Zee? Zed? “Z” for Zombies? I feel like Sesame Street could do a spot on that – Z is for zommmbie. And how do zombies act? Well these ones are fast, twitchy, never sleep, and are uuuuuuugly. The makeup on the close ups was very good, although a little inconsistent (are they black-veiny zombies or pale transparent zombies?) but, as the trailer will tell you, the group shots were sloppy. They had impact – the infectious mobs swarming city after city makes you shiver a little at the idea – but it looked more like Jerusalem was being attacked by Pixar than the walking dead. One aspect I did appreciate about this breed of zombie is that they go “dormant” when they’re not provoked. Left alone, they pass their time as any zombie would: pacing the halls, self-reflecting in a dark corner, and adopting the simple yet charming hobby of smashing one’s head into a wall.
Brad Pitt as a hero – great. As a father – yup. As a husband – well… First of all, it was hard to believe that the guy who, as his daughter says, “only makes pancakes” for a living, can just flip a switch and bam, he’s in planet-saving mode. Second, when he does flip that switch, the awesome hero still remembers to care about his family, which I suppose is a nice touch. Although it would have been easier to get rid of the family from the get go, it’s quaint to remember that he’s fighting for them as well as the human race; a little micro/macro sort of thing. Now as for the husband role, I will be perfectly honest and say Mireille Enos added nothing whatsoever to the development of the story. I get it, your husband’s off in god knows what country fighting zombies with Navy Seals who drop like flies, but he has a proven history of being abnormally lucky and you moping around about the whole situation isn’t doing anybody any favours. Stop it.
SPOILER ALERT: he said (he said) “I will CALL YOU,” so you DO NOT need to call him. For heaven’s sake woman, it’s not like he’s off in Vegas with the boys.
ALL CLEAR: After the first “safe point” she had maybe two lines, her sole purpose then being to look sad and worried. Well you did it champ. Now away with you so that we can watch Brad Pitt smack more zombies upside the head.
The film was mostly entertaining because it was Brad Pitt who played the hero. He’s just such hero material, you can’t blame him. It did, however, rely on quite a few zombie movie clichés: one bite and you’re out (although I liked the 10 second countdown), government safety tactics are thwarted, literally, by mindless killers and the power of music, the baseball bat is still the ultimate anti-zombie tool, and (my favourite) lines like “why can’t we go in sector B?” Classic.
There was a good amount of suspense, mainly from “why are you doing that!” moments, and a few good jump moments too, even when you’re fully aware that the possibility of a zombie lurking behind that door is HIGH. The hopeless causes kept the plot rolling and the conclusion was creative, although slightly ridiculous. One excellent feature was the zombie sounds; imagine the gaspy eye-hand guy from Pan’s Labyrinth with extra teeth clicking. Ooooaaarrrhhh. Shivers.
Better than Man of Steel – choose this one if faced with the option at the ticket booth – but not the zombie movie of the century. It was very entertaining and I appreciate Marc Forster’s effort to turn a zombie book into a zombie movie. The ending wrapped up everything important in 5 minutes or less then left you with a this-isn’t-a-conclusion-but-we’re-out-of-time-so-deal-with-it finale, but the main feature of the film was very watchable in a cringe-worthy, I think I’m done with my popcorn, kind of way. If zombies are your thing (or if 116 minutes of Brad Pitt will do it for you), go ahead and see it. Just don’t tell me I didn’t warn you that if the guy sitting behind you sniffs half way through you may seriously consider the idea that he is an infectious member of the walking un-dead.