21 September 2013

September 21st

World War Z (2013) directed by Marc Forster
I wonder if this film marks the end -- or the beginning of the end -- of the current zombie cycle?  I figure this cycle began 11 years ago with 28 Days Later, and was reinforced by Shaun of the Dead and the Dawn of the Dead remake in 2004.  Since then, zombies have been the belle of the monster ball in pop culture, exploding into toys and video games and TV shows and zombie walks and commercials.  Here we have a big-budget, Hollywood-style, PG-13-rated, Brad Pitt-starring zombie move.  That sounds like the death knell of an idea's popularity to me; once something is completely mainstreamed, it tends to lose its rebellious luster and we look for other things to latch onto.

Given that, I wasn't going into the movie expecting much.  And, it's pretty much exactly the film I expected: super-dad Brad Pitt single-handedly saves the world after wading through masses of zombies whose feeding habits are always tastefully just out of frame.  It's not as cheezy of an end-of-the-world movie as 2012 or Independence Day, but it's in the same family.

Not that the movie is without merit.  I found the beginning of the film to be intense.  It was probably a parental reaction, but Pitt trying to get his family through the chaos of the world ending got my blood pumping and my brain musing as to what I would do it that situation.  Had the film stayed with this personal, on-the-ground approach -- just a man fighting the hordes of the living and dead to protect his family -- this could've been a favorite.  World War Z was also the first zombie movie to truly capture how a horde of zombies can be a force of nature.  The waves of dead people seem more like ants on a warpath, crawling over each other, scrambling off buildings, as unstoppable as the ocean.  These CGI zombies never look completely convincing, but at least they're doing things I've never seen before in a zombie movie.

What was with the political commentary in the Israel segment?  The Israelis build a wall to keep out the zombies, but allow the Palestinians to take refuge inside.  Once inside, the noise the Palestinians make singing (a religious song? I have no idea) attracts the zombies and leads to the breaching of the walls.  Right.  So, letting "those people" inside to express their culture will bring about the downfall of society, is that it?  I'm not sure what this stuff is doing in this particular film.

Forget slow versus fast zombies.  I think the new zombie debate should be over zombie vocalizations.  What the hell is it lately with zombies making Jurassic Park raptor sounds?  It sounds ridiculous.  If you were dead, would you be constantly scream-hissing?  I don't think so.  "Grooooaaan."  That's what zombies say.

Watched: blu-ray from Paramount.

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