World War Z (Marc Forster, 2013)

What's it about? Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), a retired UN investigator, is forced into action again when a mysterious viral pandemic breaks out across the world, turning people into zombies and resulting in a Zombie War. Based on the novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks. Except it's not really.



Is it any good? It's a bit like the zombies featured in the film; a pretty twitchy, disjointed affair, lacking a basic intelligence, but fast-moving and energetic enough to warrant keeping an eye on it. However, fans of the book will be sorely disappointed to find most of the good ideas have been largely ignored. Whereas the novel featured several overlapping accounts from various characters about their experiences during the Zombie War, the film prefers to follow one character (Gerry) during the initial outbreak and subsequent escalation of the crisis. As such, it loses most of the scope and originality of the source, and whilst the scenes of mass panic and zombie attacks are well realized,and there's a bit of globe-trotting involved to justify the title, there's nothing here you won't have seen in previous zombie flicks, or indeed in virus films like Contagion and Outbreak. The troubled production and shoot is also hinted at in the choppy storytelling, particularly as it rushes headlong like a demented zombie to an climax that seems tacked-on from another film entirely. All in all, it's not totally brain-dead, but must go down as wasted opportunity to add something new to the walking dead genre.


I don't trust you. What do others think? In the aftermath of the film's release, I travelled to meet with those who had survived the experience to try and understand what sort of impression the film had made. I have attempted to reserve judgment, or commentary of any kind, and if there is a human factor that should be removed, let it be my own. 


XTRAVISION DVD STORE, IRELAND
[Several approaches were made to patrons of the local Xtravision to garner their opinion on the film. Although initially reluctant to talk, one lady eventually relented and offered these thoughts, along with her wallet. Her cries for help have been removed from the transcript.]
"Look, mister. The film was fine, I just wanted to see if Brad still looked hot, and to be honest I thought he had aged a bit. Now, back off, or I'll tazer the balls of you"

PYONGYANG, NORTH KOREA
[The Fast Picture Show's travel budget was blown on a trip to North Korea to ascertain how Kim Jong-un had reacted to the film's depiction of his country's response to the Zombie crisis, which involved removing the teeth of all its inhabitants so they could not pass the infection through biting. He was in a jovial mood when I met with him at his rather humble home.]
"It's a great idea. I usually don't like American films, except for the Twilight films obviously, but I must confess this set me thinking in a couple of different directions. I'm tabling the teeth removal plan at my next committee meeting. Better safe than sorry, I say.]

BEVERLY HILLS, CALIFORNIA, USA
[Producer-star Brad Pitt was keen to offer his thoughts on the final product from a troubled shoot and invited me to his home, where his wife Angelina Jolie kept us company during the interview]
"It wasn't quite what I'd hoped for but I'm proud of the final film, especially since.......Angelina! Can you please stop kissing him? Yes, I know he's hot, but there's a time and a place, you know? Hi! Get off him!"

Me and Zeke at the CDC
CDC QUARANTINE FACILITY, ATLANTA, USA
[An interview with a real live (some might say dead) zombie, affectionately called 'Zeke' by those who care for him in between experimenting on him. I was keen to see if he felt his side of the story had been properly represented.]
"GggnnaarRRRRRRRRRRAaarrrrRRrrrrrnnnnnnnnnnnnngggggggggggggggghhhhhh!"


ARNOLD'S DRIVE-IN, MILWAUKEE, WISCONSIN
[Arthur 'Fonzie' Fonzarelli greets me with a enthusiastic thumbs-up and an extra long Aaeeyyyyy when I step into the diner. He adjusts his stance, combs his hair and prepares to deliver his verdict.] 
What does the Fonz think? "Not so much World War Z as Day of the Brad."




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