31 August 2013

Is My Camo Working?

Okay, let’s get this out of the way: fast zombies are scary! My whole hail a cab and get away within the speed limit plan to get away from your classic zombie would be completely useless and goodness knows I am unlikely to outrun this lot.

I liked the chaos that started this movie. Caught in a traffic jam, the lovely Brad Pitt family participated in the running of the zombies and worked their way through a few vehicles and hiding places before being lifted from the roof of a New Jersey apartment building and flown off the coast to where the UN fleet is gathered. (I knew there would be a “world government” sub-plot in this!) Brad himself is a former UN worker, a specialist in difficult situations, and is recruited to help track down the cause of the zombie-ism or a solution to it.

There’s a whole lot of very long distance flying in a rather old-looking plane (and without refuelling stops!) and encounters with sprightly zombies at every turn. Of course, the medical specialist is an early casualty, but who need microbiology when you have heroism? We learn early that if you haven’t turned within ten seconds you are unlikely to have been exposed, but also that almost nothing will kill the zombies (twitching finger in the ashes of a cleansing fire a little creepy.

And yes, plenty of “clutch pearls” moments where I obligingly did my part to amuse my cinema pal. He was getting the D-Box treatment from all sides, what with me jumping around and gasping and the woman behind him kicking the back of his seat in her own “clutch pearls” reaction. Additional amusement from the elderly gentleman who was having trouble finding his way out of the cinema and opened the door to the well-lit fire escape a couple of times. (He seemed more classically zombie slow, not fleet and intent like the ones in the movie, so that was giggle worthy.)

Israel had built a wall, which I guess they have an unfortunate penchant to do, and it kept the zombies out until some religious zealots used a too-loud sound system to sing some kind of prayer or hymn, attracting the clever zombies in droves, swarming in giant pyramids over the walls. Lesson: keep your religious zealotry on the down low or risk zombie attack! The Israeli solution seemed clever, if suspicious…how did they know in advance to get to work on that wall? (Explained away in the film as excessive caution in their security approaches.) The North Koreans don’t come off nearly as well, apparently having protected themselves by removing everyone’s teeth (no teeth, no bite!).

Back to the escape from Jerusalem. Our hero’s pilot proves to be a bit jumpy and takes off without his charge, forcing Brad to board a Belarusian jet and ask them to fly him to the nearest WHO lab in Wales. They’re off and all seems well. Well, don’t assume that things will go well, not when a sneaky zombie has hidden in a cupboard! Here we have the ultimate test of the level of security provided by that little curtain between first class and economy. It works quite well until the zombies (by now, all those in steerage have been converted) notice! There are some extreme measures to try to stop them, resulting in a terrible crash that only our hero, his Israeli army woman friend and a clever zombie strapped into the seat manage to survive. It’s a good thing that zombies don’t know about that lifting the flap to release the buckle thing!

They barely make it to the lab, and Brad is out for days. He dreams and puzzles about the zombies ignoring a couple of people in the overrunning of Jerusalem, developing a fabulous theory about infecting people with fatal (but curable) diseases as camouflage to get past the zombies without attracting attention! It seems zombie-ism is smart enough to avoid the sick in order to ensure that healthy bodies with help it propagate (not really how natural selection works, but hey, it’s Brad Pitt’s theory, so that has to carry some scientific weight, no?).

While Brad, the Israeli soldier and the lab director make their way through the zombie-overrun B wing of the facility to get to the infectious agents, we get to see another side of the zombies. When not being stimulated by noise or having obvious targets to chase and bite, they fall dormant. Or dormant-adjacent anyway. They are almost comical with their slight screams and jaw-chomping movements.

Will Brad’s solution work? Or will he accidentally inject himself with something incurable and die that way? I’ve already given away most of the story, so let’s leave that to your imagination. I do, however, wonder if my own HIV would be enough to protect me from those zombies, or is my undetectable viral load a curse in case of World War Z? I may lose sleep over that one.

In haiku format:

If zombies are fast,
I will be forced to join them,
unless my AIDS works

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