Love and scandal are the best sweeteners of tea. —Henry Fielding

24 June 2013


I never watch zombie movies, really, so I am a totally uninformed and uneducated person when it comes to approaching World War Z. But I really enjoyed it.

World War Z is a bit of a strange amalgam of a film, really – each act feels very different from the others – but the whole was exciting and, while I would not quite call it suspenseful, the action was fun, the zombies were cool, and the movie was shot beautifully. Frankly, I would go so far as to say that for me the star of the film was Ben Seresin's photography.

In truth, the first thing that must be said about World War Z is that it is basically unrelated to Max Brooks's novel of the same name, a novel which reinvented the zombie genre through its innovative storytelling, and the audiobook of which won an Audie in 2007. The friend of mine who is the most expert in zombie lore called the book "one of the seminal pieces of zombie lit [...]. The book is incredibly harrowing. When you're reading it in a public place and someone sneezes you want to die." So, let's be clear and say that this film is not that.

But... it's exciting. And shot well, and the zombies move both very quickly and rather like a swarm of ants (as you can see in the poster), scrambling on top of one another as though they are basically of one mind, moving at the behest of some kind of interior collective pulse. All of that is fun.
The movie is strangely assembled, though, and we go from save-my-family action sequences in close quarters to James-Bond-style action sequences set in the public streets and airport of a city in Israel to a (really awesome) plane crash sequence to what becomes, finally, a rather standard zombie picture in a medical facility. Oddly enough, this works. World War Z has several very exciting set pieces, excellent special effects, and never has the over-saturated look of a standard Hollywood picture by (say) Jon Favreau, J.J. Abrams, or Joss Whedon. I was into it.