Monday, 30 September 2013

World War Z



Seven out of ten zombies. 
Click to see why




Last night I watched World War Z, the Brad Pitt zombie movie that was released earlier in the year. I seem to remember when it came out there were a lot of lacklustre reviews, people bad-mouthing the CGI, and saying the film didn't compare well to the source material; the book of the same name. I haven't read the book so on that front I can't comment, but with the movie itself I was pleasantly surprised. 
I was expecting it to be a bit on the slow side, after the reviews I expected an understated horror, more suspense than full out action, but it was pretty non-stop from start to finish. I found the zombies genuinely scary; they looked creepy, were fast (can't abide a slow zombie, bores the life out of me), and they made weird, alien noises that reminded me a little bit of the velociraptors in Jurassic Park - but in a good way. 
Something else I liked was the fact that bitten people were infected fast, in a creepy doll countdown near the beginning we see someone turn in around twelve seconds before he's up and joining in the feeding frenzy. This incredibly quick turnaround meant that quiet scenes could flip to all out mayhem in a matter of minutes, which I think was a great idea, it meant that nowhere was ever safe. Another result of this fast infection rate were zombie swarms. This was something I remember people particularly sneering at when the trailer for the movie first came out, saying the CG didn't work, but I really liked it, particularly the massive scale of the zombies swarming over the walls of Jerusalem. 


Which brings me to travel. There is a lot of travelling in this movie; it's very much about a character on a quest to find the source of the outbreak and hopefully a cure. The action begins in Philadelphia, then moves to New Jersey. From there to South Korea, Jerusalem and finally... Cardiff.  >.<  That made me chuckle, the sudden unexpected mention of a city less that thirty miles away from me, after the big dramatic set piece that was Jerusalem, onto our little Welsh capital. I then remembered that part being filmed in Scotland, and was a bit miffed that I knew it wasn't really Wales. 

Characters 

Gerry Lane

I liked Brad Pitt's character Gerry, though I was a bit confused exactly why they needed him. His entry into the main plot is that as a former UN investigator he is needed to escort virologist Dr Fassbach around the world in search of patient zero. Their first port of call is an American military base in South Korea, and they are flown in with a cadre of troops as bodyguards. This means that Fassbach has protection, and has a destination, so why exactly does he need Gerry?! There were a couple of poor reasons thrown in, none of which I felt really cut it. 

Dr Andrew Fassbach

Onto the young but brilliant Dr Fassbach. Spoiler alert here, but within minutes of landing the guy manages to accidentally shoot himself in the head, and it's bye bye genius scientist. This annoyed me. I get that he had to die to up the ante, but why so soon? Before we give a shit about him, before we came to believe he could actually save the world. No, instead he gives a creepy sociopath style speech comparing Mother Nature to a serial killer, and then is no more. Personally I think it would have been far better to have him in the story longer, make us know him and care about him, and then pop him off. Killing him around mid way through the film, when we get to Jerusalem would have been much more effective. 

The Lane Family

Not a fan of Gerry's kids, specifically the oldest daughter, who really irritated me. Yes, I know she's in shock and all that but I really didn't care about her. Also not keen on Gerry's wife Karin, though I can't quite put my finger on why. Was it the ill-timed phone call that almost doomed her husband? No, that was Gerry's fault for not putting the damn thing on silent. Perhaps I found her a bit passive, I can't recall her really putting up much of a fight, except right at the beginning when she kicks a zombie who's trying to chew on her husband's face. 
Possibly I wanted her to be more badass. More like Segen. 

Segen. Just Segen. Like Madonna.

The character of Segen seemed to sidle into the story whilst I wasn't looking, she was just one in a number of faceless troops, who then exploded into the forefront with guns blazing, and I immediately liked her. Here was a lady not about to run screaming, or become a damsel in distress in need of saving. Sure she had her moments of weakness, but did it stop her fighting? Did it hell. 

You, sir, need a mint. And badly.

All in all a pretty good movie, a lot of good effects, and an engaging story. The zombies didn't give me nightmares, so maybe they weren't intense enough for some people, but I thought they were spot on. 
World War Z, I give you seven zombies out of ten. 

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