When World War Z came out, it was much anticipated by those who read the book, as well as people who’d seen the previews and Brad Pitt fangirls. Unfortunately the movie just kind of… flopped, for lack of a better word. Inconsistencies with the book, unrelatable characters, and uneven, inconsistent story telling made what could have been an enjoyable action movie, a big, disgusting mess.
This article will be short in subjects, but will have no brevity when it comes to discussion of the key points, so boot up, strap in, and shutter the hatches.
- Book-Movie Inconsistencies
The constant complaint about any movie based upon a book is that it doesn’t follow the book closely enough, but in this case, it’s definitely warranted. The book and movie World War Z pretty much share a title and a genre, and almost nothing else.
The book itself is a collection of stories of survival and death, hope and hopelessness, loss and redemption, all collected by a travelling individual who was once a UN investigator, a role vaguely mentioned a handful of times regarding Brad Pitt’s character, Gary (Pronounced Jerry, for some godforsaken reason). In short, though some elements of the story are incorporated, they are usually done so in vague references. One scientist makes a reference to 5% of the population not showing immediate symptoms, but fails to portray what the book did. As with any virus, there will be those who are naturally immune, and those 5% were that segment of the population that had natural antibodies against the virus.
On and on these vague half references to the book are thrown out into the wind to be heard in conversations, but never even halfway explored. This does not do justice to the excellent piece of reading material that the book was, and certainly is a disservice to the readers.
2. Sudden Zombies
Throughout the entire movie, if there could be a zombie for dramatic purposes, usually accompanied by screaming, yelling, etcetera, there was. There never was not a convenient zombie, which is a shame because the possibility of a zombie can be used to extreme dramatic effect to keep the audience on their toes over, say, a mouse.
Take the very first action scene when the main character and his family are fleeing a street being flooded by zombies. They hijack an RV (Grand Theft Auto is ok during the apocalypse kids, just don’t get caught.) And immediately there’s a zombie. This scene will be mentioned later for another reason, but it was awfully convenient for that particular zombie to jump up and attack the RV for dramatic effect.
Later, as they’re leaving a supermarket, they run down the street towards a set of apartment buildings. As they run, an explosion erupts in front of them and zombies conveniently block their path so they can meet another family hiding out in the apartment complex they run into. Those zombies were awfully suddenly there in the exact convenient place for them to be, weren’t they?
Later, as they escape the building, Gary opens a door and scans the room inside before a sudden zombie is conveniently there to suddenly jump scare them and alert the other zombies for dramatic effect. How does a trained man scan a small boiler room and miss a zombie right in front of him? Who knows, not the movie.
This continues through the movie. Jumping forward to the “Escaping Korea” scene, a scene that will be mentioned again for a different reason, it sure was convenient for a sudden zombie to be hanging on the fence to alert the others when Gary’s phone went off.
Jumping forward to the escaping Jerusalem scene aboard the plane, it sure was convenient for there to be a random, sudden, convenient zombie stowing away aboard the plane.
Jumpin ahead to the escaping B-Wing scene, it sure was convenient for there to be a sudden dramatic zombie outside the door to the deadly diseases room, and it was even more convenient that he didn’t alert all his pals to Gary’s presence.
I’m sure I missed more than one convenient zombie, the point is, zombies are used as a kind of reverse deus ex machina where whenever they need drama or to create a problem or movie magic has to happen, there’s a convenient sudden zombie to upset the situation.
3. Inconsistent Zombie
The zombies have inconsistent strength and abilities throughout the entire movie. From the first action scene to the last, they’re inconsistent, and the scriptwriting is not cohesive. Let’s break it down, instance by instance.
In the RV scene, the zombie barely has the ability to hang onto an RV door while being awkwardly kicked and flailed at by a somewhat petite woman.
In the helicopter on the roof scene, the zombie barely has the strength to hang onto the skid of a helicopter, and is easily booted off with ant-crushing force.
In Korea, despite being alerted by consecutive super quiet (unrealistically quiet, as suppressors only lower the sound about 30 decibels, from 160 to 130 decibels) suppressed gunshots early in the scene, and other small noises throughout the movie, they completely ignore the main character’s escape attempt until his phone goes off. This is despite riding squeaky bikes, in the rain, and running into barbed wire.
The Israel action sequences are full of holes. Hole number 1: The zombies can hardly hang onto moving vehicles, but they can climb each other to get over a massive wall. Right, pull the other one, free candy comes out. Hole number 2: As they’re running through the shielded (from above) alleyways and walking paths, a zombie is able to grab a fully grown man in full military gear, 85-135 pounds of it, and lift him, through arm strength alone. Zombies that can’t hang onto cars can curl more on one arm than some professional bodybuilders. Sure… Hole number 3 comes when they fight inside a clay/brick building, and somehow defeat a whole horde of zombies with hand grenades. Zombies. The kind where you have to hit the head. Killed by non-targeted hand grenades. Ok… Cool, I guess…
Later, on the plane, zombies start making their way into Gary and his newfound friend Segen’s section, and Gary fends them off with a suitcase. Yup, they can build a wall out of themselves, curl 200+ pounds, and bring down a helicopter, but wackem with a suitcase and you’re cool.
I have a dozen more inconsistencies I could go on and on with, but I’m going to cut it off here. Suffice to say, World War Z is a terrible movie full of inconsistencies, bad writing, plastic characters, and poor overall plot. My favorite character was Segen, and only because she didn’t talk enough to feel fake. The rest can go hang.
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