Cocktails and Movies Review: “World War Z” – Deserving Of A Good Double Tap

Finally! A poster that manages to be as interesting as the film it represents!

Cocktails and Movies Survived A Rather Lame Zombie Apocalypse, And Is All The Angrier For It.

It all happens in an instant. Reports of Martial Law all over the world, a outbreak of a new strain of rabies, and countries shutting down their borders left and right. Yet, for former U.N. investigator Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and his family, the day starts off with pancakes and talk of birthdays. It isn’t until their morning commute that the menace sweeping the world hits home for the Lanes, and they’re eventually forced into hiding on an aircraft carrier.

Their space on said carrier is dependent on one condition: Gerry has to go back to work as a U.N. investigator and help figure out not only what caused this plague, but also if there’s a way to stop it. This quest will take him all around the globe, putting himself and his crew in mortal danger as they search for the truth. A truth that, as civilization dies off, seems more and more elusive with each step taken.

Don’t let the intro paragraph fool you into thinking that maybe World War Z had somehow worked past the negative buzz it has been generating over the past couple of years. This was a movie so bad I forgot my hat in the theater after dealing with it. A movie so bad, I ran out and bought the book the next morning as an act of atonement. A film so horrible, it made a zombie plague the two things it shouldn’t be: boring and sanitary. There’s very little to no actual blood in this particular zombie flick. When it IS shown, it’s tinted so black that you’re not supposed to tell that it’s blood. This, of course, is their “clever” way of skirting around the MPAA’s restrictions on blood being shown in films. Even with the amputations of limbs, the biting of victims, and the bludgeoning of zombies, a lot of the action is just out of frame. To put it simply, World War Z plays like a “Saturday Afternoon TV” edit of a horror flick. That’s great when watching Fox 5 (New Jersey’s news leader) in the 1990’s, but not in a movie theater in 2013.

Yet, somehow the film manages to have some really good, really tense action set pieces. Some of the sequences in this film made me forget that Marc Forster was the same director that, back in 2008, managed to screw up Quantum of Solace with his inability to properly frame and shoot action scenes. Some of that does come back to haunt him with this flick, as you can barely see the zombies enough to consider them a threat. Still, the film manages to approach the matter of zombies in a unique, logical manner that actually gets away (somewhat) with the lack of blood. The swarming behavior, the attraction to noise, even the twitching a patient exhibits while the infection transforms them into an undead minion – all are factors that actually strike a chord with the scientific curiosity of those in the audience that care. It’s because of these creatures that the film enjoys a limited degree of success, but that degree is extremely limited at best.

The ultimate failing of this film is that it distances its audience from its characters enough not to have any concern for their well-being. Gerry shuttles off from one country to another on merely the mention of the word “zombie”, and meets up with A LOT of expendable personnel that end up dying off as quickly as they are introduced. A lot of characters don’t even have proper names, and are known by their titles in the end credits. With some movies, you can’t tell where the seams are between all of the co-writers that jump on and off board during the creation process. With World War Z, those seams are not only readily apparent, but make the audience wonder what WAS in the first version of the Third Act… the version that was so displeasing, it caused the studio to trigger late production re-writes of the ENTIRE THIRD ACT and delay the film’s release date from last December to today.

Bottom line: a combination of a PG-13 rating, non-essential 3D, and a sloppy scripting process is what turned World War Z from a really cool concept into a really boring reality that distances itself from its audience. Buy a copy of the book, as well as some choice martini supplies from your local liquor store, and kick back at home with the medium this story was meant to be conveyed through: the printed word. Now if you’ll all excuse me, I have a hat to retrieve.

Cocktails and Movies Rating: 2 out of 5 Zombies, 2D variety if you please.

Thanks to Drinks Mixer, we have not only one, but five recipes for a Zombie to slam back and do the twitch with. We’ll use the most interesting variant, Zombie #4, for our demonstration purposes. (If you’re inclined to check the others out, you can click on the link provided above.)

Zombie #4 recipe

1 1/2 oz gold rum
3 tsp lime juice
1 tbsp Jamaican dark rum
1 tbsp white rum
1 tbsp pineapple juice
1 tbsp papaya juice
1 1/2 tsp sugar syrup
1 tsp 151 proof rum
pineapple stick
1 pinch powdered sugar

Shake all ingredients (except the high-proof rum) over ice, the pineapple stick and the sugar. Strain and add ice. Garnish with pineapple and a cherry. Float the high-proof rum on top and sprinkle a little sugar over it.

25% (50 proof)
Serve in: Collins Glass

That’s our second zombie recipe this year (we did another version for Warm Bodies)