World War Z

I managed to fit watching World War Z  into my busy schedule, and it was a kind of weird experience. I was torn between being repulsed by it (I’m not a fan of this type of movie genre to begin with, i.e., horror/zombie films) and yet having to see what happens.

The plot is simple–and, I think, obvious enough from the trailer: Humanity is under siege and has all but collapsed. Most of humankind becomes infected at a dizzying speed with a horrifying super-virus that spreads like wildfire and zombifies people. Zombie victims become strictly host vehicles that the virus uses to spread itself. And it does so through ferocious initial attacks upon uninfected victims. But then it also instinctively organizes infected carriers into ever larger packs that spread the disease with even more frenzied mob attacks. The zombies once infected and with no nearby visible uncontaminated hosts to infect, shift gears into a kind of shambling dormant state and leave each other alone. The virus then idly bides its time.

Only a tiny sliver of a percentage of humanity is immune–if they can avoid being mauled, of course.

Some of the scenes of zombie mobs are actually pretty impressive. A huge zombie mob chaining themselves like ants to form a bridge over the Jerusalem wall was particularly memorable.

Brad Pitt does his usual good acting job as the hero, Gerry Lane. It’s mostly physical acting, which he does well. His character Gerry used to work for the United Nations as a liaison to dangerous world hotspots. He was an investigator. In light of this Doomsday scenario he is brought out of retirement.

There is also a particularly good supporting performance by Daniella Kertesz as an Israeli soldier who aids Gerry. I will keep an eye out for her in future roles.

There are a few things that strain credulity story-wise even when we take the tale on its own terms. For example, how has electricity in the WHO facility stayed on with no one (who isn’t undead) left to run power plants in the countryside? In Jerusalem, how is it that no one but Gerry seems to have figured out that the zombies are attracted by loud noise? Why in the world would Gerry leave his crowbar outside the lab door when he makes it to a particularly important destination at the WHO facility?

But those relative nitpicks aside, the movie actually surprised me by succeeding in being a lot more suspenseful than I expected. I figured that in a film like this Gerry has to triumph. But nevertheless the film did manage to keep me on the edge of my seat quite a bit of the time.

If you are looking for a classic zombie film experience, or a smarter scif-fi oriented story like The Andromeda Strain  then this film may disappoint you. But if you like your zombies full of manic piss and vinegar, and a fairly gripping plot about how to survive their onslaught, then I don’t think you will feel you have completely wasted your time if you decide to watch World War Z.  It is free for Amazon Prime subscribers.

World War Z

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