First they had a chance to fall in love with humans in Warm Bodies and then they made a Bollywood debut in Go Goa Gone.Zombies are certainly having a good run on the big screen and in World War Z they have a run of whole world.Marc Forster who has made very diverse film from Monsters Ball to Kite Runner to the Bond flick Quantum of Solace now turns his attention to blockbuster action films.The film based on the best selling novel of the same name by Max Brooks turns the novel into a conventional action zombie film where a zombie apocalypse is thwarted by a wily American.
As in all disaster films, WWZ uses a cute all American family to frame its narrative. We meet Gerry( Brad Pitt), his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and their two medium cute daughters.They confront the horror of the Zombie epidemic in a clogged Philadelphia street.This much is very conventional.At this point the Mr Forster un-leases the zombies in a rather novel fashion.We see a giant free-for-all with Zombies lunging at humans and infecting(turning) them with a deadly bite.Suddenly the line between a panicking crowd and zombies get blurred.The ariel shots that depict this mayhem are quite spectacular and similar scenes are repeated a few times to great cinematic effect.
The most spectacular one is of course the one depicted on the poster, a tower of zombies scrambling on top of each other to scale a giant wall Israel has erected, as the most paranoid nation on earth they take the head start on cordoning off their country.Apart from these spectacular visuals, which are without precedent, the film tells an old fashioned story with considerable effectiveness.That in every Hollywood apocalypse film the world will be saved by an “A” list-alpha-male-super-star is a foregone conclusion but to this films credit it does not allow this eventuality to come in the way of providing relentless entertainment.
Brad Pitt anchors the action quite well without becoming a zombie killing machine.In a world were more than half the population is infected it would have been futile anyway.The mountains of copses and the indiscriminate machine gun fire on crowds which comprise both zombies and humans drive home the underlying horror of our huge population problem. Brad Pitt criss crosses the world in a military plane from Korea to Israel to England in search of Patient Zero who may hold clues as to how to control the virus which caused the outbreak.In the process he hits upon a very original ploy to trick the zombies.I saw the film in 3D which added nothing to the visual power of the film and left me 5 dollars poorer.To the film credit I found it enjoyable despite the pains of its wasted 3 dimensionality.
The film is very different from the book, which was an oral history of the war packed with politics, history, culture, technology and social commentary.The original screenplay by J. Michael Straczynski which was more faithful to the novel was tossed aside and completely re-written by Matthew Michael Carnahan to make it more of an action film.That would have been a much more interesting and engaging film but this one does succeed in making a zombie apocalypse look half credible.While the future of mankind may not end with zombies, successive natural disasters and the constant danger of a global viral epidemic which may wipe out humanity before we can find a cure, give this movie a kind of perverse credibility.
If you are looking for a genuinely scary film about a virus outbreak look no further than Steven Soderburgh’s superbly crafted Contagion.