There’s a lot of power in a word. For instance: I can bang a chick for months, years, as long as the broad wants. But, the second she wants to be my girlfriend, my giant dick gets softer than day old mozzarella. The term girlfriend changes everything. You throw that in and suddenly I’m sitting in the changing room at Macy’s, holding a designer purse, while my “girlfriend” is trying on the same dress for the millionth time. Fuck. That. Shit. One word can change everything. And, in World War Z, that word is zombie.
World War Z is about a zombie outbreak. But it isn’t. Not even close. These things share nothing in common with zombies. They bite like piranhas, swarm like geese, and make noises like raptors. They’re basically invulnerable, they even point out that head shots don’t always work, and can also magically turn into a river of bodies and destroy an entire city in seconds. There’s not much more of a plot beyond Greasy Haired Tyler Durden trying to stop them.
Now, admittedly, World War Z isn’t a bad summer film. It’s pretty fucking fun, honestly. There are some tense set pieces, clear action scenes, and a straightforward plot. It turned out remarkably coherent for all the behind the scenes drama that plagued this film.
But, not to get all nerdy and technical, this isn’t a zombie movie. The entire point of a zombie is that they’re weak alone but dangerous in numbers. These Piranha-Raptor-Goose-Monsters are nearly God like in their power. They seem to communicate telepathically. They can turn into rivers that scale walls. They even show one surviving being burned to an ashy char.
And, for as entertaining as this film is, the fact that they’re not fighting zombies changes everything. For instance, if your zombies can turn into a fucking river, and murder everything in front of it, humans don’t stand a chance. In fact, humanity would be wiped out within a few hours if that was the case. Cause you can’t fight a God damn river, even if it’s a river of dead human bodies.
Thus the Piranha-raptor-goose-monsters terrorize everyone in a way that takes away the entire conceit of a zombie flick, which is, break down humanity and dissect it under a microscope. Because that’s what any zombie movie worth it’s salt is about. It’s not about scares. It’s not about gore, though that’s always welcome. It’s about showing what humans are capable of at their worst and greatest. World War Z misses that boat by a mile. Everyone is too worried about fighting off Piranha-raptor-goose-monsters to actually ponder deep and meaningful questions.
So I guess the success and failure of this film lies with you. Do you like pointless action pieces? Or do you like your film with a little subtext? If you like subtext, WWZ probably isn’t for you. If you like Brad Pitt’s greasy hair, flowing in the wind while attacking invulnerable piranha-raptor-goose-monsters, well then World War Z is probably for you.