Note: This appeared in the print-only TV Guide of the Marshall Independent.
The Zombie Apocalypse is coming and we’ve got to be ready!
In 2003 Max Brooks published “The Zombie Survival Guide” describing in detail how to survive the Zombie Apocalypse, based on historical zombie outbreaks going back to ancient Egypt and the Lost Colony of Roanoake. Brooks followed this up in 2006 with “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War,” upon which “World War Z” is loosely based.
A 2009 epidemiological analysis conducted at Carleton University and University of Ottawa, concluded an outbreak of zombies “is likely to lead to the collapse of civilization, unless it is dealt with quickly.”
In 2012 the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) published “Preparedness 101: Zombie Apocalypse” as a graphic novel.
Tax law specialist Adam Chodorow of the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, recommended enacting special tax laws for the undead which treat zombies like people suffering from Alzheimer’s or in a persistent vegetative state.
Neuroscientists Bradley Voytek and Timothy Verstynen have created detailed descriptions of the zombie brain, paving the way for possible countermeasures.
In 2012 the Kershaw knife company introduced the Camp 18, a 24 inch machete with an 18 inch carbon steel blade.
According to the Kershaw website, “Whether you’re whacking zombies or underbrush, the Camp 18 is the tool of choice.”
Zombies appear to have mutated from a horror movie plot to a long-running practical joke – sometimes with a point.
The CDC publication was in fact a humorous primer on disaster preparedness. That whimsical Kershaw ad is a delicate way of pointing out their camp tool is a formidable hand weapon as well. And lately “Zombie Walks” have emerged as a form of social protest/street theater.
The word “zombie” came into English in 1929 from Haitian creole via the book “The Magic Island” by William Seabrook, a journalist and disciple of occultist Aleister Crowley. It was popularized by the Bela Lugosi film “White Zombie” (1932.)
The modern zombie revival started with George Romero’s “Night of the Living Dead” (1968) and numerous sequels.
Well 45 years later things have gotten a lot worse.
Former UN investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) his wife Karin (Mireille Enos) and daughters are stuck in a traffic jam when mayhem breaks loose down the street. Gerry witnesses a zombie jump on and bite a man, and cooly counts the seconds it takes the bitten to turn.
That’s bad, very bad. The first part of the movie is the Lane family escaping to a high-rise rooftop where they are evacuated by Gerry’s old boss to a Navy ship, picking up another kid on the way.
Gerry is pretty much blackmailed to lead a world wide search for Patient Zero.
“Hey, we’ve only got so much room on this ship and your family are dead weight…”
First stop, Korea. It was China in the book but these days the movie industry tip-toes around anything Chinese. That’s a potential billion tickets after all.
Second stop Israel, where the Israelis have fortified themselves behind a high wall. This has caused some controversy among those who see it as justification for the so-called “apartheid wall” the Israelis built to keep murder-bombers out. That and the Israelis are shown saving Palestinians as well as their own. Gasp! The horror!
Here Gerry picks up a companion, a female soldier Segen (Daniella Kertesz) and confirms if you amputate a zombie-bitten limb fast enough you can save the rest of them.
It’s in Israel the film introduces one genuinely interesting and thought-provoking idea among all the gory fun. Watch for “the tenth man” scenario.
From Israel Gerry and Segen escape to Wales and a research laboratory which just might hold the key to a biological counter-zombie measure.
As an action movie “World War Z” is kind of dumb fun. They had sense enough not to make the action non-stop, instead interspersing it with periods of relative calm and nail-biting tension.
There isn’t a lot of character development. The extra kid is picked up after his parents are killed, but nothing is done with him. The relationship between Gerry and the brave and beautiful Segen could have been interesting, but she’s mostly just along for the ride.
The movie ends as the tide turns in humanity’s favor and leaves room for a sequel. If it happens I’ll see it. If not that’s fine too.
Like I said, dumb fun.