World War Z: how not to build a better zombie

Anyone who read and loved the Max Brooks Book "World War Z" should run screaming from this movie. Real talk: you'll thank me. Everyone else: a matinee wouldn't suck. Now that the housekeeping's been done, I can put on my book geek cap and vent.

First and foremost, This project can't be done in one movie and remain at all faithful to the book. It would have been better served as a mini-series. I think I would have been a game-changer on the small screen, and would have actually been used. Seriously, If you're going to get into a bidding clash of the titans with Leonardo DiCaprio for the rights, shouldn't you at least take a swipe at using the thing you paid megabucks to acquire? A nod is pretty much all the book fans get. The book's plot revolves around a global "autopsy" of a zombie pandemic. The movie "adaptation" is actually a prequel. The world of the film is definitely still in end-mode.

The literary "World War Z" resonated with me because the zombies weren't merely zombies. the creatures give the reader a comfortable space to discuss generally what we as a society don't feel comfortable discussing specifically. Border wars? pandemics? The consequences of hubris? The zombies of "World War Z" serve as a powerful, apt and effective multipurpose metaphor. That was lost in the film translation. The movie deviations were weird and pretty much put the "World War Z" stamp on a project that's minimally like it. This movie was long as all get out, and had a great deal of fat to be trimmed. There was room for at least one more anecdote.

The biggest stick in my craw with this movie is the zombies. They move like electrified laboratory frogs as individuals and crazy ants as a herd. That flailing wave of undead humanity you see in the trailer really takes hold in the movie and doesn't really do it any favors. I'm not unsympathetic to the plight of the writers. I completely get the need to break away from the standard shambling herd, but spastic nibblers that move like a tsunami isn't it.

Brad Pitt must have put more zeroes than mere mortals or small principalities ever see on the check to Max Brooks. If I wrote something half as great as "World War Z," I would need a boatload of money to remain silent while Hollywood mutates my baby.

That boilerplate SyFy Channel ending stomped on my nerves. A movie with this star power and gobsmacking budget deserved better.The book totally delivers on the promise of being a new take on the zombie genre. The film adaptation fails because it's so annoyingly expected. Overall, it's not a bad movie. I'm just pissed because it has all the ingredients of a great movie and doesn't deliver. Matinee it.

Filed under: Uncategorized


Leave a comment