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Why can't we 'return' online videos?
on 25 March 2015
Having read the book, it was patently clear a straight forward adaptation was not going to be possible. They could have focussed on one section of the book, or as they have done here, use it as a basis for something completely different. Either is fine in principle, though this has as much in common with the book now as I, Robot does. Quite why they kept the title, I don't know.
If you don't want the movie spoiling for you, stop here with a simple warning: this film is utter garbage. If you want to know why, read on.
The film wants to operate as an outbreak movie, making the link between zombie behaviour and rabies. We focus on Pitt (a UN investigator) and his family, who upon going for a drive into the city stumble into a zombie horde. They escape by means of being rescued from a rooftop by helicopter, sent by the deputy UN chief who happens to be on good terms with Pitt (I say Pitt as he failed to disappear into his character). This opening stanza is passable, relying on the cheap trick of zombies popping up when you aren't expecting them to cement the suspense.
They are taken to a military boat at sea, where we learn about the scale of the epidemic. The fleet is the American command centre in effect, with those rescued forced to contribute or be sent to a refugee facility which we are lead to believe is very dicey. On this basis, to save his family Pitt is coerced to go with a, not mad but rather gibbering, scientist to investigate the source of the outbreak to help find a cure.
This lads too a pointless set piece in Asia which forces a bit more globe trotting into the film; Israel here we come. We get a bit more insight into the origin of the disease, but not much, however it isn't long before another fight sequence is very obviously forced onto the screen. The city was ready for the outbreak with huge walls and a strong military presence which has thus far kept the zombie at bay. Despite the impressive zombie horde presumably knowing for quite sometime that humans lie within the walls, refuges somehow access a tannoy system and have a sing song which is so loud that the zombies redouble their efforts and climb the walls in sufficient numbers that they manage to clambour over the top. The dozy military miss this until it is too late, forcing Pitt to flee on a jumbo jet, saving a woman soldier who does remarkably well for having just become an ampute sans anaesthetic. Other soldiers who helped him needlessly stand by as the plane leaves without them, presumably sealing their fates.
Pitt has an epiphany and the plane heads for a WHO research facility in Cardiff. It transpires that a zombie snook onto the plane, which creates panic. Pitt's solution is to throw a grenade at it, leading to a plane crash somewhere in Britain. Miraculously, Pitt and his amputee friend survive this; just as well as Pitt needs a helping hand (pun intended) walking to the WHO facility due to being impaled by debris. His sense of navigation is impeccable as he manages to find this unfamiliar building in a foreign land whilst avoiding any zombies, collapsing only upon reaching his destination.
Suffice to say, our hero is able to implement his plan having recovered remarkably well following his ordeal, as the film relies on sneaking past numerous zombies then outrunning the speedsters despite the team member's respective injuries to reach its conclusion. At the end Pitt is reunited with his family at the supposedly dicey refugee centre in Nova Scotia, happy days.
The film fails to properly examine anything of interest, such as how the outbreak really began, how civilians survived including food supply and law and order issues, how such an epidemic might ultimately be contained, how different cultures responded to the crisis, and how civilisation might recover from this episode. An entirely pointless, superficial film with reasonable FX, no character development, lots of plot holes, little suspense and few memorable sequences.
If we buy other product types with which we are unhappy we can return them; why is this not the case with online films, especially when the option to rent is not there? Amazon, sort it!