World War Z attempts to stimulate your brain, eats it instead

world war zWorld War Z, the movie based on the novel by Max Brooks, is like a zombie—generally mindless, but entertaining when in action.

The movie begins with Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), a retired U.N. investigator, spending some quality time enjoying the traffic of Philadelphia when the zombie apocalypse begins in earnest. You are quickly thrown into the chaos that typically ensues when the undead begin to attack, and the scene gives the viewer the feeling of confusion and hysteria that the characters feel.

Gerry then leads his family and a recently orphaned child they pick up along the way to the safety of the U.N. on the U.S.S. Argus, 200 miles off the East Coast. To ensure that his family remain safe on the ship, Gerry must now lead a team of U.S. military personnel and an overeager young doctor to find a cure for the disease that threatens to eradicate humans.

If you were  only judging it by its action sequences and thrill factor, World War Z is not a poor film. The movie attempts to break from the traditional post-apocalyptic zombie genre by attempting to show the international political effects of a zombie apocalypse, showing that Israel and North Korea have withstood the attacks by enacting strict social policies.

The movie does veer into the territory of social commentary, but the effects are nominal at best. Political allusions litter the film: the first scene being zombies overrunning Philadelphia, the birthplace of the American Constitution, to signify how this terror has collapsed the American government. The film even attempts to demonstrate the breakdown of societal structures when a police officer surprises Lane by ignoring him when he shoots another person in order to loot a supermarket.

The film eventually finds the political commentary unsustainable. It fails to delve deeper into the political ramifications of the disaster and devolves into a poorly-paced action movie.

These small glimmers of hope, much like the hope the humans feel when facing the zombies, cannot save this movie from becoming a mere action movie that tries to be a social and political commentary on the reaction of the world to a zombie apocalypse.

Instead of focusing on the reaction of governments to this crisis, the film contents itself with tracing Lane’s journey to find a cure for the epidemic which leads him across the world . While this is a formula for a enjoyable action movie, it hardly creates the large scale political film the  filmmakers originally intended to make. The majority of the film consists of running from the zombies, hiding from the zombies, and distracting the zombies.

The performance of the actors shares the lifelessness of the undead. Although Pitt and a group of soldiers showed some emotion in reaction to the impending doom of humanity, the other actors did not even appear worried about the potential deaths of their families and friends.

Despite of the shortcomings of the film, it is above average for the action genre, with enough special effects and dynamic camera angles to satisfy people looking for some good thrills. The filmmakers tried to create the social and political commentary that Brook’s novel was, but unfortunately they gave in to the need to make a summer blockbuster.

World War Z opened in theaters on June 21.

 Photo: Imdb

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