What's this? A gigantic Hollywood blockbuster amidst all the low-budget/indie horror that I've been watching so far? That's right. Decided to rent the unrated version of World War Z from Amazon Instant in HD. I've been wanting to see it since it came out, but I don't get to the movies that often anymore. So I splurged a little bit. And I'm glad I did.
I had read the book by Max Brooks a few summers ago, but the film isn't really an adaptation of that. It would be almost impossible to properly adapt that book to the big screen. But this film took some of the central points, created a storyline surrounding one former U.N. investigator and went from there. It was a good decision too.
I've got a few zombie rules that I like my zombie movies to follow. Let's have a little refresher course.
The Zombie Rules
- Zombies are the Undead. They are animated corpses who hunger for human flesh. What animates them? Pure evil? A virus? Electro-magnetic impulses? Who knows. But that is what a zombie is. The living dead. 28 Days Later, while a fantastic film at times, is NOT a zombie film. Those people are still alive. The virus makes them crazy and blood-thirsty, but it doesn't kill them. Eventually they die of starvation when they don't get enough to eat, but that's it. They ain't zombies.
- To kill a zombie you have to destroy their brain. Whatever it is that is animating these corpses is controlled in the brain somehow. You can chop off their arms, shoot them in the chest, or piss in their face. That's ain't gonna stop them. The only thing that is gonna stop them is a well placed bullet, arrow, crowbar or knitting needle to the brain. That's it! If they can be killed (?!?) any other way, then they ain't zombies.
- A zombie can be slow and lumbering or it can be just as fast as the body of it's previous owner. I really don't care. Just as long as they are scary and they crave human flesh. What a zombie CANNOT have is super-human strength or speed. Why would a zombie be super-strong? I've seen some zombie films in which the zombies can easily rip the head off of a human. Do you know how hard it is to rip somebody's head off? I've had some experience with this and it ain't easy. If your zombie is super-strong or super-fast, then it probably ain't a zombie.
The story arc of the protagonist, played very well by Brad Pitt, was...well, ridiculous. I was reminded of the awful action flick 2012 and how John Cusack and his gang kept escaping cataclysmic event after cataclysmic event just in the nick of time. This was like that. From Philadelphia to South Korea to Jerusalem to an attack on an airliner to surviving the crash of that airliner...well, good thing it's a zombie flick. It's not supposed to be believable, kids. Ridiculous as it was, it sure was exciting and fun. I didn't even have a problem with Pitt's "solution" to surviving the zombies that so many viewers had. It made about as much sense as a zombie outbreak, so cool your jets folks.
The film had some fairly substantial production problems, including re-working the entire third act. But the eventual success at the box office ensured that the sequel (and it's sequel) would happen. And that's pretty cool. Because this was a big-budget zombie flick done right, in my opinion.
Verdant Dude rating: 4 out of 5 pumpkins