Movie Defense Force: World War Z - Despite The Title, A Great Zombie Flick

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World War Z - Despite The Title, A Great Zombie Flick

Although having little connection to the popular book asides sharing a name, World War Z is a pretty damn good film.

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My suspicion is that if they'd named it anything else, people would be mad at how much it ripped off the book. XD

I watched this movie (the unrated version on Netflix) last weekend, and I pretty much agree with you on all your points. The only real problem I have with this movie (and I had the same problem with 28 days later, I Am Legend, and other similar movies) is that I have a tough time suspending disbelief that a virus would actually give people super-human strength and speed. It's not that I'm some slow-zombie purist or anything, it just doesn't seem scientifically sound.

But, putting aside that complaint, it was a great movie with excellent tension and pacing throughout.

EDIT:

Pyrian:
My suspicion is that if they'd named it anything else, people would be mad at how much it ripped off the book. XD

I doubt it. It was so unrelated to the book (only a few character names remained the same) that if it were named something else, nobody would have even compared the two. It would, however, have been written off as a 28 Days Later clone, which is the movie I think it's most comparable to (although on a much greater scale of course).

Good video, Jim. Up until now I've refused to see it specifically because of its tie to the book. However, if you really think it's a good movie on its own merits, then perhaps I'll check it out.

I mean, I did love The Running Man movie, even though it had nothing at all to do with the book.

Avaholic03:
I watched this movie (the unrated version on Netflix) last weekend, and I pretty much agree with you on all your points. The only real problem I have with this movie (and I had the same problem with 28 days later, I Am Legend, and other similar movies) is that I have a tough time suspending disbelief that a virus would actually give people super-human strength and speed. It's not that I'm some slow-zombie purist or anything, it just doesn't seem scientifically sound.

It doesn't seem scientifically sound that a virus would give it's host abilities that would allow said host to spread the virus more efficiently?

I usually find the best way to describe World War Z to friends is that it isn't a straight up, gory horror movie but more like a traditional disaster film that happens to use zombies as its inciting event instead of a volcano or earthquake.

Plus, Daniella Kertesz was great as Segen. It would be nice to see her get more work.

Also, it has the "aw, that's cute" factor of Peter Capaldi as a W.H.O. Doctor...

It's okay. That's all I can really say about it. Having Muse do the score was pretty damn cool though.

Nope.

Ignoring the lack of fidelity to the source material, WWZ does not work as a zombie movie because it undermines the very principle of all zombie movies from Night of the Living Dead on: that it is a complete and total apocalypse, a breakdown of society and social convention, and that a return to normalcy is at best an idealistic fantasy. The entire business of finding 'a cure' implies that this is nothing more than an inconvenience writ large, to be addressed and solved so long as our intrepid hero can hold out long enough to get through enough castles to ultimately find his princess (to use a video game analogy, given this site). At which point everything can go back to normal (the half-assed epilogue narration be damned).

Zombie stories are never really about the zombies themselves, and WWZ's pushing of the 'running zombie' envelope was just an attempt to bring the focus to the undead hordes in order to then 'defeat' them with the 'disease as bio-camo' cure.

You know what would have worked, narratively and thematically? If the entire third act was changed and Brad Pitt's travels and research were for all for naught. If he had to come to the realization that all his efforts to stop the zombies and bring the world back to what it once was were pointless. I can accept the book's 'victory' over the zombie plague because a) it's not a permanent fix, as the characters make clear and b) it requires massive changes to society, military tactics and the cooperation of various nations. A new world for a new threat, emphasizing just how significant this issue is.

But no. The movie wanted to adhere to the action movie formula, right down to the 'one man saves the day' ending. And that necessitated reducing the zombies to less than their traditional status as monsters.

Also the complete lack of blood and gore was just a slap in the face to the zombie genre. I assume the unrated cut restores the balance on that front, but frack it I paid money to see this in theaters. I paid to see blood!

I know nothing about the book, saw this about 3-4 days ago and the most I can remember is that one Pepsi scene that had me both giggling and cringing and how blatant it was.

Sorry Jim I cannot agree, I will have to disagree. I found the film to be boring, bland and very funny in a bad way. I had to find something else to do because it was that boring.

For the record, I have never read the book and 28 days later doesn't have any zombies of any kind.

Avaholic03:
I watched this movie (the unrated version on Netflix) last weekend, and I pretty much agree with you on all your points. The only real problem I have with this movie (and I had the same problem with 28 days later....) is that I have a tough time suspending disbelief that a virus would actually give people super-human strength and speed. It's not that I'm some slow-zombie purist or anything, it just doesn't seem scientifically sound.

But, putting aside that complaint, it was a great movie with excellent tension and pacing throughout.

If it wasn't for the fact teh zombiez die off from starvation 28 days later....In 28 days later then I would agree with your point

When this one came on Netflix I tried to give it an honest try. I chose the unrated cut of course since both were available.

Sadly I was unable to divorce myself from the expectations the name brought with it. I plan to give it another go at some point, but Max Brooks' book just looms so large it's hard to not think of it. It's hard to not wonder what might have been if we gave the source material a chance instead of using an in-name-only title to show us a 28 Later knock-off.

Honestly, I like Brad Pitt ever since Se7en. I don't mind a change in service of a new medium where it makes sense. But this is one I haven't been able to look at through a clear lens.

Lvl 64 Klutz:

Avaholic03:
I watched this movie (the unrated version on Netflix) last weekend, and I pretty much agree with you on all your points. The only real problem I have with this movie (and I had the same problem with 28 days later, I Am Legend, and other similar movies) is that I have a tough time suspending disbelief that a virus would actually give people super-human strength and speed. It's not that I'm some slow-zombie purist or anything, it just doesn't seem scientifically sound.

It doesn't seem scientifically sound that a virus would give it's host abilities that would allow said host to spread the virus more efficiently?

Viruses tend to mutate and become less damaging and visually frightening if it helps spread the virus easier. To that standard, it could reach the point where strain B and C virus zombies are actually either normal people that don't bite others after chasing them via a horde.

A zombie movie with nice zombies. That sounds like an interesting romp.

Avaholic03:
I watched this movie (the unrated version on Netflix) last weekend, and I pretty much agree with you on all your points. The only real problem I have with this movie (and I had the same problem with 28 days later, I Am Legend, and other similar movies) is that I have a tough time suspending disbelief that a virus would actually give people super-human strength and speed. It's not that I'm some slow-zombie purist or anything, it just doesn't seem scientifically sound.

Do the zombies (I Am Legend has vampires, btw) actually have superhuman speed and strength? I mean, people always seem pretty capable of outrunning them and overpowering them. The only real danger is that they always sprint towards their targets, don't care about pain or getting hurt, and generally come in groups. They might have good endurance to be sprinting all the time, but we never really see them run marathons, just chase after a human for short periods of time.

I never had any intention of ever watching this movie, I actually can't stand the zombie movie genre at all. The Walking Dead was about all I could stand watching (Only saw the first season) because I think zombies are just stupid as a concept (in my opinion) but since I had nothing else to watch and actually am a fan of Brad Pitt as an actor I decided to watch WWZ on Netflix.

All and all I actually liked the movie, for me it was more the focus on the virus itself that actually kept me watching. All the parts where Brad Pitt was trying to understand the effects of the virus, looking for patterns and seeing its weaknesses I thought was quite a good idea that I don't recall seeing in other zombie movies. I never read the book (or knew there was a book) so I wasn't expecting anything going into it but I enjoyed what I saw and have to agree with Jim that its an entertaining film.

I read the book a good while back (blahblahblah I was there before it was cool bow before my superiority) so by the time the film came out I had forgotten a lot of the smaller details that I heard had been carried over into the film. I personally thought the film was just "okay". Besides the scenes in the W.H.O facility at the end, I found the whole thing to be just missing that certain...something. I could tell when it was meant to be tense or exciting, but it just never really to there for me.

The main attraction for this movie (other than the book it shares a name with) was the novelty of seeing a rather recognisable (to us locals anyway) part of my home city dressed up as an American city. Other than that, this film was juust kind of....there for me really.

Yea um, no. This movie is just horrible soulless cashgrab designed by committee. Nothing good can be said about it. It would be bad 15 years ago when the zombie craze was just getting started, but today that's just beyond despicable.

BTW I had no idea what this movie is actually based on (and I still don't) so it's not about the adaptation or whatevs.

I have not read the book, so perhaps my opinion comes right out of my ignorant ass, but i was pleasantly surprised by the movie. I only heard the backlash on the internet and thought it would be terrible.
I really like that the protagonist is not the super ex military, seal, special forces, bla, bla mega soldier.
And that is, i believe, the biggest problem for most viewers. He was a guy that talked more then used his gun. He worked for the EU/UN and not the CIA/Seal, bla, bla, super soldier producing maschine.

Also the ending was not clear cut. The vaccine was just a temporary solution. It's like the ending from Mass Effect: If it not a super happy ending, todays viewers complain.
Of course the movie was not perfect, it was far from it. But to be honest, i think it was one of the better zombie movies of the recent years. It stands (in my opinion) far ahead of 28 Days later.

LifeCharacter:

Avaholic03:
I watched this movie (the unrated version on Netflix) last weekend, and I pretty much agree with you on all your points. The only real problem I have with this movie (and I had the same problem with 28 days later, I Am Legend, and other similar movies) is that I have a tough time suspending disbelief that a virus would actually give people super-human strength and speed. It's not that I'm some slow-zombie purist or anything, it just doesn't seem scientifically sound.

Do the zombies (I Am Legend has vampires, btw) actually have superhuman speed and strength? I mean, people always seem pretty capable of outrunning them and overpowering them. The only real danger is that they always sprint towards their targets, don't care about pain or getting hurt, and generally come in groups. They might have good endurance to be sprinting all the time, but we never really see them run marathons, just chase after a human for short periods of time.

So forming a human pyramid to get over a 50' tall wall doesn't demonstrate super-human strength? Or leaping through windows of moving vehicles? Or any number of things we see them do in the film? It doesn't make any sense for an infected/dead person to be able to run down a healthy live person, except as a action movie plot device.

Lvl 64 Klutz:
It doesn't seem scientifically sound that a virus would give it's host abilities that would allow said host to spread the virus more efficiently?

How exactly would a virus accomplish that? Especially in zombies where the nervous and circulatory systems are compromised and the host is medically dead, how does a virus even fight off the onset of rigor mortus, let alone making the host more agile than it was when it was alive?

Jim forgot to mention that it is some of the most blatant Israeli propaganda in a Hollywood film released in recent years.

I saw this movie and went into it not expecting much, but really it wasn't bad. Not the worst movie I've ever seen.

Avaholic03:

Lvl 64 Klutz:
It doesn't seem scientifically sound that a virus would give it's host abilities that would allow said host to spread the virus more efficiently?

How exactly would a virus accomplish that? Especially in zombies where the nervous and circulatory systems are compromised and the host is medically dead, how does a virus even fight off the onset of rigor mortus, let alone making the host more agile than it was when it was alive?

Well, from what I've seen of previews for this movie, these zombies don't seem like walking corpses a la walking dead. They seem more like infected, a la 28 days later. And I think what the virus does is that it just overwhelms them with a powerful urge to eat non-infected, drowning out all other feelings. These include the feelings that keep us from running like they do, feeling tired, the feeling of a sprained ankle, and other things. The infected constantly running like this with no regard for personal safety would most likely end up killing them, but by then they'd already have their teeth in you. Basically the virus causes the infected to ignore all of the safety systems the body has.

The movie was entertaining enough by its own merits. But the name and being based on the book that had more originality in it than the movie really spoiled it. I just wondered why they never took many of the scenes from the book that were awesome? I really wanted to see the Battle of Yonkers in a movie - you could totally feel the terror of the soldiers as modern weapons didnt do that much to the zombie hoard. Also those dog handlers with the dogs they use to bait zombies etc The part with the ships trying to rescue people but zombies end up on them, plus those underwater grabbing people feet dragging them down. But then with the zombies surging every where at speed none of the stories in the book will work anymore. Maybe they should just make it into a tv series.

Avaholic03:
So forming a human pyramid to get over a 50' tall wall doesn't demonstrate super-human strength? Or leaping through windows of moving vehicles? Or any number of things we see them do in the film? It doesn't make any sense for an infected/dead person to be able to run down a healthy live person, except as a action movie plot device.

I don't really think climbing over people takes all that much superhuman strength, and that's really all they seem to be doing. They're not performing some superhuman feat of strength, they're just playing king of the hill on the world's largest dogpile.

As for leaping through windows of moving vehicles, that's difficult due to the type of glass usually used in vehicles. It's still possible depending on how they actually jumped through the window though. Did they outrun the car and jump through the back? Charge it head on and jump through the windshield? Or get lucky and jump through the side as it was going by? Only the first one seems physically difficult to do.

It's perfectly plausible though, for an infected person with no sense of exhaustion or soreness to sprint fast enough to catch the average person who has such things. Someone who gets tired, afraid, confused, and has to wonder about which way to go next. Infected don't suddenly lose their ability to run just because they've lost their rational mind and humans don't become athletes just because they now have something to run away from.

well "world war z" might be a decent movie Jim...but sadly there's no way i'm forgiving the using up of the books IP until they at least start talking about the TV mini series that book should actually be...

ps was that Israel with the wall bit ?...please don't tell me they fucked about with the Israel "thang"...that was one of the best geopolitical premises in the whole book...almost the only thing better was the insinuation the British royal family "went down with the ship" fighting zombies in suits of armour ffs...

Sleekit:
well "world war z" might be a decent movie...but sadly there's no way i'm forgiving the using of the name until they at least start talking about about the TV mini series that book should actually be...

Mini-series? Given the premise and the source material, HBO could make a series which would be longer then even the Walking Dead (and would also show them how a zombie tv series is done right). Hell, all you need is Brooks being in every episode at the beginning, end and maybe some point in the middle interviewing the survivor and the rest of the episode could be a standalone. With the very premise they could not only adapt all material from the book, but add much more.

But alas, this shitty movie trilogy (god why did they have to make more?) is all we get. Another generic summer action movie that does nothing to differentiate itself from the crowd and doesn't even try to make itself worth our time, let alone money. I know the critics don't have the balls to say it, but the fact this movie made a profit shows the greater movie going public are morons.

I think zombies aren't a tired genre but you need some sort of hook for enjoying them. Shana Festa's Time of Death: Induction is a zombie novel where the humans AREN'T bastards and work together with the military (which is NOT evil) while maintaining a hopeful disposition. Jessica Meig's The Becoming succeeds for the simple fact everyone in the story is a badass zombie-killer. The Dead Rising games are just FUNNY. Peter Clines' Ex-Heroes is superheroes versus zombies. Pavlov's Dogs is about zombies vs. werewolves.

You don't need to innovate the formula much, just innovate it a little!

Zontar:

Sleekit:
well "world war z" might be a decent movie...but sadly there's no way i'm forgiving the using of the name until they at least start talking about about the TV mini series that book should actually be...

Mini-series? Given the premise and the source material, HBO could make a series which would be longer then even the Walking Dead (and would also show them how a zombie tv series is done right). Hell, all you need is Brooks being in every episode at the beginning, end and maybe some point in the middle interviewing the survivor and the rest of the episode could be a standalone. With the very premise they could not only adapt all material from the book, but add much more.

But alas, this shitty movie trilogy (god why did they have to make more?) is all we get. Another generic summer action movie that does nothing to differentiate itself from the crowd and doesn't even try to make itself worth our time, let alone money. I know the critics don't have the balls to say it, but the fact this movie made a profit shows the greater movie going public are morons.

well tbh i said "mini series" because to my mind a "mini series" usually has a set end before it starts...it has a fixed stopping point at which it ends...as opposed to a normal series that might "run and run"...

but ye...dramatised interviews basically...like you said...like one of those high class war documentaries...like Band of Brothers...crossed with fiction & zombies ofc...

could be a truly great show in the round if there was any decent talent involved.

What killed this movie for me was the portrayal of the Zombies. Not that they aren't shamblers, innovation is fine, but I just couldn't take them seriously. They are just.. so obnoxiously ridiculous. They flop around like fish, sprint at breakneck speeds and ignore the laws of gravity, and are just so.. FUNNY. I mean, nothing about them terrifies me, if you added some sort of comedy soundtrack too this movie it would work perfectly as a Zombie Parody.

I think what Jim says about visual invention and style is true- the "flowing water" zombies is kind of neat.

But good God, the humans are so dumb...

I've heard that the Unrated cut improved the movie a lot from its PG-13 trappings, but when I went to watch the Unrated version on Netflix, it played the theatrical cut. Plus I'm 99% certain there's still that ridiculousness involving the plane crash no matter how much more gore they add.

Agreed with all of this, very fun film, just wish they hadn't wasted the WWZ name on it.

I really like the idea of an actual WWZ mini-series as opposed to a film.

Yeah this movie suffers from "in name only syndrome"
Its a good movie but piggybacks off the name and nothing else.
Godzilla, Halloween III etc.

effects were cool, but a lack of interesting characters, a myriad of common sense plot holes, with just a hint of sexism and national superiority drags this movie into the do-not-watch territory. there were little details that i liked, but they were, at best, sprinkles on the shit cake. the fact that the movie misses the point of the book, while i agree it can be secondary, also does not help; this is a WORLD war, not white guy saves the day.

I never read the book, though having seen the movie I would like to. The one and only thing I didn't like about the movie is there are far too many instances of *Hey, I'm a clutz and dropped something when my life depends on being quiet*. This, to the point of being eye-roll and groan worthy. Other than that I thought it was great. The production could have so easily done this in a way where the characters weren't at fault, considering the settings, but instead went for the low hanging fruit there. There are so many scenes that build suspense really well. One in particular (you know the one) is very uncomfortable and the air is just thick with tension. And I really liked the soldier character, Segen. She was cool.

its a great book vagabondwillsmile and well worth a read if only for the wider ground it covers outside of the seemingly obvious.

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