Saturday, November 23, 2013


The Walking Dead is one of my favorite shows of all time. My daughter and I sit next to one another each Sunday night with hairs raised at what might happen to Ranger Rick and his posse of Zombie Survivalists. It's groundbreaking t.v and also the dream of every fan boy and girl who digs the zombie scene. I'm not completely sure about this but I want to say that Zach Snyder's unnerving remake of Dawn of the Dead and Danny Boyle's genre altering 28 Days Later paved the way for THE WALKING DEAD and now....The Star Wars of zombie flicks....WORLD WAR Z. I am ever intrigued by the growth of the zombie as a marquee monster and must admit after seeing a swarming horde of them creating a "corpse tower" on the t.v spots and trailer...there's was no way that I would not see this movie opening day. The true hero of World War Z on and off the camera is Brad Pitt. Pitt is convincing and likable as U.N investigator, Gerry Lane. He is also a brave, accomplished yet reluctant action hero who knows that stakes are high and the world has begun to unravel. Pitt puts this movie on his shoulders and while I will never be convinced that he's some kind of mental marvel in any role he plays...he gives this character the right energy needed for a viewer to connect. The first scene involves what can only be described as a zombie tidal wave in the middle of downtown Philly. Lane is in the car with his family stuck in a hellatious traffic jam when he starts to notice people driving the opposite way against traffic. A policeman on motorcycle knocks off his rear view mirror as he hastily speeds by Lane's car with no intention of stopping to apologize or explain. Soon we see helicopters soaring overhead towards some unseen altercation or dilemma in the distance. You can imagine what comes next; I won't ruin it but I will say I was captivated by this opening scene and it was a fresh angle on the zombie as the antagonist. The logic of the zombie, how it infects and how the horde works together was spooky. The rest of the first act involves Lane surviving the literal collapse of Philadelphia under the weight of this zombie outbreak and getting his family to a safe haven.

Lane's status as a U.N worker saves his ass and his family. They are whisked off to a military flotilla somewhere in the Atlantic just as a frenzied horde of "undead" storm an apartment building they were hiding in. Once aboard an aircraft carrier, Gerry is asked to join the operation to discover what has caused this morbid epidemic that seems to be spreading globally. His wife says no but he explains that they will all have to exit the aircraft carrier and return to Philadelphia if he doesn't cooperate.This makes sense and as Lane joins a group of Navy Seals and a wunderkind scientist who just may have the answers to this pandemic...we begin to see the semblance of a plan and the global reach of this problem. This is where things start to come apart for me. The U.N team and the Seals fly to Korea to investigate Patient other words the first is here where a crucial element of the plot is revealed and thus paves the way to a solution at the film's climax. It's right at this point where I begin to realize this movie is PG 13. Not that I necessarily have a gripe about that but it's kind of hard to do a gripping Zombie flick without getting some guts and gore on your hands. The "sanitized" zombie uprising of World War Z is still a palatable thrill ride that crisscrosses the globe as Lane learns the secret of the outbreak. Before it's all said and done...Lane witnesses a zombie horde overtake Jerusalem, sees a jumbo jet fuselage ripped to shreds by a mid-air outbreak and then climaxes in an eerie showdown with infected scientists in Wales at the offices of the World Health Organization.

Zombies are interesting to me. The influx of zombie product seems like it may be prophetic or telling in some way about our current times and that we all may be soon turning in to some ravenous, cannibalistic cipher...swarming brainlessly with an unaccounted for rage and hunger. Maybe this kind of movie is a sign of the times. As I was munching popcorn and swigging cherry coke I tried to purge any profound thoughts about anything other than the fact that World War Z was just plain fun. It was one of my guilty pleasures of the summer...along with Pacific Rim. I hear many fans of the novel decrying World War Z the motion picture as being an alternate take on the source material and unfaithful to elements of the book. If that is true then I look forward to reading the book. We now have a riveting film about a global zombie epidemic and a book that you can read to further delineate that universe. Win/Win.



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