World War Z

Based on the 2006¬†novel of the same name¬†by¬†Max Brooks World War Z is a 2013 horror-action-post apocolaptic movie starring Brad Pitt. Directed by¬†Marc Forster¬†screenplay by¬†Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard & Damon Lindelof with additional input by J. Michael Straczynski (Babylon 5‘s creator). Starring along with Pitt (who also co-produced the movie) are Mireille Enos, Matthew Fox, Fana Mokoena and a brief role by David Morse.

Pitt stars as former UN investigator Gerry Lane, who is driving his wife Karin and their two young daughters Rachel and Constance to school. Gerry left his travel heavy job to spend more time with his family. While stuck in traffic the city is attacked by a horde of zombies who infect others very quickly as they bite them; in a matter of a seconds the newly bitten person dies and is reanimated as a zombie. Gerry drives his family away from the horde in an RV and they make their way into an apartment unit, after stocking up on asthma medicine for Rachel, and take refuge with a Hispanic family. Gerry phones his former boss and close friend  Deputy Secretary-General Thierry Umutoni Рwho sends a helicopter to pick up the family. While the Lanes attempts to make it to the roof, more zombies attack and kill the couple who sheltered them but their son Tommy makes it through the roof and is able to be join the Lanes as they are airlifted away from the attacking zombies.

The helicopter takes the Lanes & Tommy to a fleet of¬†U.S. Navy vessels off the coast of¬†New York City, where scientists and military personnel analyze the scope of the worldwide outbreaks. A leading virologist Dr. Andrew Fassbach argues that the outbreak of zombie plague is caused by a virus and that they should analyze the origin in order to create a vaccine against it. Because of his expertise as a former UN investigator, Gerry is tasked with helping Fassbach find the outbreak’s source and along with a team of soldiers travels in a military plan to Camp Humpfrey’s in South Korea. Gerry reluctantly agrees to join up or his family could be removed from the vessel as non-essential personnel. As soon as the land, Gerry’s team is attacked by zombies and Dr. Fassbach is killed when he slips and shoots himself by accident. Gerry learns from the surviving soldiers at the camp that the zombies are attracted to noise and the only way to stop them is to shoot them in their heads. A former CIA agent turned rogue, who is a prisoner at the camp, ¬†tells Gerry to go to¬†Jerusalem, where the Israeli¬†Mossad¬†have established a safe zone just before the outbreak was officially acknowledged, implying¬†Israel¬†might have had prior knowledge of what was to come. As Gerry and his escorts cycle back to the airplane, his phone rings when Karine tries to call¬† him, and this alerts the zombies who rush at them killing several soldiers as they cover Gerry and the pilot who leave for Jersusalem.

At Jersusalem, Mossad director Jurgen Warmbrunn explains to Gerry that they had intercepted communications from an army general in¬†India, who stated that Indian troops were fighting the “rakshasa,” or “dead spirits’ a few months ago. With this knowledge, they had build the wall around the city and ‘quarantined it’. However loud singing and celebrations of the refugees attract the attention of the zombies who scale the walls in a massive pile on and climb into the city, falling from so high yet getting up and attack people. Massive piling of zombies like army ants attack the running people of Jerusalem as Israeli soldiers try and get Gerry to his plane. During this attack Gerry notices that the zombies avoided an old man and an emaciated boy but attacked everyone else. One of Gerry’s escorts, a soldier named Segen, is bitten on the hand by a zombie but Gerry amputates her hand to stop the spread of the infection. As Gerry’s pilot had panicked and flown away in the plane, the soldiers rush him to the nearby airfield where both Gerry and Segen make it to a Belorussian airliner as it is leaving. The plane is diverted to Cardiff, Wales where Gerry is to meet the scientists in a¬†WHO¬†research facility. However a stowaway zombie attacks a stewardess and artacks the passengers spreading the infection. Gerry detonates a grenade that blows a hole in the plane which sucks out all the zombies but the pilots also lose control of the craft and it crashes. An injured Gerry & Segen are the only survivors and they make their way on foot to the WHO facility.

After 3 days of recovery, Gerry tells the surviving scientists at the facility that, based on his observations, the infected zombies do not bite people who are seriously injured or already terminally ill, since they would be unsuitable hosts for viral reproduction. To test this theory Gerry, Segen and a doctor, must get to a section of the facility which is crawling with zombies, where the pathogens are stored and infect themselves. Gerry gets separated from the other two, who rush back to safety avoiding the zombies, and makes his way to the pathogen vault. After getting cornered inside the vault by a lone zombie, Gerry’s only course of action is to perform an impromptu test of his theory. He injects himself with a completely unknown bacteria and opens the vault door‚ÄĒ the zombie ignores him and later the entire horde runs past him. After he makes it back to the safe main building, everyone rejoices at his theory’s success, and they restock their supplies and journey to an extraction point. Gerry & Segen make their way to an evacuation point and are taken by ship to Freeport, Nova Scotia where a safe zone of surviving humans has been setup. Gerry is reunited with his wife, daughter and adopted son Tommy. A “vaccine” derived from deadly pathogens is developed that acts as camouflage for the troops battling the infected, and fleeing survivors can now cross zombie-infested areas with ease to quarantine zones. Human offensives begin against the zombies, and hope is restored.

Good movie, with awesome action. These zombies do not stumble slowly and attack you – the fling themselves in speed and attack you with force. Hurtling across walls, high cliffs and buildings – awesome effects and action, attacking sequences. It’s not engaging enough for me but still is a cut above most zombie films. I see this one more as an action, battling disease film like Outbreak or a much faster paced Contagion rather than a zombie flick. I would give it an 8 outta 10!

The Fuss Over Uncyclopedia

For the first time today I heard/read about a satirical website called Uncyclopedia which is a parody of Wikipedia. It’s been up since 2005 but I only came to know about it this morning, while reading the newspaper – The Indian Express.

I can’t believe that the Central government of India wants to bring in a legislation that makes ridiculing or derogatory statements against Mahatma Gandhi an offense! Some people are miffed that¬† ‘Uncyclopedia’ mocks Gandhi in the page about him! Among some really immature things that they say about his childhood, his parents & his school friends using his “small size” for ridiculous things, they also ridicule his clothing and his non-violent movement. Now here’s the point – they mock everybody; it’s a parody website. No one takes this website seriously; atleast no one in their right mind takes it seriously. Do most of us like these websites – no! Do they serve any purpose? None that I can see except for some slight humour (the vast majority of it would embarrass a 12 year old!) But it falls under freedom on speech. They aren’t hurting anybody, or so it seems!

Now Indian politicians want to get involved in it. The Kerala Assemble Speaker states that “the portrayal of Gandhi in such a bad light is unacceptable to any self-respecting Indian”. By a satirical website that apparently most of us haven’t heard off and none of us, except for the mentally challenged, will take seriously. Seriously, India, we need to grow up.

How about catching criminals, removing corrupt officials, tackling poverty, injustice and addressing the basic needs of the people ?