Ok, I've finally had the time to go & check out "World War Z" starring Brad Pitt and I must say that I was pleasantly surprised with the film!
Having read the Max Brooks' novel, I was curious as to how it could have been properly adapted into a motion picture narrative. The answer: it doesn't! This movie is related to the novel in name only & some concepts. That being said, I still think this movie is a great addition to the genre.
Despite all of the hoo-haa about "slow" zombies & "running" zombies, in this case it really doesn't matter. The film sets a fast pace and furthers the tired-genre by infusing new, titillating ideas regarding the zombie outbreak. This is very important...to break new ground in this genre.
I really liked the concept of the zombies being ferociously attracted to living humans as food. So ferocious, in fact, they swarm like ants and will do anything to get to the food source. Mindless, constantly biting, crawling, running over each other to get to the next meal. This film displays this characteristic in spades. The breach of the walls of Jerusalem is a spectacle to be seen and is the defining moment of this one characteristic of the zombies during the course of the film. To see hundreds of thousands of living dead in such volume as they appear like a tidal wave in the alleyways and streets of the ancient city. Never have the walking dead been portrayed as such and with such conviction & realism.
Also, the viral infection spreads incredibly fast; somewhere in the area of about 12 seconds from initial bite, to death, to reanimation, to zombie. That's fast. The scenes of pandemonium in the streets during the onset of the outbreak (from the protagonists initial view of it) is thrilling and scary. At times, the scene is so chaotic, I couldn't tell who was a zombie and who was alive!
That's about as far as it goes into the explanation of it all. It shows plenty of attacks that imply that the victim is being eaten, but it is never truly shown. In the way the movie is constructed, it doesn't have to. It shows that the viral infection is spread through bites, but not necessarily through bodily fluids. Amputation of an extremity is shown as an effective method for stopping the spread of the virus, if caught in time. The films also states that destroying the infected can only be effectively accomplished by destroying the brain or severing the head from the body.
I only had one small problem with the story, it bothered me as a fan of the genre in general. The protagonist, during his dangerous globe trotting to find "patient zero", discovers that the zombies do not attack living humans who have a disease or virus; effectively the zombies can sense who is sick and they don't bother those humans. That's a great plot device, using another virus to use as camouflage to the zombies so they don't attack you. As Pitt put it : "Like water flowing around a rock." Interesting concept, but this is what gets me: that implies that the living dead have the ability or extra-sensory ability to determine what human is sick and what human is healthy enough to eat. Where'd that power come from? I mean, we know when we get sick ourselves (most of the time)& other people can kind of tell if your sick with certain things- but it doesn't seems to work for this film. I mean, these things are so fast, what gives them this ability to sense that in such a short time? They are just dead humans after all, I didn't really see any examples of superhuman abilities portrayed by the zombies other than this trait. They're just wild, biting, gnashing, hunger-driven, animal-like dead people who would stop at nothing to get to the food...then, all of a sudden, they have this ability? Eh, suspension of disbelief saves the day! It is a zombie flick, you know!
Hey, it's a great film and I suggest any genre fan to go and check it out for themselves. I think it is very well done, written and visually constructed. A very entertaining movie and definitely a mile-stone for the living dead genre of horror.