Ramblings on “World War Z”

Since my buddy Crockett showed me the preview for World War Z I had been anxiously awaiting the film. For once, a “zombie” film where it didn’t appear the zombies walked slowly. A real leveling of the playing field. As I often do, I did a little research on the film and learned that the production had some serious issues with delays, re-writes, budget concerns, etc.

By the time the film actually hit the theaters last week, it felt like Hollywood was waiting for the project to crash and burn. It looks like the opposite occurred with the film grossing $111M in its opening weekend globally, $66M of which was earned in the USA. Crisis averted, for now. 

Before you read too far, realize that there will be spoilers throughout this post. If you haven’t seen or plan to see the 2013 film World War Z, you might want to stop here.

My first ramble has to do with one particular plot point I felt the film handled exceedingly well. It raised the question of how one major country had somehow prepared for the worst. At his first stop on the search for an answer, Pitt’s character is told that the North Koreans pulled the teeth of every inhabitant in 24-hours to prevent the spread of disease through biting. While being escorted through the city of Jerusalem, Brad Pitt’s character learns another answer. The State of Israel had developed a new way of thinking. After three major disasters, an unknown council of Jewish leaders requires invoking a “Tenth Man Rule.”

This rule states that if the first nine people on the council agree on a measure, the tenth man must consider the alternative. In the case of the film, when news comes in that something is causing problems around the world, this tenth man takes the necessary precautions to protect the city of Jerusalem because the other nine agree that nothing will happen. Granted, it didn’t work out so well in the end, but the idea gave me pause.

I wondered how often (or rather how rarely) our leaders consider a methodology like this. When passing legislation on Nashville’s Metro Council, The Tennessee State Legislative branch, or even in Washington DC, how often is our leadership, if ever, considering the alternatives. I don’t just mean giving them a voice, but actually considering the alternative. There is more to say about that as it relates to the current Immigration legislation before the US Senate in DC. Hopefully more on that later.

My second ramble… An article I read today discussed the original written ending before  rewrites took place. I really felt it lacked a substantive ending, and quite honestly was much weaker than the rewrite from LOST writer Damon Lindelof that changed the story. The rewrite brought about a new solution to ending the zombie apocalypse: biological warfare.

In a twist, the “zekes” in World War Z had no desire to infect those with any deadly pathogen or disease. Brad Pitt’s character notices this throughout the film in bits and pieces and comes to the conclusion that infecting oneself with a disease is a way to avoid detection by the “zekes.”

And I hate that it ended the way it did, with the family reuniting in Nova Scotia. As the film was nearing the end, I became very intrigued at the idea of a film depicting worldwide biological warfare.

Nations around the globe have spent billions of dollars fighting illnesses like Spanish Flu, AIDS, cancer, Smallpox, Rubella, and many other virulent diseases. The concept that the remaining nations of the world would blanket the globe with one or more of these deadly (yet curable) diseases would bring about a whole new series of problems, while seriously hampering viral transfer of the zombie “disease”, whatever it might be.

Maybe they’ll make a sequel. Discussions have already begun. If so, this feels like is the best route to take. Saving the world by infecting all the healthy people? That’s a story that feels like it has no winners in the end. That’s a story people might latch onto and watch for three or four more movies. And we all know sequels get made because they make money. Big money.

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