Most zombie movies are shot on budgets of about $10,000 using antiquated filming equipment, black and white film or a 64GB iPhone. Special effects consist of old donated clothing and extras wearing makeup that makes them look dead. They walk around looking for victims with dull, dead eyes and nothing else to do, except kill. Change the word “kill” to “audit” and you have a pretty good description of today”s IRS agents.
In World War Z all the above has changed. The actors playing zombies have to do all of the above plus they snap their teeth and bite. Who do they bite? Anyone who is not like them. Most of the zombies are CG effects. There are a lot of them. With a reputed budget of $200 million, that”s 10 zombies per dollar.
Brad Pitt plays a typical family man and some kind of super scientist. He and his family are out for a drive, get stuck in a big city traffic jam when the zombies launch their attacks. They are supposed to be in Philadelphia, but Glasgow, Scotland is the Philly stand in. The attack consists of virtual herds of out-of-control zombies run amok. Lots of explosions ensue, although the zombies don”t appear to be blowing anything up themselves, as they are too busy biting anybody and everybody in sight. Once bitten, the recently-chewed-on become part of the zombie herd.
Obviously things get pretty desperate for mankind. Only on a few islands, boats at sea, and one country are people somewhat free from zombie attack. They look and act very worried as their weekends are now completely ruined. There are lots of big set pieces with a large numbers of zombies that are pretty scary to watch – they swarm over anyone and everything that impedes them from biting the unbitten.
Brad P. is worried about his family, which is now living at sea and probably in more danger than they were on land – as the current cruise ship headlines might suggest.
Is there a way to defeat the zombies? Can they have all their teeth pulled so they would only be able to gum their victims, doing no harm? It”s up to Brad P. to figure it out and save mankind from being completely zombieized. What would they do with no one left to bite? It wouldn”t make for much of an ending.
Like all of the low budget “B” sci-fi films of the 50s, the answer will be eventually found. In those films, mankind or a least a small town in the desert, was always being terrorized by aliens from space, giant insects, giant people, or zombies. The solution always involved something like playing the sound of zoo monkeys during feeding time combined with people singing Christmas carols while suspended upside down over hot coals. And, sure enough, the menace would drop dead. In the most recent incarnation of this story line, Tim Burton”s Mars Attacks (1996) had Martians who were impervious to atomic bombs and laying waste to humankind. They were defeated by playing Slim Whitman music, and their little green heads would explode inside their helmets. In WWZ Slim Whitman music is not the answer. It”s more scientific.
WWZ turns out to be a cross between the 50s sci-fi films and the recent big-virus-killing-all film from 2011, Contagion. When you go, take something to chew on.
Rated 2.8 out 4.0 verses of gnaw, gnaw, gnaw your boat gently down the stream.