Sunday, 8 September 2013

World War Z (UK/US 2013)

Or as I like to call it, a Resident Evil reboot. Based on a popular novel I've never read or heard of before this film came out so I can't compare. The big question for me is can this zombie thriller differ in any way from the myriad of other zombie flicks that have saturated the genre?

The film doesn't hang around, straight away we meet Pitt and his lovable family in Philadelphia. After a brief getting to the know the characters moment we are hit hard in the face with an all out zombie attack as panic and mayhem ensues. From this point on there is a breathless escape scenario as Pitt and his family desperately search for a way out and a safe house. Eventually they reach it in a tower block, of course this is only temporary as the zombies attack once again and Pitt must lead his family to the buildings roof for an evac by chopper.

Its at this point in the film I suddenly realised I was watching a brief 'Aliens' rip. The whole sequence from within the building with the red lighting, metal framework of the building interior, the dialog and even the music and sound effects, is quite familiar to various action sequence snippets in the Cameron epic. The whole scenario is a tense and sweaty affair no doubt about that.

I was still game for this though, originality zero, OK no problem, I saw it coming obviously. Then I started to think, why are these military types going all out purely to save Pitt? this guy is merely a UN investigator, what about everyone else?? This notion follows through most of the film, everybody seems to be going out of their way to protect Pitt everywhere he goes, never mind their own men or civvies, just protect Pitt, get Pitt to da chopper!! OK this guy is a good investigator but when the shit hits the fan in zombieland surely its every man for himself at some point, don't go getting your ass bitten to save Pitt.

So the plot is simply Pitt must globe trot to find a cure for this zombie infection. Yep that's right Pitt jumps around the world as if there was no flight time in between. Pitt is sent to Korea with a team of SEALs which actually turns out to be four men, really just four? there he finds a CIA op in jail, but why is he locked up still? what's the point? surely you need every man. This guy tells him that Israel knew all about the infection, so why didn't he just tell other people about this too?

So off we go to Israel where they have built a huge wall to keep zombies out. They did this on the basis of an intercepted communication from India saying troops were fighting zombies. So let me get this straight, Mossad over hears this communication about 'spirits of the dead' and decide to build a huge wall to stop the infection of which they have no proof of, just this radio message which could mean anything. Jumping to conclusions much? Then on top of that they start using the loudspeakers within the quarantined area which attracts the zombies (sounds attract them, for some reason) and cause them to act like ants and climb all over each other creating a massive zombie ladder to overcome the wall. So that was the very first time they used those speakers ever? the zombies were never attracted before? just the minute Pitt conveniently turns up, wow! this guy is a jinx.

A bit later on Pitt cuts off a female Israeli soldiers hand then later on dresses it, surely he should of put something in her mouth to stop her biting her own tongue open from pain? no? ah well. This happens on board an airliner which they escape Israel on but ends up crashing in Wales. Completely obliterated no survivors...accept Pitt and the girl soldier, lucky huh. From here on we get towards the finale based in a medical research centre in Wales which is quite good I admit. Although the way they learn to beat the zombies (for the time being) is hard to believe. Zombies don't attack sick/ill people? how can they tell?

Don't get me wrong this film isn't a bad film, it does the zombie thing but with a lot of gloss n polish, this is a proper big budget zombie flick with Brad Pitt. if you put aside the complete lack of originality, the film is a thumping tense ride once the zombies start pouring onto the screen and biting everybody, I can't deny that. Everything looks damn slick n crisp with some awesome aerial shots of overrun infested cities/towns/areas etc...the film looks good. That is until you see some of the CGI, in places it looks good, but in most other places it looks obvious, lots of CGI zombies bouncing all over and getting crushed or whatever. The zombie anthill is the films money shot for sure.

The film did give me chill at times, always the same with zombie flicks. Those sequences where people are escaping to a certain point or vehicle and that moment when one of the team gets taken down just before reaching safety. Then the survivors watch from their safe vantage point (usually best when flying away so you get that classic aerial shot of the ground) and see the carnage they have managed to escape from. Level complete, next level, objective...survive the same ordeal all over again in a different location.

The film is a zombie infestation flick so I didn't expect much, its well made with high production values but end of the day its just full of silly plot issues. Acting is fair but nothing special, Pitt is totally miscast (this is what happens when these companies owned by big stars secure the film rights), the man just sticks out like a sore thumb. I have no idea if this is as good as the book, I've heard its not very accurate, but really I'm just more surprised at the fact this film actually did well! All the other flops this year and this did well? go figure.