*WARNING: May contain spoilers. Do not continue reading if you have not seen the latest cinema release of World War Z*
On Saturday afternoon I took a trip to the cinema to see the latest blockbuster ‘World War Z’ (2013), not quite knowing what to expect really as the adverts that have been broadcast on television for the past few weeks do not give much away about what takes place in the film (which is a great thing really, it’s not fun walking into a cinema knowing pretty much 50% of what is going to happen in the next 90 minutes), but knowing that from what I had seen on the advert, I had liked the look of (I would just like to quickly mention that I did not go and see it just because Brad Pitt was in it. He is a great actor, but I was drawn in by the looks of the plot rather than the actor starring in it). I will try and not give away too much of the plot, as for those of you reading who live in the UK, it was only released in cinemas three days ago and I don’t want to ruin it for those who desperately want to see it but haven’t got round to it yet. It comes in a long line of apocalyptic zombie based storylines that seem to have been gracing our cinema screens for the past few years, a line that is long going to continue if the fact that three films that were advertised before I saw ‘World War Z’ were all with the theme of a zombie attack or apocalyptic world of some sort. Isn’t it odd how almost obsessed the film making world and audiences have become with this type of film over the past few years. Question is, have we fallen head over heels for end of the world films just for entertainment purposes, or is there a deeper reason for why our film viewing is becoming infiltrated with the undead?
The world is so full of misery and disaster nowadays that it at times is difficult to see the light at the end of the tunnel where things start to seem good again. Watching the news by many people (including myself at times) is avoided due to the constantly depressing nature of what seems to be going on all over the globe. There are many times where it feels like we are destroying the planet we call our home faster than global warming is, that we will in the end ultimately be responsible for our own demise. But of course, humans being humans, we will probably try and blame something else for causing the world to end when push eventually comes to shove. I know I am sounding pretty morbid and I can assure you that I don’t think the world is going to end in the next five years let alone the next five minutes, I am just basically saying that the way we treat the world, as well as how we treat each other and animals, it does seem that we are hell bent on destroying our home. Issues like this seem to be being raised in films such as ‘World War Z’, as well as many others, including ‘I Am Legend’ (2007). If you look at the latest zombie apolocalypse disaster film that is gracing our silver screens at the moment, there is some evidence of this being presented. In the film (look away now if you haven’t got the hint of not reading if you haven’t seen the film as of yet), we see the main character Gerry, played by Brad Pitt, a retired UN investigator who is re-recruited to help find out the cause of a rabies outbreak. The disaster comes as those who are infected turn into zombie like creatures, although it is questioned at points in the film whether or not they are zombies, and are regarded as being ‘the undead’. The pandemic hits world wide, and the audience follow Gerry as he travels across the globe to at first find the source, that eventually leads him to finding a way of fighting back against the infected, not curing the ‘disease’ but instead preventing those who are not infected from being bitten by the walking dead. The cure comes from Gerry discovering that those who are elderly or have a terminal illness of some description are almost invisible to the zombie type creatures. The fact that all of this comes from a rabies outbreak, which in real life is of course a seriously dangerous and life threatening illness that can still be found in parts of the world, makes it seem in a way all the more real. While I was sitting in the cinema taking in the film and highly enjoying the plot and everything the film had to offer, there was a small niggling thought at the back of my mind thinking that this could all become a reality, it seemed that bit too close to reality. That may seem silly to some people reading this if anyone is bothering to, but rabies is a disease that is present in the world and its presence and cause of the complete catastrophe that takes place in ‘World War Z’ makes the situation seem that all the more realistic, and possible.
Another film that I have mentioned, ‘I Am Legend’ also can be seen as dealing with this matter. The zombies that take over the world and leave Will Smith’s character Robert Neville believing that he is the only human left alive on the planet have become so due to a large percentage of the worlds population being injected with a cure for cancer. This however leads to an abnormality being created in the human genetics, causing the majority of the population to turn into blood thirsty zombies. Again, like ‘World War Z’ with its discussion of rabies causing an infected state, cancer is a life destroying and horrific disease that tears families apart everyday, and one that a cure has been searched for for years. The thought of a cure would bring joy to people all over the world, but this desire becoming a reality in the film causing a zombie outbreak and wiping out basically the entire worlds population makes the audience wonder what will actually happen if and when cures for diseases such as cancer are ever discovered.
Films like the ones that have been discussed (and novels, which the films have both been based on) have really taken on board the publics fears of what the world could be brought to with such terrible diseases and their subsequent cures. The world may be tearing itself apart in reality with politics, money and destroying everything that is beautiful about this planet, but Hollywood seems to also be portraying the fear the world has of destroying the human race through their own creations, even ones that are meant to be doing good.