America’s fascination with the zombie apocalypse continues. The latest vehicle to traverse the land of the undead is World War Z, starring Brad Pitt and some implausibly unattractive woman playing his wife. I had never seen her before, except maybe at a Waffle House. Anyway, let’s not allow her mediocre face to be the center of attention (I’m sure that’s never been a problem before).
Seeing this movie was like using Michael Bay’s View-Master to watch Law and Order have sex with 28 Days Later.
What you’re getting: An action-packed zombie apocalypse procedural with lots of explosions and CGI.
What you’re not getting: Exploding heads, rivers of blood, and flying bits of decaying flesh. Also, nobody curses too much. This thing is PG-13. Needless to say, you won’t even see one boob, unless you count Matthew Fox. Yes, he has a cameo.
The Zombies: Yes, the zombies are super-fast and athletic. Basically, after being bit, you turn into Kobe Bryant without the need to shoot twenty-five contested jumpers a game. The zombies also work as a team, don’t get knee injuries, and never get caught up in any rape scandals.
The Humans: Most of the civilians are paranoid, selfish pricks grasping for survival. Of course, our noble army men play the parts of cynical badasses. Our leaders are reduced to desperate, overwhelmed suits. However, there is one man who can help: Brad Pitt. He used to be an investigator for the U.N., which makes him uniquely adept at solving the biggest biological disaster on Earth since the Irish.
Quotes: “Mother nature is a serial killer.” So I should never help mother nature move a couch into a van, right? It rubs the sunblock on its skin or else it gets the radiation again.
“Movement is life,” Pitt exclaims. So, by definition super-fast zombies are actually more alive than normal people. They do seem to exist in a very here and now philosophy. I like it, zen zombies. World War Double Z, where the undead try and free Tibet, one bite at a time.
“Is that what you expected?” some guy in jean shorts with a cigarette tucked over his ear asked me as I was leaving the theater. He then remarked that he was hoping to see more blood and guts. I shrugged, mumbled something, and kept it moving. My only real question was to myself: Do I really look approachable to people in jean shorts? I mean, what can I do to prevent something like this from happening again? I don’t want to go full fedora, but I need to phenotypically differentiate myself from these guys.
Cheesedick Factor: When not attacking, the zombies behaved like meth addicts making dinosaur noises. It drew a lot of laughter from both me and the jean-shorts crowd. Other than that, the movie was taken pretty seriously. About two dozen rubes even clapped at the end.
Subtext: Say what you will about North Korea, but they find creative solutions to complex problems. Also, climate change? I don’t know, I’m grasping at straws here. I didn’t really see any subtext, but then again, I’m not good at that sort of thing. I thought Moby Dick was about maritime safety.
Overall: This is a really fun movie to watch; it maintains suspense the entire way through. I give it four mediocre wives out of five. It felt like a short two hours; I kind of wish it was longer. The whole thing works well as a pop-detective piece where Brad Pitt travels around trying to keep society from falling apart. It’s bizzaro Fight Club.
I think the allure with this genre is that we love to watch killing and death, but don’t like to view the suffering parties as people. Zombie movies remove that from the equation. You can kill a zombie in a gruesome way and you won’t have any moral qualms about it. Hell, you’re doing it a favor. Want to stab your co-worker in the face with a screw driver? It’s difficult because his name is Ted, and he has a family. But pretend he’s a zombie and it’s a cinch! Also, another thing that gives me pause around the whole zombie craze is that some people actually believe there will be a zombie apocalypse. Yes, these are the booger-eating, insecure couch urchins stockpiling ammunition and candy bars. These losers yearn for the slate to be wiped clean because they think they’ll have an opportunity to be somebody in a post-apocalyptic world. But chances are, if you’re a loser now, you’ll be the same kind of loser after the apocalypse, except you won’t be able to watch your zombie movies to escape from reality.