Movie Review – World War Z

wwzIf you haven’t seen World War Z, congratulations on saving the money and time you would have wasted. If you have, you should be able to relate. And if you were still hoping to see this God-awful movie, stop reading, because I am going to completely spoil the surprises. I mean, point-by-point, I will ruin this movie for you. So you have been warned – do not read this review if you actually wanted to subject yourself to one of the worst zombie movies ever made.

Ready? Because you have been warned. I am going to pick this stupid movie to pieces, and when you’re done reading, you will have no reason to see World War Z. I mean, there’s no reason to see it anyway, but after this, you may as well have read the screenplay. Except this review, hopefully, will be more entertaining.

World War Z features the most inane, sloppy plot holes ever seen in film. I am going to address several of them, one at a time, though for the sake of keeping this review under a three-hour read, I am going to gloss over a few.

First, World War Z breaks all the zombie rules. Zombies are supposed to be slow and mindless, unless they are infected, and thus still alive, and thus capable of being killed with a shot to the chest (see Zombieland). World War Z features zombies who turn within ten seconds of being bitten, and then immediately run like Hussein Bolt with a Scud missile shoved up his ass. These zombies aren’t just fast – these zombies can fly. There are several instances where zombies are seen launching themselves sideways through the air without ever having their feet touch the ground, and then slam into something with the force of a Hummer at 90 an hour. Their speed varies, however – when chasing a helicopter or random red-shirt civilian, they could run around the world and turn back the clock. When chasing Brad Pitt, they are slower than Brad Pitt.

Not only does World War Z not follow conventional zombie rules, but it even breaks the new rules it proposes (if you’re looking for the spoilers, they start here). For instance, at the beginning of the movie, Brad Pitt gets zombie blood in his mouth while going all fisticuffs with a living dead. He discovers that ingesting zombie blood does not cause one to become a zombie. Near the end of the film, however, a lab worker for the World Health Organization (a highly skilled and exceptionally trained scientist, mind you), becomes infected when he merely handles a blood sample. Because the zombie virus only spreads when a person is bitten by a zombie, we can only assume that the blood sample came with infected dentures, which jumped out of the blood and bit the researcher.

Zombies in World War Z also turn immediately. Ten seconds after a bite, the victim is chasing people with super-speed and no small amount of crankiness. However, halfway through the film, an infected person manages to sneak on a plane and hole up in the bathroom. And he does not appear until the flight is nearing its destination. So how does a zombie sneak onto a plane and expire in the crapper? Is this one of those sneaky zombies who can crawl through the ventilation shaft like Tom Cruise in a spy movie? Does the stewardess see his advanced state of distress and say, ‘sir, if you can agree not to bite people, maybe you would be comfortable in the toilet.’ Of course, he infects most of the people on the plane, leading to a moment in which I wish Samuel L. Jackson could have appeared and said, ‘I am sick and tired of all these motha-lovin zombies on this motha-lovin plane.’ He, of course, would have used more harsh language.

It gets better. When Brad Pitt has to refuel his plane, a team of soldiers helps to stem the tide of zombies. They are able to slow the attacking monsters by shooting them in the legs, thus making them immobile. ‘Zeke on the ground’ is the exact phrase used. Later, however, zombies scale a 100-foot wall through a feat of organization seldom seen in even the most dedicated special forces units, and then promptly leap off the other side. It would stand to reason that falling ten stories would cause a zombie to break something important, and potentially cause that lethal head wound that would make them nonviable candidates for high-speed pursuit. But no, the Israelis who built this impressive wall apparently placed stacks of mattresses at the bottom, because the undead speed racers have no problem destroying the city just as Brad Pitt is leaving.

While we’re at it, the people in this movie are retarded. At one point, Brad Pitt is performing a super-sneaky midnight maneuver in the company of a team of highly trained Navy Seals. They are on bicycles, because those are usually quiet, except that these bicycles are the squeakiest, most broken-down conveyances I have seen since the 1984 Subaru hatchback I drove in college. How about a little WD-40, you super soldier bad-asses? Or do you seriously have a military base where there is no gun oil?

And how about Brad Pitt himself? He is on a mission where the slightest noise could trigger horrible disaster, and he gets a cell phone call that wakes up every running dead for half a mile. I can remember to put my phone on vibrate when I go into a meeting. I turn off my cell when I go to the movies. But Brad Pitt, supposedly one of the brightest people left alive, manages to ride into a sneaking mission and turn his dial tone up as high as it can go. Even the people in this movie are stupid.

For that matter, apparently the people watching World War Z are also supposed to be stupid. Israel builds that 100-foot wall I mentioned before, and they do it in two days. I have a freeway by my house that has been under construction for ten years. Jerry Jones built the stadium for the Dallas Cowboys in just under a year. But the Israeli contractors are apparently endowed with super powers, because they can create a feat of engineering magnificence to dwarf the accomplishments of the Egyptian pyramids, and they can do it in two days. And even more absurd, Palestine doesn’t notice.

But the greatest knock against World War Z is not the stupidity required to accept it. It is not the ludicrous zombies, like the goofy undead bastard with advance male-pattern baldness who clicks his teeth in morse code while watching Brad Pitt through a glass door. It is not even the fast zombies that destroy every convention of the zombie genre. What really ruins World War Z is that it does not have a point.

The reason I love zombie-themed entertainment is that the best zombie movies use the walking dead to make a point or convey a message. Shaun of the Dead uses zombies as a means to poke fun at all the people who go through their lives in a daze – not dead, but never really alive. Fido has a multifaceted message about greed and corruption, acceptance and parenthood, and even how we treat our pets. Zombieland, one of my favorites, is light on message – but it’s not supposed to be heavy, it’s a character study and buddy movie. Even The Walking Dead has a message about how people are the real monsters, though it delivers it with all the subtlety and finesse of a wrecking ball. World War Z, by comparison, does not have a point. It’s shallow as a puddle, and fails to utilize even the most basic elements that make zombie movies a societal statement. Instead, it is a mindless summer blockbuster, heavy on special effects and utterly meaningless, adding nothing to the genre or even to your evening.

The real shame here is that the book version of World War Z is, in my opinion, the best piece of zombie entertainment ever created. They had an incredible piece of literature to work with, but the writers threw the book out the window and wrote this travesty instead. All the brilliance of the book was wasted on this mockery of a film, and if I were Max Brooks, I would be furious. Of course, I would be furious from my beach house in Maui, and that would serve to calm my ire. But still, this movie didn’t just suck, it did a disservice to the book on which it was based, and it will leave a foul taste in the mouth of anyone who has enjoyed the novel.

There you go. Movie ruined. For the love of all that is holy, do not see World War Z. Don’t rent it. Don’t even watch it if it comes on TV. It’s insipid and base, a complete waste of two hours. If you simply must see a zombie movie with fast monsters, watch 28 Days Later again. That, at least, had a point.

3 Responses to “Movie Review – World War Z”

  1. peer says:

    Im not a zombiefan, but I loved the book. The trailer of the movie got me suspicious already, that it has not much in common with the book. You confirmed – Thank you!
    You should (if you dont have already) get the audio book of WWZ too, because there is some serious voice acting there, which means its a better movie than the movie apperently – and that without pictures!

  2. Ken Harkin says:

    I loved the book and thought the production of the audiobook was brilliant. One look at the trailers told me Hollywood had screwed the book worse than they had Heinlein’s Starship Troopers. I haven’t seen it and don’t plan to.

  3. Chris719 says:

    The book was one of the best things I read all year. The movie I watched on Netflix. I had to pause and return to yard work due to how terrible it was. I agree with the previous poster, the last time I saw a brilliant work of fiction so disgustingly contorted was starship troopers. Brad pit sucks. I understandj Hollywood only green lights films if there’ is something in it for them like pro Israel combat ism or a nephew who wants to be in films but Jesus Christ, the only thing scarier than the zombie apocalypse is what my fellow American will consume cerebrally and ask for seconds. We are all doomed, party while you can