We took the day off here at the the DGIS Institute and I treated the interns to a matinee. Since I haven't seen it yet, we watched World War Z... Spoilers coming.... Now I generally don't rant when I have a problem with a movie, but there were too many problems with this one.
Hollywood has been making movies for over a century, how can they make these kind of mistakes. How can they drop a hundred million on a film, watch the end product and say, "That's great, get it out there." when it is so obviously flawed?
We'll start at the beginning.
Brad Pitt & family are having a nice pancake breakfast. The tv is on and you hear something about rabies on the news. Next scene the family is in downtown Philadelphia for some reason and the zombie plague hits out of nowhere. The Pitt family is stuck in traffic. Oh, no, a family stranded, what can they do? Miraculously a crazy garbage truck driver starts plowing through the traffic opening a lane and Pitt follows him out of the traffic jam.
Now, I usually give an allowance in films for unlikely things to happen so that is the one they get.
Out of the frying pan and into the fire. Only moments after getting out of the traffic jam the Pitt family gets in a car accident. Uh oh, now they are in trouble; zombies all around, they have no way out, how are they gonna do it? What special U.N. training does Brad have that will save his family while everyone around them is perishing??? They happen to find an abandoned RV with the keys in it. In down town Philadelphia mind you. That nobody else trying to save themselves thought to get in. Oh, and it has a rifle.
Brad turns to his wife and says, "We need to get out of the city." Now that's smart thinking, when a zombie outbreak occurs the last place you want to be is in a populated area, so where does Brad go? The Poconos maybe, central PA. farm country? No, he takes his family to Newark, New Jersey. He and his family deserve to die. Newark isn't a city you want to go to on a Pleasant Valley Sunday, let alone a zombie armageddon. Why the hell would he take his family to a large metropolitan city after fleeing one? Especially so close to New York where another 8 million zombies are running amuck. Not to mention he would have had to drive through Trenton to get there, along the Jersey turnpike, which I assume would have been full of cars leaving the NY/NJ area. But no, they some how just end up in Newark.
Pitt, who we come to learn used to work for the U.N. in some sort of capacity phones his U.N. contact. They decide he can help so send a chopper for him and his family. They get rescued and are taken to a ship in the Atlantic.
They tell Brad they need him to help stop the zombie plague but in true cinematic hackney fashion he declines, he is in effect, the gangster who refuses to do the one last job, the retired detective who gets pulled back in for one last case. The reluctant warrior who gets sent on one final mission. Why doesn't he want to? What's his big beef with the U. N? Far as we can tell he quit to be a stay at home dad and he wants to stay with his family. So how do they get him to do the one last job? Tell him that he and his family will be removed from the ship if he doesn't help.
So now Brad is aboard. It is his job to shadow some young wunderkind health worker whom the powers that be think can stem the outbreak. Not really sure why Brad is there since they are also sending some Navy Seal type guys to protect the wunderkind. Anyways, they go to S. Korea where they believe the outbreak began. Upon arrival it is kind of eerie, we know the wunderkind has to buy it because Brad is the star, but how is it going to happen, one zombie? A whole hoard? What original, grisly death does the writer have in store for the wunderkind?...he trips and shoots himself. Now Brad is in charge. In S. Korea, he learns, nothing. He is tipped off that Israel knew about the impending zombie plague, go there and learn more he is told. So he goes.
Israel tells him they learned about the coming plague by picking up radio signals from somewhere in India, they don't know where so again we learn nothing, it's about this time that the writer realizes he doesn't have anywhere to go either, so as Brad is talking to an Israeli soldier he saved, he suddenly figures it out, in a true Matlock type moment, he realizes what needs to be done. All by the luck of conversation, you know kind of like in Independence Day, or any other film where the protagonist says, "W..what did you just say?" or "Say that again! No the first part!..That's it!!!"
This is getting long so I'll just skip to the end where suddenly Brad starts talking to us in voice over like Red in Shawshank Redemption. He goes on about how the ending is just the beginning and we need to help each other to survive ...Suddenly this is a narration movie. We don't know why the plague started, how it ends, nothing. Oh yeah, and the zombies don't eat people they just bite you once and move on. So not sure how Brad's solution really works since the zombies don't eat people. Did I mention the zombies don't eat people?
Subplots that go nowhere: When escaping from Newark they take some kid with them who goes on to do absolutely nothing. When the powers that be think Brad is dead, they ship his family to a refugee camp in Nova Scotia, Brad learns of this and gets mad as hell and then...nothing. He meets them at the end of the film and they hug during the "Red" Pitt Shawshank voice over.
Now some will say, if you had read the book you'd know why certain things happened, but a movie should work on its own.