Friday Flix: World War Z

friday flix jae scribblesTime again for another edition of Friday Flix. I had a tough time choosing. I recently also saw Tucker and Dale vs. Evil and Warm Bodies. But at the end of the day, being able to talk about Peter Capaldi won me over, so away we go!

World War Z is one of those clever titles you wish you’d come up for your story—at least in amount of cleverness. It just works, don’t you think? I’d heard good things about this flick, but hadn’t gotten around to seeing it until earlier this week when a friend decided she wanted to see it again for her birthday. And away we went!

What is World War Z about?

United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.

Thrilling, right? Actually, this description points to something I wondered about a great deal of the movie, and we’ll get to that in a second.

THE GOOD

They had a theme running through the movie that they stuck to and this theme is what helps Brad (Gerry) survive some crazy stuff: movement is life or movimiento es vida (extra points for some Spanish learning). Because Brad doesn’t hesitate when others would languish in their cars or scream in the streets for FEMA to save them, he moves, and he survives. Having a recent interest in survivalism, I appreciated and took this theme to heart. You hesitate in those situations, you probably die. Count on yourself to save you and if someone else comes, great.

The zombies were formidable. Although part of me wants to say, okay, so how can corpses run really fast? They’re corpses for crying out loud! But I was willing to shrug it off to probably explained in the book for the sake of story. The whole movie you’re thinking, “Whoa! How are they going to stop these zombies? They’re practically invincible!” Seriously, even mostly crispy, burnt zombies can still get you. I like a good formidable opponent in a story. So A+ for that.

Okay, and don’t get me started on the awesome female soldier who kicked butt even AFTER sustaining a major debilitating injury. She has every reason to quit and go home, but she sticks with Brad to make sure humanity has ever chance of survival. And she wasn’t in love with him, she was just another comrade. I don’t know if I’d call it Bechdel-approved, but it’s certainly a positive step.

Story-wise, I loved how it built over time to add line upon line of tension. It seemed to follow Donald Maass’ recommendation of how can it get worse for your characters (likely because it was first a novel). I think you’ll have a good time watching this one. I also didn’t find it over-the-top gory or serious senseless violence, at least it seemed far less gross than Walking Dead.

THE BAD

About halfway through the movie I found myself wondering what exactly Brad’s character did prior to this movie and what made him so integral to the plot. It seemed like pretty much any GI Joe could have done his job. I guess his super power is he pays attention good? It’s a nitpicky thing, but I couldn’t see why he was integral to the story other than we were told. It would have helped if we knew just a little more about Brad’s character before. Like his weaponry skills weren’t all that awesome and I didn’t see him negotiate with anyone in any impressive sort of way. And since the temporary running military force was running short on resources, I couldn’t see why Brad was suddenly that important.

Maybe one of you all can tell me. But it said something to me about story. We may have in our head an idea or several ideas about what qualifies our characters to be our protagonist, but let’s make sure the readers get that sense too. And I’m betting the book does, but the movie needed it, too.

I also had major issues with the introduction of a certain character that might as well have been listed as Dude #5 for how long he stuck around. They spent forever talking this dude up on how he was going to save the day—and then he was out of the picture for the rest of the movie. As far as I could tell he was only there to deliver one piece of information to Brad that helped him come up with the solution at the end of the movie. I just think it could have been done a better way. It seemed so abrupt you almost weren’t sure that was the end of his part in the story.

Okay, one small thing on logistics. They have a cargo plane take off from an aircraft carrier. Any of you see the problem with that? Do you remember Top Gun? They have to hold those jets in place while they gear up, like Marty did in Back to the Future with the DeLorean. And even then, as my air force friend explained, the jets tend to dip a little once they go off the runway before being airborne. So talk to me about how a cargo plane is making that run… Nitpicky, I know. Not a movie killer, but it’s the details that can make or break a story sometimes. They’re important. Do your research.

THE CONCLUSION

I’d so go see World War Z, especially if you like zombies, especially if you like intense movies. It made me eager to check out the book. And let’s not forget what we started this post with, and that’s Peter Capaldi. For those that don’t know, he’ll be the 12th rendition of the Doctor. I giggled in the credits reading he was a W.H.O. doctor, you know before he became Doctor Who. Zing!

His part isn’t major, but I watched him and his expressions carefully for the few times he was on screen. I think he’s got the intensity the Doctor needs. I’m looking forward to meeting him in the near future.

Did you see WWZ? What do you think, worthwhile? Not? Anything else you noticed you’d nitpick about? Other things they did well? What’s been your favorite zombie movie you’ve ever seen? Are you ready for Peter Capaldi to take on the Doctor?

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11 thoughts on “Friday Flix: World War Z

  1. I watched WWZ with interest and found it to a whole ‘nuther level above Walking Dead. These zombies could have come from ‘I am Legend’. They were fast and pretty much unstoppable.
    There was an element of mystery, or ‘putting the pieces together’ throughout which wove a thread for the more observant to cling to. Dude #5 was a real shocker. Build up, build up, build up…he’s going to save the world for us. Oh…he’s gone. WTF? Not even a baton pass.
    So, with a healthy dose of suspension of disbelief (I didn’t even notice the aircraft carrier faux pa, and I worked with aircraft!), it’s a good, seat gripping adventure that goes further than any other zombie movie. Go see it!

    • I’ll second this comment. Despite a few little nitpicks, overall it’s still well worth the $$$ to see.

      Poor Dude #5. Can’t a dude get a chance? I think it might have been more interesting if he would have made it past that first hurdle and maybe met his end on the way out of there. At least it wouldn’t have been as abrupt.

      But my real question is, would you pull out all of your teeth?

  2. Didn’t watch WWZ, but I am excited for Peter to be the Doctor. He’s been a fan for a long time (have you seen the letters he wrote when he was 15?). I think he’ll be hardest on himself about being the Doctor than the fans ever could be.

    • Yeah, I watched an interview with him when they revealed him. The letter was cute. I’m glad a fanboy is getting the part. Tennant was a fan too. I’m hoping we get the same passion for the role, however Peter decides to interpret his Doctor. And I think we will.

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