Thursday, June 27, 2013

World War Z

Last Friday, my wife and I saw "World War Z".  We actually saw a movie on opening night!  I can't think of the last time that happened.

The film is an adaptation of Max Brooks' book by the same title.  I'm most of the way  through the book, and if you haven't read it yet, you should pick up a copy.  It's not a novel in the traditional sense; it reads more like an anthology.  But it's a suspenseful book with interesting characters, culture and settings.

I knew beforehand that the movie would not follow the book's flow.  Otherwise, it would simply be a series of flashbacks from the view of many characters.  Instead, the film focuses around Gerry Lane, who had recently worked for the U.N. as a top operand with unmentioned skills. 

Lane is traveling with his wife and kids through Philadelphia just as a global outbreak strikes.  Originally labeled as a type of rabies, the infected become undead zombies with ravenous hunger, and their bites spread the infection throughout the population.

The U.N. wants to bring Lane to their secure outpost in order to utilize his skills in figuring out how to overcome the mysterious pandemic.  But in order to help the U.N., Lane and his family must first get to a place where they can be transported to safety.

This was a very suspenseful film.  So much so that my wife was practically clawing my arm off at points.  (Not that there's anything wrong with having a really attractive woman clinging to you.)  By the end, I couldn't believe that two hours had flown past.

The movie did a good job of covering the outbreak from a global perspective rather than staying focused around a single city or country.  And I think it was a good change of pace that it wasn't full of gore, hence the PG-13 rating.  This proves that you can still have zombies and the premise that goes with zombies (they eat people, can only be killed by destroying their brain, etc.) without having a blood-spangled guts-fest.  I've been so used to "The Walking Dead" that I hadn't considered another way of conveying a zombie story through visual media.

Another item that I both liked and disliked was how real it felt.  Rather than a group of individuals trying to escape from zombies, a family is trying to escape.  Not only that, but one of their kids has asthma.  As parents of three children, two of whom have chronic health conditions, that really hit home for my wife and me. 

I watched the movie in 2D because I'm just not into 3D films (yes, I've tried recently with "The Hobbit", and it just didn't do anything for me).  But I think regardless of the version you might choose, it will be entertaining and nerve-racking (in a good way).

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