Thursday, September 27, 2018

MAGA versus the Neo-Zombies

I'm not a great fan of zombie flicks, but I sort of liked this one. Brad Pitt stars an UN-affiliated special investigator who is caught up in a “zombie” apocalypse of unknown provenance. The first part of the film feels like every other zombie apocalypse you've ever seen: suburbia turns into zombie sprawl, “we have to get to the roof of that abandoned building”, the military mysteriously makes it, etc. Things eventually get more interesting. The finale has suspense, drama and some original twists.

It's interesting to note that the zombies very quickly get de-humanized in this production. In other zombie films, it's a cliché that some grandmother or other loved family member turns into a flesh-eating monster, and we're not supposed to forget that the undead are really “us”. Indeed, this is what makes zombies so scary to many people! In this story, the zombies don't really feel human at all, not even when you see humans “turn”. They remind me more of weird aliens or swarming insects: bizarre, dangerous, incomprehensible…but not really evil in the strict sense. And definitely not “us”.

For whatever reason, I liked this approach better.

The “politically correct” aspects of the film feel forced. Sure, the UN deputy general secretary is African, but the real heroes are all White males (except an Israeli elite soldier – no surprise there), while the poor womyn and girlz sit at home, more worried about their man than the end of the world. Blaaah! It was rather funny to watch the scene where Israel (of all places) opens the Wall to Palestinians, only to be punished for its sudden peacenik conversion by murderous “zombie” invaders (or is it a metaphor for ISIS?). As usual, the US military turns out to be the saviors of the world…

My problem isn't so much with these stereotypes, per se, but that Hollywood thinks they don't show if they tack on some token minorities. Pro-tip: either go all the way *or* stay with the usual tropes. Except for the zombie trope, which was given a necessary overhaul in this flick.

In the end, I give “World War Z” four stars.

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