Hurrr…. urrrrgghhhhh…. chomp chomp chomp….

I could, if I really wanted to, write this whole thing in zombie speak (is that even a thing?), though everyone would probably hate me.  So, here’s a english translated zombie speak version of the review.  Or something.

World War Z is a surprisingly solid film, which is unexpected given how maligned the production was, especially with the refilming of the entire last third of the film.  It hits all the right beats, sometimes in a mechanical way, sometimes really well.  The movie starts in Philadelphia, where shit gets insane really quick.  The entire eastern seaboard falls, as well as other major urban areas where it is easy to transmit an airborne disease.  This is essentially SARS or H1N1 actualized, spreading nonstop around the globe in a matter of days or weeks.

The changes to the zombies for this film were curious.  It’s fast zombies all the way, though there’s no eating.  It’s bite and move on to the next victim.  I’m curious if this was done to at least have a better rating and a bigger possible audience (the film exploded to $200 million budget with the refilmed shots), to get better returns.  If that’s the case, then it worked, at least with an opening weekend that far surpassed studio expectations.

The zombies were ill defined at times though, between reacting to sound, but also with what they did in the third act.  The sequence in the plane, as well as the revelation of what ended up working to stop them, kind of clashed together.  That said, the element introduced in the third act was original and interesting.  It may not have been the best idea (again, going back to how ill defined the zombies were) but it worked for the film.

The non-zombie characters were good.  Brad Pitt’s Gerry Lane turns into an everyman of sorts by the end, but he’s still a pretty good character.  He has his family, and his concern will always be on his family, even when he heads out to find answers about the zombies.  Mireille Enos plays Karin Lane, Gerry’s wife, and while she doesn’t do too much (she stays with the kids while Gerry is off globe trotting), she isn’t a waste.  Other characters act their parts (the Secretary General, the US Navy people, etc), though special kudos to Daniella Kertesz as Segen, who, even after surviving a zombie bite, is an absolute badass and one of the better written female characters to show up this summer[1][2].

One thing about the final third of the film: the tonal shift is intense.  The film starts huge (running through the streets of Philadelphia and Newark) and stays huge into Jerusalem, then quiets down a lot in the WHO building.  It’s not a bad thing, honestly, and probably the best part of the film (though trying to find where anything is at in the zombie-infested wing of the building detracts from that some).

So like I said, an unexpectedly solid film.  Check it out.

[1] Speaking of which, what a fucking cesspool of poorly written female characters this summer season.  It’s ranged from good-ish at best (Iron Man 3 with Pepper Potts; Man of Steel with Lois Lane, at least the first half of the film) to downright awful (Star Trek Into Darkness with Carol Marcus and, at times, Lt Uhura; Now You See Me with whoever Melanie Laurent played).  There was an NPR article that showed up a couple weeks ago that discussed the lack of female leads so far this summer (in fact, the first major wide release targeting females specifically finally comes out this weekend with the Heat).  It’s been a boys club through and through.

[1b] Also, yes, I’m going to try and see Francis Ha soon.

[2] That said, yes, Segen doesn’t say much.  I think a lot as to do with the actual acting beyond speaking (and that the character is a member of the Israeli army), and that’s what probably got me with her performance.