Welcome to the latest edition of 24 Frames. Sahara Shrestha and Andrew Jamieson will be guiding you through the exciting, confusing and often brilliant world of 'film'. Expect news, trailers and plenty of opinion.

The latest edition is brought to you by Andrew Jamieson, who can be found on twitter over at @theghostwriterc.



The 'World War Z' Edition:

Last Friday I was lucky enough to go and see the new Brad Pitt movie, World War Z. Having been a fan of the original book that itself used the zombie pandemic as a cipher for the author (Max Brooks) to unleash a torrential treatise on politics and survival in the midst of an illness sweeping the planet. When Pitt's production company 'Plan B' purchased the rights to the original book I awaited with bated breath for a long time to see what a team helmed by Marc Forster could do with the source material. I was disappointed. Not as disappointed as some other critics have been, but suffice to say this movie was a film that mimicked a game of musical chairs, quickly walking around many stools before being left standing when everybody else had eventually sat down.

The film has had a host of writers, one of whom, Michael J Straczynski (who has created some great graphic novels over the years and who scripted the Angelina Jolie picture Changeling) was sidelined and his original treatment changed by the talented but morose Damon Lindelof (he of Lost and Prometheus fame). Rumours permeated through the industry that the film had gone wildly over budget and its star and the director were not even speaking by the end of the shoot. The ending was shot again based on a rewrite by Lindelof and the production seemed to be heading toward being the Cutthroat Island (Renny Harlin 1995) of zombie movies. Well it is not that and actually it is perfectly passable entertainment.

What the film manages to do well is to make you care for the central character, the narrative rarely takes a break to calm down and is always pushing the plot forward. We see how different countries have dealt with the threat from the pandemic as North Korea has decided to cut out the teeth of the populace to stem the tide and the Israeli's have built a large wall to keep out the undead. The problem lies with the fact that the movie calms the book's political zeal and forgets that the pandemic itself is a subversive metaphor for the political and sectarian strife that sits in the real world. The movie seems to lack any conviction or the dexterity to put together a procedural (as Steven Soderbergh did to great affect in Contagion) that has bells on its heels.

The opening set piece in Philadelphia is a tour de force in horror and panic; there is a terrifying scene in a supermarket as the main character's daughters (played willingly and with pluck here by two great kids Abigail Hargrove and Sterling Jerins) are caught up in social unrest. Then the film goes globe trotting before landing in Israel and finally a location in Wales (as a Brit I loved this!).

The film is clearly an example of how certain subversive ideas are diluted by having too many writers on a project. There is no clear vision here but while this may not be the best movie ever; it is entertaining and an enjoyable way to pass two hours of your life. Howver, I do think that a Brad Pitt-helmed blockbuster based on a great source deserved to be stunning rather than just good fun. But as its domestic gross seems to be showing, I may be in the minority.


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