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Jun092013

Holy Swarming Zeds Brad (World War Z review)


Brad is that you? 

So I attended the press premiere of World War Z, in the small downstairs cinema at the Empire in Leicester Square, London. A lady from Paramount introduced the film by announcing there would be a special guest prompting someone loudly but sarcastically in the audience to shout out 'Who Brad Pitt?' only for Brad Pitt himself to answer as he made his was down to the front. The audience went wild with adulation and near hysteria as Tyler Durden himself introduced the film. I also attended the free Muse concert which followed the main red carpet premiere and it was pretty kick ass, the band played for over 45 minutes. The connection? Muse did the soundtrack and I remember the score being pretty cool throughout although I didn't realise it was Muse.

"Listen up, maggots. You are not special. You are not a beautiful or unique snowflake. You're the same decaying organic matter as everything else." Tyler Durden.

Come on critics say something interesting!

Now it's true that some press have savaged the film, mainly because despite the fact it has been clear for well over a year that the film was only loosely based on the book, it still remained the biggest stick to beat the film with. That and the fact the film is a straight up popcorn action flick, with little depth or substance with spriralling budget costs and re-writes (but hey plenty of films have suffered this, including Titanic). I have to say that despite the film only nodding to the book in short segments, the enormity and scale of the action and zombie apocalypse on show here is just incredible to behold. If you like 28 Days later and wish to see that concept taken to a global scale, then World War Z is for you. In many ways it's as if every low budget and half decent zombie film was leading to something this epic, and from that respect there is very little original, aside from the swarming almost insect nature of the zeds. But World War Z uses old horror and zombie film tropes to it's advantage, in fact much of what you get to see I had only seen described in books.

This film does for zombies what Hitchcock did for birds! 

"Listen to me! You have to consider the possibility that God does not like you. He never wanted you. In all probability, he hates you." Tyler Durden.

So......

Ignore the critics this film is great fun! Ignore the tainted production history and slightly low key ending, if World War Z is to become a trilogy then it could be something really special. Who knows the second film might even give some background to Brad's character and some more set pieces from the book such as the awe inspiring 'Battle of Yonkers'. For my full in depth review go here

The Book

But before you go lets first discuss the critically acclaimed book that the film in truth shares very little other than the name from. Here are some facts for you.

1) Author Max Brooks is the son of legendary comedian, actor and writer Mel Brooks. But it's worth noting that he doesn't share his father's zany sense of humour.... well not in these books anyhow.

2) Brook's first book was The Zombie Survival Guide (2003), which did literally what the title says, i.e. detailing tips and tricks on how to survive if the dead start rising up and getting bitey. This first outing is a fun read but is very dry and lacks the depths of it's follow up (there is even a graphic novel companion book called Recorded Attacks, which is well worth a read).

3) World War Z was released in 2006 and is a collection of individual personal accounts. It is said to be inspired by The Good War, an oral history of World War II by Studs Terkel. Brooks takes the role of an agent of the 'United Nations Postwar Commission', collecting personal accounts a decade after the story's 'Zombie War'. Hence Brad's role in the film. Other passages examine the decade-long war against zombies, as experienced by people of various classes, cultures and nationalities. The personal accounts also uncover how the religious, geo-political, and environment changes following the war.
 
4) Brooks used World War Z as a satirical knife to cut through government ineptitude and American isolationism, while detailing paranoia and the sheer lengths man will ho to survive. The book is by far the most compelling and intelligent zombie book every written.


The quick the bad and the undead

It's worth noting also that the zombies in the book are not the raging fast kind that feature in the book. Brooks paints the zeds as a never ending shambling tidal wave of undead. Potent only because of their numbers and the fact they don't need sleep, air, or food to continue their one purpose of feeding and infecting. Clearly Brooks was inspired by the Romero zombie films when he wrote both novels. Zombies here are potentially a metaphor for the ever expanding global population, as humans plunder all natural resources and trample over the poor and weak.

Now here's Tom with the weather!