Just got back from the midnight show of World War Z and as an avid fan of the Zombie genre, I have to say I was disappointed.
The comments I heard as leaving the theater were that it wasn’t a ‘scary’ movie, it was an action movie, and that was exactly the case.
The opening sequence had a few thrill moments, but beyond that it didn’t have the punch of something like The Horde or the outright creepiness we’ve all come to expect from The Walking Dead.
Beyond that, the story was good. Honestly not a bad adaptation of a novel that was nearly impossible to adapt. What really got me, and this is the spoiler alert, was all of the inconsistencies and plot holes.
The Satellite Phone – The UN Undersecretary gives Gerry a Sat phone and gives his wife one and sends him off to the other side of the globe (Korea in fact) in a C-130 (that would probably have to refuel every 2,000 miles) with their top doctor to find the cure for the plague. They don’t bother to send a charger and this sat phone only has a battery that is good for about 15 minutes of talk time. The only person that has another sat phone is his wife, not the UN guy, not any of the soldiers, not any of the medical personnel, Gerry’s wife has the sat phone and they talk on it twice before the battery goes dead. You would think the last hope of humankind would be expected to give regular reports to someone besides his wife…
Removing a Hand – Next we move on to a great scene where Gerry, our hero, is able to remove a hand with a swipe of a best pocket knife . Really? That’s not a lightsaber you are handling there. All I could think of was Jack Bauer using a Fire Axe to remove a hand in the finale of 24 Season 3 and how much harder Jack had to work on it and how much tougher Gerry is than Jack.
Explosive Decompression – From there we move to a great airplane scene where explosive compression blows zombies out of an airplane at mountaintop level in Scotland. The highest mountaintop in Scotland is 4,000 feet. Even if we hadn’t seen the Mythbusters Episode on Explosive Decompression, I’m sure it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that there’s now way it’s going to occur at 4,000 feet. That’s just silly.
Lost in the Secret Laboratory – Finally there is the climax of the film. Our World War Z hero, Gerry, is left alone in B wing of the WHO facility in Cardiff Scotland to retrieve items from a secret laboratory. He gets to the secret vault and there is a keypad. Apparently the people that sent him to the vault didn’t bother to give him the combination to the room. Fortunately one of the scientist was able to call him on the phone before he had to make a bunch of noise by breaking the window. What does our hero do then? In true World War Z fashion he is not able to punch the code in and open the door one handed, so he puts down his only weapon, a crowbar (which all Left 4 Dead players know is the worst Zombie weapon there is) and then leaves the crowbar on the OUTSIDE of the vault. Now, of course, he is trapped in the vault with no weapon by a super scary zombie with comically chattering teeth. Whatever is he to do. Of course! He must take the secret serum obtained in the vault in lab 139, but which one. He knows the scientists are watching by CCTV, knows there’s a phone nearby they can use to signal him, so what does he do? He rights a note “Tell My Family I Love Them!” (Which of course he’s already told them before he left and when calling on the Sat phone and they are in Nova Scotia nowhere near the scientists in Cardiff).
There is no problem with artistic license or bending the rules of physics here and there to make a story more fun. It’s the inconsistencies that make the main characters seem dumb or ignorant that are difficult to watch. Gerry was a UN investigator that had been in Liberia, Chechnya and a variety of other frightening places in the world, yet he’s not bright enough to keep his weapon when facing zombies? He can’t keep his sat phone charged? He doesn’t think to turn the ringer off when passing through a field of zombies silently? Maybe I’m spoiled by characters like Rick Grimes who’s failing isn’t that he does dumb things, it’s that he has trouble making and living with hard decisions. At the end of the day World War Z is a forgettable action movie with three or four cool zombie sequences in it. Dialog is fair, story is OK if you take out the dumbness, there’s no plot twist and no one you really care about gets eaten. Zombie fans watch it if you must, but wait for the Blu Ray, everyone else, enjoy it with some popcorn.