RANT: “World War Z”

Posted: May 21, 2013 by V in Irrelevant
Tags: , , , ,

(Bear with me for a moment here -v)

I have a declaration to make. And it isn’t an easy one. Because I love the book “World War Z”, I love zombie movies, and I love disaster movies; I love movies that are disasters, and I even love Brad Pitt,  and most importantly in this case – I love awfulness burried under a cascade of money. And there is no way, whatsoever, that I could not have an absolutely glorious time RENDING this movie’s metaphorical BONES INTO SLURRY. It would be so much fun. Did you see that trailer? Did you see that chopper go down like a wildebeest at a watering hole? How about that tidal wave of super ant people zombies?


 Left: Experienced pack hunters aim for the sensitive nose and vulnerable underbelly
Right: An admirable but incorrect attempt at breaking the human tower record. 

And so, I’m not going to see it. This movie is a travesty of film making. Not only is it just a bad movie, which could, and has, and is very commonly forgiven. It has taken a fantastic book and made it into a terrible movie. For the last two years, I have been waiting, desperately hoping the rumors were a lie, willing to give it the benefit of the doubt. But having seen the final trailer in theatre this weekend, I have to make a stand. And I love bad movies — but there are movies that were never going to be good, movies that would have been good if not for X or Y, or movies that are so bad they’re good. The movie “World War Z” took what was a thoughtful geopolitical social commentary that explores the nature of humanity in a clever and interesting format, and turns it into a one man superdad quest to save the world. What do they think he’s going to do? Deactivate the hive mind so all the zombies collapse?


For those who care, “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War” is written in interview format, similar to a documentary, so don’t expect a novel.  The interviewer tracks down a variety of people from around the world, recording first hand accounts of the war each individualized and depicting the variety of stories across geography, personal morality, socioeconomic strata, stage of outbreak,  political policies of the region etc. There is no character building or development of emotional attachment to any of the interviewees as is standard in a story. However, all the interviews strung together in chronological order become a cohesive narrative of how the outbreak began, how it spread, the reactions of the populace, governments, individuals. All the best and worst of humanity exposed through first hand accounts of terrible choices and sacrifices, small and large scale. It was a spectacular read. It could have been a great documentary style movie, or a miniseries.

Now don’t get me wrong, somehow, miraculously, I still want to see this movie. I’m genuinely excited about it. If this movie had been named something else, ANYTHING else. I would watch it. I would watch it, and I would probably love it, and as is how I express my love, rip it to shreds. But it’s not called “Zombie Outbreak: Where’s Waldo”, its called “World War Z” and it’ll probably have a line in there “based off the book “World War Z” and so I’m not going. I’m not going because studios need to know: You can make bad movies, you can make trite movies, you can make your formulaic predictable bran-meal  and I’ll happily swallow that shit up. But I refuse to watch something that could have been great, turn into all of the above just to please your average consumer audience.

If you knew you needed a central character and an emotional appeal, you never should have licensed the title. And you knew. Brad Pitt signed up early. When someone that big is in a movie, you know the movie is going to have a central character. And the point of telling the story through individual viewpoints that span the world is to exhibit the sheer scale of the pandemic and the global desperation. And you never even bothered asking Max Brooks for input. Why did you even bother licensing the name? Save your money and the internet from some outrage.


Portsmouth, NH in where there are lots of North Americans or Portsmouth and London UK, which is across the ocean from the Americas?

You’ll probably see it, everyone will probably see it, it’ll probably be a huge hit  internationally. Its got so much hype people will see it based solely off vague name recognition. But I’m going to sit here, on my high horse, sniffing snobbily. Maybe my $11 will make a difference, more likely I’ll blow it on a pack of costco floss, but you know what? Dental hygiene is important. I’ll have made my stand.


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