Review: World War Z

World War Z is a pretty awesome book, showing the aftermath of a decade long zombie war, accounting for the various changes (religious, political, and otherwise) that such an event would bring about. If you haven’t read it (and aren’t completely anti-zombie), I can’t recommend it enough. It’s really a neat book.

World War Z, on the other hand, is a pretty good film and has next to nothing to do with the book–other than the title and the semi-eponymous zombie threat.

If you read nothing else here, just know this: just forget about the book for a few hours. It will make the movie that much better.

Throughout the film, we follow  Gerry Lane, a vaguely specified ex-UN agent of some sort that is apparently the ‘best of the best’, although the film does a far better job telling us this rather than actually showing us. Still, he still has his action chops and throughout the film I was honestly both worried for his survival while at the same time knowing that of course he would survive (at least until the end) because that’s just how the genre works.

The story itself is pretty standard zombie far, although I was impressed just how quickly they get into it. Unlike a lot of disaster movies, there’s probably less than ten minutes to get to know the characters before we actually get into the action. That’s not something you see every day and really, I appreciated it.

One downside to the film, although it gets a bit meta, is that if you’ve seen the trailers, you’ve already seen all of the big action scenes. It was still worth it to see them in their proper context and to get to the non-actiony parts. The final strike back at the zombies requires a bit of a suspension of disbelief (yes, it does happen in nature, but it’s a bit hard to believe that absolutely none of the zombies run contrary to the general nature).

Oddly, I think my favorite part of the movie had nothing (directly) to do with the zombies at all: the ‘Tenth Man’ rule that Israel has in the film. Essentially, if nine men on their ruling council all agree on something then it is the job of the tenth to play Devil’s advocate and assume that the opposite is true. In this case, nine men assume that zombies can’t possibly be real, so it falls to the tenth man to take the threat seriously. Honestly, it’s a great idea. I wish we had more of that in the real world.

Overall, it’s a rather solid movie. If it weren’t for a pretty enjoyable summer / year so far and so many other (theoretically) good movies in theaters right now (I’m hoping to see at least Man of Steel and probably a few others that are in theaters already…), it could easily take a top 5 spot. As it is, I’ll put it right below Django Unchained. A solid movie, but probably not one I’ll ever seek out again.

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