Who ever thought fast zombies would be less scary?
Zombie films can often act very much like the creatures within them. If it’s a great film, then it tends to spread a frenzied pandemic of hype among film fans everywhere (28 Days Later, Shaun of the Dead); but if it’s a bad film, despite the masses of zombie fans out there, it will fall flat on its face like a zombie, deprived of its desired flesh. It rather pains me to say that World War Z fits the latter description.
I went into the film with high hopes, being a huge fan of zombie culture, however I left disappointed and frankly a little deceived. Initially, the trailer had done a great job of exciting audiences for this film, with a CGI-heavy show-off of a new kind of fast, predatory zombie, exploiting a previously unseen niche to the mainstream audiences, and it seemed to be interesting as to how director Marc Forster (also known for Quantum of Solace) would work this into the true horror of the zombie monster. Personally as a viewer, it never at all felt like Gerry (Brad Pitt) was ever in extreme danger, especially considering he’d managed to survive a plane crash of all things.
Let’s not beat around the bush, the narrative is poor. The way in which the story flows from scene to scene, action sequence to a little bit of narrative then right back to action sequence is all too convenient to the point where it becomes disinteresting. How Gerry was able to escape from Israel just in time, and how that getaway plane happened to crash within walking distance of the exact medical facility that they were looking for in Cardiff, is just far too convenient, almost annoyingly so.
One interesting angle from WWZ was the fact that Marc Forster presented zombies with a somewhat interesting weakness… their strength. Wait, what? No, I don’t really comprehend it either. It was explained in a bit of a hurried, confusing manner in the film, and while it’s a novel idea, giving zombies any weakness other than the traditional destruction of the brain actually makes them a lot less threatening and exciting for audiences.
The only character that actually has any depth whatsoever, let alone the only one with a properly introduced back-story, is the acclaimed Biologist Andrew Fassbach (Elyes Gabel) who rather haplessly accidentally shoots himself in the face causing his immediate death; very smart. He has a rather intriguing monologue during the flight to Korea though which is definitely one of the stand-out lines from the script.
Mother Nature is a serial killer. She wants to get caught, she leaves bread crumbs, she leaves clues… Mother Nature knows how to disguise her weakness as strength. – Andrew Fassbach
In its advertising WWZ were never shy to tell us that it features a soundtrack by Muse. Now I love Muse, Matt Bellamy’s vocals in particular, but obviously in a film there are limitations of what music can be featured in a film and I don’t remember hearing Bellamy’s legendary voice if I’m honest. Overall Muse make a decent contribution on the sound-side of things, however it’s unfortunately not enough to save WWZ from becoming yet another generic film in a zombie genre that is quickly losing its momentum and appeal.
Feel free to agree / disagree and let me know what you think by commenting below or dropping me a tweet (@clinture). Cheers for reading!