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World War Z. Brad Pitt, zombies, action…great, campy combination. It all starts out in Philadelphia traffic, which is devastating enough, during a period of martial law, which isn’t devastating all...in this film. It’s devastating in the truther conspiracy world where martial law brings about a police state, strict curfew, unlimited surveillance, and Fema camps. But it’s all hunky dory in this film, daddy makes his kids breakfast in your perfect suburban home. It’s what happens when he sees a man pounding on someone’s car window then attacks the driver inside, that is devastating. No, he doesn’t have an extreme form of road rage, he has turned into a zombie, and turns anyone be bites into a zombie…kind of like a vampire, but not sexy.
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Soon, our protagonist, Gerry Lane, finds himself running away from an entire city which has turned into a swamp of zombies because this is the apocalypse and we are the aliens. We are destroying ourselves, not a group of little grey or large green men from another dimension. We are the enemy. I like the fact that this movie sources from different conspiracies. In this case a virus created in a laboratory to inevitably affect the global population in a lethal manner, as I’ll discuss later. It’s only convenient, I suppose, that he works for the U.N., so he, his family, and a token child whose parents turned into zombies, are able to escape the city and remain uninfected by the zombie virus.
After Brad Pitt sets up his wife, and now three children, in an aircraft carrier out in the middle of the ocean somewhere, he goes on a mission to find the original host of the zombie virus in the hopes of finding a cure, and saving the world from the zombie apocalypse. He ends up in Israel, the only safe haven on planet earth, other than the ocean, that has found a way to keep out the zombies- build a super tall wall that they can’t climb over. However, even Israel can’t withstand the onslaught of zombies and soon succumbs to their invasion.
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While Lane is fleeing the swarm of zombies running after him like a group of horny fans, he briefly looks over his shoulder, and observes a Buddhist monk who is surrounded by zombies, but isn’t infected with the virus. They’re also not attacking him. This is Gerry Lane’s big “Ah ha!” moment, because he realizes that these picky eaters don’t attack people who are already sick, no. And he surmises that the zombies won’t attack him if he is injected with a particular virus. Where did I see that scenario before? Oh yeah, Pacific Rim, when the scientist formed a neural bridged with a Kaiju brain which makes him invisible to the Kaiju. But it could also be inspired by the current cancer breakthrough which uses the HIV virus to kill cancer cells.
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On his way to the pharmaceutical company with his female Israeli soldier sidekick, Segen, what should happen on the plane but a sudden outbreak of the zombie virus? You know that baby’s going down! He clearly can seem to get a break, but he also has unusually good luck because both he and Segen are still alive when the plane crashes, and the plane lands near the pharmaceutical company that manufactured the zombie virus. Rather convenient. However, Segen has to get him to the pharmaceutical company right away because part of the airplane’s seat has punctured through his side. Does he quit his quest to save mankind and die somewhere? No. He’s singularly determined to save mankind, as well as himself, so he agonizingly makes his way to the pharmaceutical company.
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Yes, he survives. When he gets there, the pharmaceutical company extracts the metal from his hip and he heals in no time. Now he has the opportunity to inject himself with a disease, but there is just one problem -the laboratory, which holds the specific injection that he’s looking for, is filled with doctors who became zombies. So now he has to navigate the pass them to get to the room with the injection. Which he does successfully, of course, and injects himself with the virus while a zombie, who is chomping his teeth at him, looks on from outside the room. Which is the comical part of the movie, like the comic foil, if you will. You can tell it’s an actor having fun playing the role, but that’s ok, because the movie’s too serious anyway and the audience needed a good laugh.
Despite all the negative expectations concerning this film…the constant rewriting of scripts, the growing budget, and the expectation that it wouldn’t come out at all, this film was really good. I felt that the script was well written. In fact, its storyline is a complete departure from the novel, but that’s also ok, because it’s interesting. People who have read the book, though, are disappointed with the film because, they say, World War Z only uses the title of the book and the scriptwriters took far too many liberties with the storyline. Perhaps the problem lies with having five scriptwriters in the first place.
As for the characters, I really didn’t feel connected to any of them, except for Gerry Lane, who monopolizes the movie. There was so much action and such little drama, you really couldn’t connect with any of the characters…except Gerry Lane. What about the Mexican family? Nope, they become zombies within a few minutes. What about his family? Usually one family member accompanies the protagonists throughout the movie, but not this time. What about Segen? No, she almost says nothing at all. What about the pharmacists? There are far too many of them and you only see them for a few brief minutes. No, this is clearly a Brad Pitt movie.
I personally don’t know whether or not I appreciate the fact that the screen writers took liberties with the zombies, though, and liberties they took. These are not your mama’s slow moving, fleshing eating zombies. These zombies are quite agile-marathon runners who bite people and have the mental acuity to form a pyramid with their bodies so they can breach Israel’s walls. You don’t want to mess with these zombies!
All, in all, the film was very good. It did it have its holes, and probably more than I mentioned. But that doesn’t take away from the fact the storyline is very original, which in itself is a breath of fresh air, considering that fact that theaters are inundated with remakes.