It says everything about modern movies when you compare, say, George Romero’s fairly intimate, character-based zombie films such as Dawn of the Dead and Day of The Dead to the huge apocalypse of armies of crazed zombies swarming by the thousands over the landscapes of World War Z. It’s a triumph, if that’s the right word, of spectacle over character. This nightmarish spectacle is one that leaves the viewer goggle-eyed. There has never been a zombie film like this one, if, indeed, its a zombie film at all (I don’t know if I missed something, but are these Undead really Undead, or just humans crazed by some Rabies-like virus that turns them into mindless killing machines? The word ‘zombie’ is banded around but I’m not so sure that’s what these creatures are. Or maybe after all these years I’m confused by just what a zombie really is).
But its interesting to contrast the cable tv show The Walking Dead to this huge-but-troubled blockbuster. On the one hand, we have a lengthy, successful series that is well acted, with fascinating characters and brutal, bloody realism. On the other hand we have a huge, sprawling movie with fairly one-dimensional characters and toned-down, not-so-bloody fantasy (at least in the theatrical cut).
Which is not to suggest that WWZ is a bad movie. In its slightly-extended, grittier Blu-ray offering it has much to offer. It is at times shocking, with a huge sense of scale and chaotic dramatics, a bewildering sense of urgency and relentless doom. But its weakened by the huge colossal numbers of frantic zombies and their relentless apocalypse in comparison to the deeper drama of TWD and the empathy we feel for its characters. Bizarrely there seems an intensity to TWD that is missing in WWZ for all its scope and vision- WWZ feels like a video game, an amusement park ride, whereas TWD feels real.