Film: World war Z
Director: Marc Forster
Cast: Brad Pitt, Mireille Enos, Daniella Kertesz and others
With a repertoire that includes Fight Club, Snatch, Moneyball, Inglourious Basterds and Tree of Life, one wonders what could make Brad Pitt decide to produce and star in a zombie film – other than a mid-life crisis that seeks self-glorification.
Here, he’s stronger than Superman, and can survive a stabbing, a zombie bite and a terminal disease, all in the space of a few hours, and still make it home to his loving family in time for supper. He’s also able to run away from a horde of zombies even when he has a punctured stomach. I still don’t understand why it’s called “World War”. The only reason could be that Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) could give Mr Phileas Fogg a run for his money. Apparently, the zombie epidemic started in Korea or Germany, and Lane chases it to Israel and England (India is also mentioned), to figure out why it spread to the rest of the globe. Of course, Lane doesn’t suffer from jet lag either, except for a three-day sleeping break, during which the zombies seem to have benevolently held off.
The movie by itself offers nothing new. Everything is peaceful and pastoral till disease strikes. However, it strikes the United States slowly enough for them to set up disaster relief, and for Lane to move his family to safety. The storyline draws from its antecedents in the same genre – the Resident Evil franchise, the 28 movies – with a little bit of Jurassic Park thrown in. One action sequence makes one nostalgic for the better-choreographed, better-executed, better-timed raptor-in-the-kitchen scene. The only thing that sets this film apart from other zombie movies is that the zombies here seem to be running on some kind of hyped-up adrenaline.
The film plays out more like a comedy than a horror movie. The scares are predictable. Worse, the clichés aren’t restricted to the “scary” parts. They creep into the characterisation and dialogue too. For starters, Gerry is an ex-military man who is humanity’s last hope (oh, my God, what a cool, refreshingly novel character!) He agrees to come out of retirement and follow orders to ensure his family is kept quarantined from the “zombie plague”. Naturally, he saves another officer, Segen (Daniella Ketesz) from zombiedom. In return, she follows him like a puppy, helps him fight for mankind, and ends up returning the favour during the course of the film.
The film does have a few positives, such as the realistic depiction of the manner in which only “essential” people are chosen, when the authorities are deciding whom to save. Another is the innovativeness of the “cure”. However, these can’t salvage the bizarrely unrealistic escape routes the main character takes.