Movie Review: World War Z

View Date: 6/29/13

Some spoilers below.

World War Z is a fun, action romp, if you can ignore some logical inconsistencies.

Brad Pitt delivers an excellent performance as Gerry Lane, a man who gave up a globe-trotting life of adventure as a U.N. investigator in order to settle down and concentrate on his family–wife and two daughters. When the zombie apocalypse breaks out, he is forced back into his previous life in order to safeguard the family that means more to him than anything else.

He accompanies Andrew Fassbach, a virologist played by Elyes Gabel, protected by a SEAL team, to a U.S. military base in South Korea, trying to track down patient zero. Fassbach is an enthusiastic admirer of Nature as a b*tch out to get everyone. He was a welcome bit of–not light-heartedness, but reduced intensity.

When Fassbach dies in an accident, Lane goes on to Israel alone, following a lead from a CIA agent. Clues he saw in Philadelphia, South Korea, and Israel send him on to a U.N. medical research facility in Wales.

They don’t find a cure, but they develop a ‘camouflage’ technique to make themselves ignored by the zombies. This involves infecting themselves with deadly, but treatable diseases.

Lane is reunited with his family and we have a happy ending. Roll end credits.

Now for some of the logical flaws, as I saw them.

1. I am not a medical researcher, but I wouldn’t think you would need patient zero to develop a vaccine. Any infected individual should do to find the virus and develop a vaccine. This seems like a MacGuffin to allow Lane to jet all over the world. This is reinforced in Wales, when he is told about (and shown on videotape) a researcher who accidentally infects himself while looking for the virus in infected blood. Also, someone in this line of work should be more careful, knowing the consequences of an accident.

2. The zombies in this movie are single-minded (heh) in spreading the infection. They don’t eat, they bite and move on. This seems like an intelligent response, not something of a mindless stimulus.

3. The initial infection (in South Korea) took 10 minutes to develop, but Lane sees 10-second infection times everywhere. That seems like quite a jump.

4. A 50-foot wall was built around Jerusalem very quickly, probably within days, at just the first hint of the zombie plague. That seems impossible given the fast spreading nature of the virus.

5. The zombies got over the Jerusalem wall by climbing over each other, attracted by the sound of singing inside. I don’t fault that, but the Israelis should have known by now that sound was a bad thing and not allowed it to continue. Also, where were the helicopter gunships that should have been patrolling around the city? They showed up later when it was too late to stop the incursion, why not before to prevent it? This appeared to be just a way to force Lane to move on to Wales.

6. The nature of the camouflage technique is both temporary and borderline. Sure they ignore you if you have a deadly disease, but you have to cure yourself before you die of it, then you’re right back in the same boat. How many different diseases are there that will both provide protection and allow for a cure? Once you have been cured of a disease, are you immune from catching it again? If so, then you have to use a different disease next time. At some point any one particular person will not be able to use this technique.

7. How do the Zombies tell you have a disease? I can imagine smell might be one way, but the human nose can’t tell disease by smell. How does a zombie enhance a human’s basic wetware to do that? Even if they can, scenes show zombies running at full speed past, presumably diseased people. They would have to detect the disease from yards away in order to avoid the person at that speed.

8. Oh, yeah. Something that is common with all zombie movies. They are dead. No breathing, no heartbeat, no blood flow. Human cells start to die without at least oxygen. Nerve/brain cells go fairly quickly, but even the more robust muscle cells will die after a few days without oxygen, so how can they continue to function as muscles? How do the zombies move at all, much less at high speeds and with extreme strength?

Anyway, those are the logical flaws. I don’t regret seeing the movie, as I said, it is a fun action romp. Go see it, if that is your thing, and try to ignore everything I’ve said here.

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