Alpha-male-girly-man Brad Pitt single-handedly takes on the Zombie Apocalypse in “World War Z,” writes Kashif Ahmed.
Based on the trashy novel by Max Brooks (son of legendary funny-man Mel Brooks), director Marc Foster struggles to drag this meandering, bloated behemoth of a movie over the finish line.
UN investigator Gerry Lane (Pitt) is forced to find a cure for the global zombie epidemic or else his wife and kids will be booted off a US ship/command centre circling the Atlantic, and thrown back into the cannibalistic carnage tearing up the mainland.
The fact that the UN are portrayed as heroes should set the alarm bells ringing early on, as if after having spent years pushing Malthusian genocide programmes and immune-system destroying junk vaccines. Would the UN really try and stop something like a zombie plague or would they look for ways to spread the infection, not stem it?
WWZ isn’t a particularly good movie but it’s not entirely unwatchable either. Brad Pitt is an excellent actor and there’re some well-directed, suspenseful set pieces (eg Pitt and company trying to sneak past the undead in the WHO lab or the scene where his phone rings as he’s trying to tiptoe around some zombies at a US airbase in South Korea).
But the part I’d like to focus on for a moment is an action-packed, hasbara-heavy sequence in the illegitimate state of Israel.
We arrive in “Jerusalem, Israel” (they wish!) and are immediately forced to endure a stilted, cringe-worthy speech by a Mossad agent who informs us that the reason why Jews are so adept at handling disasters is because they’ve been through the holocaust, Munich Olympics and so on.
I recall the scoffs, groans and guffaws this scene provoked in the theatre, as an otherwise reserved, quietly unimpressed, audience openly expressed their disapproval.
We’re then treated to a short promo for Israel’s land grab Apartheid Wall, which keeps the zombies out of the “Jewish state.” But WWZ’s playing to a mixed crowd so naturally the Israelis are letting everyone in behind the safety of their Apartheid W … security fence. Even Palestinians are allowed back into their own country, is there no end to Israeli generosity?
Brad eventually escapes Israel when the proverbial hits the fan, and goes on the run with some buzz-cut doe-eyed sabra who (literally) lends a hand and ends up causing all kinds of trouble.
Daniella Kertesz gives a credible, very physical, performance as an IDF conscript, and the criminal regime in Tel Aviv may decide to award her with a tract of stolen land for her efforts. I mean, she does well to make Israel seem quite humane as opposed to the depraved, parasitic, rapist ridden cesspit of sparrow-boiling child killers that it actually is.
But what of the sub-genre itself? I’m sure you’ve all noticed the glut of zombie movies that have been made in the last decade: so why the revival?
Well, in the past, zombies were used to satirise corporate greed and materialistic banality, eg The Halperin brother’s “White Zombie” (1932) was a sinister tale of exploitation in which a local businessman/occultist played by Béla Lugosi commands a horde of zombie factory workers and plots the downfall of his rivals using the dark arts.
George A Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead” (1978) used the American shopping mall as a theatre of the absurd, where living and undead collide in a consumer-driven maelstrom of mayhem.
Zombies also represented the government’s indoctrination of the masses or the forcible detachment of the human being from any semblance of meaning in his or her life and weren’t always the bad guys, but victims who represented the macabre, systematic degradation of humanity.
The new (ie 2001-2013) Zombie movies, however, exchange irony and satire for desensitised violence and propagandistic dehumanisation on an industrial scale.
Most of these movies seem only to exist to depict gore, gunshot-wounds or offer up cheap thrills and low brow laughs for the ADD generation: Whether it’s the obnoxious, pro-colonial subtext in “Ghosts of Mars” or the anti-Teutonic hysteria of “Dead Snow,” “Outpost” and “The 4th Reich,” the zombie genre has been successfully hi-jacked and, appropriately enough, zombified by Zionism.
Even the marginally better “28 Days Later” decided that proletarian rage was a suitable scapegoat for the origins of the epidemic, after all, what have the people got to be angry about? The bloody ingrates.
Now “World War Z” is shameless in its pro-Israeli sentiment but I have to confess, I actually felt quite good about it and here’s why: It’s got to a point where audiences the world over know its propaganda. They know Israel is a criminal state. They know Israel did 9/11. They know they’re being lied to hence the increasingly unsubtle, almost manic, manner in which we’re subjected to a torrent of extremist Zionist rhetoric across every medium known to man.
The delusional, late-in-the-day re-imagining of Israel, whose heinous crimes and misdemeanours have long since stirred a sense of righteous indignation across the civilised world, no longer has the desired effect. Thus we can, to a certain extent, tolerate “World War Z” because we’re immune to its propaganda virus.
There was a time when WWZ would’ve been acceptable Israeli hasbara; willingly absorbed by the gullible masses. A time when Israel could tell us what to feel or think, who to hate and who to love. But as Zionist Rabbi Meir Kahane might’ve put it: That time is gone and its not coming back; not today, not tomorrow: Never Again.
World War Z is released on DVD and Blu-Ray on 21st October 2013.