Geozombie: Thoughts on World War Z

May contain zombies! And spoilers.

I wonder if I enjoyed WWZ so much because I had low expectations. All I knew was that it had a troubled production and it didn’t set Metacritic on fire. It was more tense than I expected, gruelling at times, and fun.

Gerry, Brad Pitt’s character, has Ellen Ripley’s bad luck and Jessica Fletcher’s death-magnetism. It seemed like everywhere he went, danger followed. The troops in South Korea were holding up okay; Jerusalem was safe enough. Then here comes Gerry, ruining life for everyone.

I expected the CIA guy in jail in Korea to do more than send Gerry to Israel, particularly because he played by an easily-recognisable face in David Morse. I thought he’d end up going with Gerry, or somehow, inexplicably, arriving in another location. He just seemed like he’d have another purpose, besides offering the North Koreans as role models

When the CIA fella mentioned that people in Israel had been building walls for two millennia and had conveniently just stopped, I thought we were about to uncover a prophecy. I was glad we didn’t. But why suggest that angle if it’s not going to be used? Simply as a geopolitical lesson?

I know the book explores how different cultures deal with zombies, but the rare times the film did too, it felt forced, like a homage to the book, and not an organic part of this story.

The explanation of Gerry’s job and justification of sending him to find a cure was cloudy.  He’s not a soldier or a scientist, he’s just a UN investigator who’s ‘been in some dangerous places’?

The plane scene was the worst in the film. The zombies couldn’t see them because the entire section was sleeping at the same time, and they were hidden behind a curtain? And stacking luggage vertically had a chance of holding off an attack? Let’s detonate a grenade? Stupid

Early on it seemed like the film would turn into Where in the World is Brad Pitt? Given how quickly Gerry went from Philly to Newark to a boat to Korea to Israel, it felt more like a geography lesson. I was glad that we only had one location to visit after that. Even if it was Wales

In real life, of course, not everyone in Wales is Welsh. But is it not weird to pick a location, overtly use the name of that location, then not feature any natives? I thought of Unleashed, a martial arts film set in Glasgow starring well-known Glaswegians Jet Li, Morgan Freeman and Bob Hoskins. I don’t think anyone in the film was Scottish. Why bother pointing out where your setting is, if you’re not going to make it feel real?

I enjoyed seeing my hometown of Glasgow in WWZ, as George Square doubles for Philadelphia in the opening scene. Seeing my city pose as another wasn’t distracting, surprisingly. The only time it looked odd was when e saw an aerial shot, and it was of a totally different city

If you think seeing George Square being overrun by zombies is unusual, go there on a Saturday night

Horror escape scenes are always more fun when the protagonist is hindered. And early on in WWZ, Gerry was restricted. What was holding him back? His kids. He had to push one in a trolley, one wouldn’t stop crying. Hey, parents, if you think it’s tough getting little Sally out to school, just wait until Z-Day

The stealthy vault-entry scene in the WHO wins Most Tense Scene in the film. But honourable mention goes to: the opening, and getting to the roof of the Newark apartment

Not to the WHO: I always WD-40 my doors in the event of a zombie invasion


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