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11 July 2013

Movie Review: *World War Z* (spoiler alert)

There is one major question that needs to be answered about a zombie movie: What are the zombies a symbol for? Check out this take from the PBS Idea Channel:

In the new film World War Z (WWZ), Brad Pitt plays a reluctant, white hero, fighting not nobly for humankind but selfishly only for his own family. It's quite reminiscent of Mel Gibson's decidedly unpatriotic romp in The Patriot. While the special effects are good and the pace of the movie is compelling, the secondary themes are disturbing. In WWZ, the zombies seem to be a stand-in for immigrants, the great barbarian horde. In early scenes, "they" literally take over "our" cities. The film makers seem to play with the immigrants-as-zombies idea in two places. First, Pitt's character's family is ironically saved early on by the hospitality of a Spanish-speaking, presumably-undocumented Latino family. Second, they invert the Battle of Jericho myth, having outsiders (cf. Canaanites) scale the hastily erected walls of Jerusalem, lured in by the chants of the Israeli's (cf. trumpets). The way to survive and eventually defeat the zombies in this case is to be ill, a situation paralleled in recent years as migration across borders has reversed its usual direction as immigrants flee unhealthy (i.e. ill) economic and social conditions in previously vibrant places like the U.S. Walls and guns are not enough; one must make things unpalatable for the parasites.

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