Tuesday, July 9, 2013

World War Z - a movie review

Summary: go ahead and watch it at the theater. The movie has lots of action and a little suspense, but not a lot of mystery. It will keep you on the edge of your seat.

There will be spoilers, so beware. I made them white on white, so you have to highlight to see them. I mean, they aren't terrible spoilers - at this point you know the movie has zombies, right?

I'm a fan of Brad Pitt. You can't really disregard the talents the man has as an actor. I might even like him in real life. I wouldn't mind meeting him and I certainly would have loved meeting Jennifer Aniston, but have to admit that Angelina Jolie scares me a little bit.

Before I start the short review of the movie, let me make bring to light an interesting tidbit. 
Before I saw the movie (in fact, before I knew about the movie) I started writing Zombie Apocalypse: Vampire Raiders of Las Vegas. When I first wrote the title it was New York instead of Las Vegas, but things change as needed when writing. In the first chapter of the book I wrote about the zombies - how they act, how they change, what drives them. My zombies are amazingly like the ones in World War Z. This isn't a coincidence, because (at least in my mind) any writer who wants a believable explanation for actual zombies will invent a similar set of literary devices. Just wanted to be clear - I developed my zombies independently. Ditto for my vampires - and I'm still working on the werewolves and dragons for books two and three.
I just let that tidbit slip, didn't I?
Back to the movie!

Aside from the zombies, we have only one main character to learn to like - Gerry Lane. I tried to feel empathy for him, and succeeded to some degree, but it wasn't as easy as feeling the camaraderie for Bruce Banner in The Avengers, and I'm not a genius level superhero. Still, Gerry Lane is a good guy and wants to help even though he is coerced into it. When he chops off the Israeli soldier's hand to save her life I gave him a big thumbs-up.

Gerry Lane apparently has some extraordinary skills to help resolve the Zombie problem. Make no mistake, there certainly is a zombie problem. At one point a counter displays the mortality rate among the human population and it increases faster than the debt clock for the USA.

I'm never really sure what particular skills Gerry Lane brings to bear on the problem or what makes him especially unique and suited for the task. Using his skills keeps his family safely at sea; when the government thinks he's dead they toss his family off at the nearest "safe" haven. Wow. That's gratitude for you.

It is fun watching Gerry think. Maybe that's his unique skill and the government people who know him are amazed that someone can think. Okay, that was a little cynical. We are given the same information as Gerry, and they flash back a little so we don't miss the thought process, so the conclusion shouldn't be a big surprise. It wasn't.

What the movie has in abundance, besides zombies (and it certainly has a lot of those) is action! This is an action movie that will keep you on the edge of your seat and I like action movies. There isn't a lot of Hitchcock here and little if any subtlety, but it is a lot of fun and kept my adrenaline pumping.

My youngest son didn't want to see the movie. He read the book and loved it; he is afraid the movie won't live up to the book. Since I haven't read the book, I'm good with the movie…

Now the key question - how would I rate this movie? Well, with The Avengers being my top rank (so far) at a solid 9/10, and rating Man of Steel  at 8, I'd have to give World War Z a 6.5 (yeah, the 0.5 is a cheat). I like it well enough that I'll watch it again on television, but I don't plan to rent it or own it. It's worth seeing at the movie theaters, if only for the zombies. Go ahead and head to the theaters to watch it. You won't be disappointed.

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