of either making me laugh, or keeping me on edge for the entirety of the film. The idea that zombies could exist today because of some mad scientist with too much power may or may not give me some serious bouts anxiety. If I don’t watch the movie or TV show, then no anxiety! Makes sense right? It’s not like I don’t watch any zombie films; the 28 franchise gave me a run for my money, I adored Warm Bodies, and Pet Sematary gave me nightmares as a kid.
Now that you know a bit more about your writer, I can get into the actual review and what drew me to the movie. So hold on tight, the satire and symbolism I talk about might create a bumpy ride, but it won’t be all that I talk about.
World War Z delivers all the classic zombie tropes while still making the theater Kegal exercise the shit out of their body. Could it scare a general audience member? Yes. Will classic zombie aficionados (CZA) have anything new to rave about? Most likely not. I can’t speak as a CZA because I don’t watch The Walking Dead or have seen every classic zombie movie created. But I do speak with knowledge of zombie films, what they represent, and the classic tropes that go hand in hand with a zombie film.
If anything I would have to say that World War Z is a nice, blockbusting filler until you’re Walking Dead comes back
out in October. So personally they probably should have released this a few weeks ago to give it a fair run in the box office before Walking Dead has it’s spectacular Season 4 Preview during July 4-7. But it could always go one of two ways, it could hurt the movie in the box office,or help, but only Rotten Tomatoes will know in time. Currently, WWZ is in 3rd place in the office with $29.8 million made, trailing behind Monsters University and The Heat, while being certified fresh.
WWZ is apparently (loosely) based off of the novel with the same name. I haven’t read it, but apparently The Oatmeal has. Our movie’s plot is about Brad Pitt’s character Gerry going back to work for the United Nations to try and find some sort of cure for the zombie pandemic that is swallowing the world up, cities with airports first. Gerry must of recently just quit his job, because the minute all this crazy shit starts happening in New York (I think it’s NY) Gerry is immediately called so a copter can find and rescue his family. (But the UN is really just interested in Gerry, they don’t give no fucks about his wife and two young daughters.)
Anyhoo they convince Gerry to go on this near suicide mission which he at first refuses to do, but after the UN subtly points out that the people on this safe-boat military base are only their to be useful, Gerry changes his mind for his family. Oh, and Tommy, a boy who helped the family take refugee in an apartment in NJ for a night, who will with marry into the family or be adopted. I’m not sure how that plot line would develop in the future after the movie. Gerry then frolics around the world looking for a cure and beating zombies to death. There. That’s the synopsis right there.
What made me actually want to see WWZ was the story line behind the hordes of zombies and how they moved. Which they kind of answer…I mean the movement of the hordes is pretty sweet right? Like you cannot deny those fuckers are scary in the trailer. No? Here I found one for you. You’re welcome.
So the movie itself never really explains why the zombies eventually move in hordes, but the opening credits do. Which was done horrifically well. And that horrific manner isn’t done with blood and guts. It’s much more subtle than that. The opening credits is a whole bunch of cut scenes of classic America today along snip-its of animals and insects. The classic America shots are there to represent how the world was spinning as it does during any normal day. Although, soon the shots show little pieces of chaos here and there. Hushed newscasts that exclaim some sort of rabid break out happening in other corners of the world, and how the US will not stop international flights.
These scenes are juxtaposed to bugs and animals acting normal, but then turning violent. You see a jungle cat attacking its prey and ripping it to shreds. Ant colonies swarming it’s buggy brethren in a near cannibalistic manner. The ants attacking other bugs is the only explanation we have as we see the zombies work together in some sadistic manner by trampling on one another to get to their next healthy victim. Their sea-like horde could be similar to that of an intrusion of cockroaches.
What really makes these seemingly-ordinary opening credits stand out even more is that all of these scenes are shown through sharp fractions of the picture being blurred in the beginning. As if we are looking through a smudgy, dirty window at portions of the prefect American dream constantly moving. Then as the scenes turn anarchic the picture becomes more clear, things are seen for what they truly are. I applaud who ever created the opening credits, it might just be the most profound portion of the film, and the sad thing is, is that many people won’t realize what it represents. The regular movie goer might not truly understand what the beginning credits attribute to the movie, at least not during the first general watch.
The other portion of symbolism, which is near satirical, is when Pitt’s character tells the family which helped them survive that night in the apartment that “Life is movement.” It’s a pivotal quote in the movie as Gerry and his family leave the safety of the apt for the hope of the rescue copter and the head of the helping family decides they will stay behind. That’s all I can talk about for this running theme because if I report any further on the topic I will cross spoiler territory.
Now I promised a list of classic zombie movie tropes used in the film, so here are some classic moments that will make you laugh, frightened, slap your face in disbelief, or nod in approval.
- One of Gerry’s kids has asthma and gets an attack 10 minutes in. Why wouldn’t they include that?
- Gerry wises up and counts how long it takes from being bitten and dead to being infected and undead.
- Gerry chops off an awesome woman soldier’s fore arm which then saves her from becoming infected after being bitten. “How did you know that would work?” she asks. “I didn’t” Gerry replies. I half wish he said “I saw it in a movie once.” Because really that would have been hilarious. They also then cleverly cover up her arm for the rest of the film with a sling.
- The option of self sacrifice from Gerry when he got some of their blood in his mouth. (Gerry’s thoughts: “Maybe watching all of those zombie films actually came in handy!”)
- Gerry’s wife is a dumb ass and calls her husband’s satellite phone some time after their original phone call drops and nearly gets her love killed.
- Oh, another self sacrifice by a military guy who gets bitten because Gerry’s wife calls him back.
- Silly zombie mouth movement that is either supposed to be funny to break the intensity, or supposed to be scary but is instead deliciously humerus. I’m not sure what the writers meant to do with this one.
So that’s everything I think you should know before seeing WWZ, or maybe after you see it. Many people come to my reviews after they see the movie. You should see what my search index is for This is The End. That shit is funny.
Anyways, World War Z delivers in the scare department. And I would be lying if I said I wasn’t on edge during portions of the movie, but I would also be lying if I said I didn’t slap my face in dismayment of some character’s stupidity.
This is how you shouldn’t feel about the movie though, there were only a few slow portions.