Sunday, July 28, 2013

World War Z


Movie gross notwithstanding Z trumped S. S of course refers to Man of Steel which came a week before WorldWar Z

In writing this I had second thoughts about comparing a superhero story and a zombie apocalypse story.  Should I?   I couldn't help it in the end after feeling pleasantly surprised at how World War Z turned up.  The story didn't leave an empty feeling in the mouth, walking corpse or whatever notwithstanding.


The film was had a few days left before it turned a month old in Philippine release when I saw it.  That fact alone could speak to its staying power.  Nevertheless I still didn't think highly of it having felt empty with films like Resident Evil, but it was the best schedule available so went for it. 

World War Z had a strong opening.  There were no ifs and buts about it, the entire world was infected.  Seeing the zombies running through a city like the Running of the Bulls in Spain was unique.  It made more sense now for zombies to get their victims than the clumsy walking version of earlier films.  Those walking zombies always get their running victims for some reason.

Brad Pitt plays Gerry Lane a former UN investigator but in the opening he is just a father with a wife and two young girls on the run in a world gone mad.  A typical dynamic if you think about it.  Zombie movies are always about people on the run, some of them families, but protecting one's family is someone anyone can relate too.

Thinking about the S with this angle about families is a score for Z.  Superman had a foster father who thinks a bus full of children shouldn't have been saved and a real father who thinks only of the future of Krypton, yeah, I think Gerry is having a better day.

But the best part of the movie is that the characters had a fighting chance. The film made use of the Virology so it’s not just a movie about people on the run, exploring their humanity in a crisis; it’s about solving a problem.  

I can’t make up my mind if it was comedy or drama when the virologist ended up as one of the first persons dead.  But before he died he was able to share some pointers with Gerry.  And Gerry's skill set as a UN personnel sent to crisis situations retained enough intellectual credibility in piecing the details of an infection without being too scientific.  The stampeding zombies, the action, kept the film alive.  

The science and the gathering of clues brought reason to the madness.  Compare that to Kryptonians hitting each other with buildings and not getting so much as a bruise, World War Z felt oddly realistic.    

Z trumped S because human connection trumps senseless special effects.  And what do you know, World War Z may get a sequel too.