Wow! What a smashing disappointment! Granted, ever since any one's been following the production history of this destined-to-fail movie, we've all kinda had that sinking feeling that this film had all of its' stars aligned to horribly suck, but it is very rare when everything we speculated and feared was nail-on-the-head, spot-on, John Edward style. I've been following the pensive reactions from each piece of WWZ news since the get-go and it's almost like every comment, every fear, every prognostication on what could make this film bad was read by the production team and mandatorily placed in the film.
So what is the ultimate goal here from Hollywood? "We found this great, original novel...it has a huge fan-base, it was a best seller so people definitely are aware of it...it was written by an author who is a big name in zombie lore (pretty much the modern George Romero), what he wrote was groundbreaking, fresh, well thought out and painstakingly researched...pretty much serving as a template to write itself screenplay-wise. Eh...let's just make a cheap masturbatory zombie porn cash grab since the Walking Dead is big now." (and not even do that great of a job considering they've gone through writers like a kid who discovered matches)
Unless I'm totally off on my forecast, this is just another case of a triple A production losing the entire point in one fell swoop. Zombies or the Zeds as they call them in the book serve not only as why impending doom seems so bizarre to exclude but these ones could serve as such tension makers...the ultimate slow burn enemy...walk on the ocean...freeze them and they thaw....one groan wakes up hundreds if not thousands...cruise ships full of them...so much to work with!!! Some of the most chilling scenes I read in a novel I would have loved to see was when they describe what Interstate 80 looked like as the slow moving terror brought a massacre to panicked humans trapped in their own gridlock or the cases of thousands of frantic Indians fleeing into the sea as ships ran aground, sank and were overtaken by the horde or the astronauts on the International Space Station describing seeing the hordes from space and watching a full fledged nuclear war break out and North Korea go dark... This is a point where I counter what the defenders of the trailer say when they stated, "who wants a page for page cinematic version of the novel??? We need original stories!" No...you actually don't. All I thought when I was imaging these scenarios as I read was how amazing these scenes would look on film and how I couldn't wait to see them when this "soon to be a motion picture" promise on the cover was made into a tangible reality. Unfortunately, the concept of "grab the title, toss out the story" is simple, obligatory policy anymore in La La Land.
|What Hollywood thinks of you.|
Honestly, this is one of the most chilling depictions of how the world would react to something of this scope. This looks like executives either totally didn't read the novel or they did and just thought audiences were too stupid to understand nuance or thought provoking subject matter. Plus the book had a lot of non-whites as protagonists and that might make it some kinda lame "foreign" film. The point of the zombie is that even though they are slow, they are the ultimate psychological weapon, doesn't need to take orders, doesn't eat, sleep, need to rest, be supplied, feel elements. No matter how many you stop or how ahead you get, they just keep coming and they never stop. That's why militaries and govts crumble in the novel and you see "white zones" even after the war ends which are areas just too overrun to deal with. I've seen a lot of apologists saying making a book based on this would be just too hard...not really, they could have made Pitt the central U.N. worker interviewing all of the survivors and tell it through flashback in a gritty, fake documentary format. He as our central fact-finder could bookend each story neatly which would serve to pace the story perfectly, add some back story if necessary and have him be a smart, passionate level-headed figure as the book infers him to be. "Waltz with Bashir" did a great job doing a war-flashback-interview movie and they did it with barely a budget to speak of. The WWZ novel truly was an ego free story and that immediately is where Hollywood fails since its all about "ok...so who's the main guy gonna be? Why can't we have non-stop military action? We need more explosions, this has to be like the Dawn of the Dead remake just for the world! Etc". The fact that they just are playing it this insultingly safe just disheartens me big time, especially since this being a best seller already demonstrated that there was a predetermined familiarity and the story alone would put asses in the seats.
|Why does the trailer keep making that Prometheus, Inception, Transformers "BRRRRAHHHHHHMMMMM" sound cue???When did this get popular????|
Also, what frustrates me is that this IS all about non-stop military action...military, economic, political, social action which, wrapped up through painstaking research, was totally accurate with facts on using previous geopolitical relations, tensions and alliances to show how ill-equipped we are as a human race in the beginning and how close we come so close through greed, arrogance and over-reliance on technology to bringing it all to a smashing end. I know this isn't something that would be the easiest thing to translate to a film as far as a one shot movie. I could understand having to make changes, you usually do for adapting a novel...especially a novel that would be better suited for a trilogy or a cable network 10 part miniseries a la "Band of Brothers" or "the Stand." But where is the sense in changing what looks like the entire premise of the novel? This looks as though no one looked an page past the title. "World War Z? So we can do it like every other runner zombie movie and just make it world wide...like "28 Days Later" without the artsy-farsty stuff that Danny Boyle sticks in his films."
Is it just me or am I also mistaken to be kind of offended to see that there is seemingly no multinational look to this movie at all besides the Philly scene and the Jerusalem scene? (interesting since Israel is one of the only places where they don't have massive fighting since they self-quarantine early on." Granted, more can be in here but I already looked at the IMDB casting page...there doesn't seem to be all that much more going on. Why are we so averted to allowing anyone of multinational origin play any role besides "minimal background support" or "cannon fodder"? I have a feeling we are going to portray the rest of the non-white-US-military world as victims or idiots who should just shut up and get out of our way. Reminds me a bit of the "Global catastrophe" in Independence Day that is pretty much summed up as blips on a radar screen and/or a single line of dialogue "We're getting reports from all over! The ships are going down!" That's great...I could totally imagine a global siege scenario where our president and government doesn't say a single word to any other country especially since we've been hiding an enemy ship along with decomposing alien corpses in a military base...Yep...Nobody is gonna be pointing fingers after all is said and done there, no sirree.
The silver lining is that Max Brooks did get paid for the rights...however, I hope it doesn't limit him from ever continuing the story if he ever wants too. There are a lot of people falsely thinking he has a lot to do with the film.. I'll clear the air, he had absolutely NO input rights whatsoever in the making of this film. This looks like its all from the mind of some Ritalin induced focus group who is only using Transformers as their mold and little else. What also bugs me is that this mediocrity may be the only thing that those unfamiliar with the book can base it on. I've already seen some very hip folks on the up-and-up who didn't know about the book say, "I'm glad I didn't give that a read after seeing this." I'm telling you, if you are thinking that, don't let for a second this horrible, generic looking pile of garbage turn you away from one of the best thought out books on the zombie apocalypse you'll ever read! Apparently Brooks was very happy with the original screenplay and Aintitcoolnews raved about a leaked first draft calling it "genre-defining" and questioned if "a zombie movie could ever fall in for best picture"...my hopes were high but then a full fledged rewrite was ordered (apparently for the entire movie after 2/3 of it was shot) and Pitt was not speaking to the director (always a great sign) ...wonderful.
|Nicely done, my friends....|
Tell me this conversation didn't happen at some point in some boardroom.
"So...what the fuck is this gay ass book about?"
"Are you serious??? I'm not reading anything! I paid some homeless guy to read this shit."
"Hell yeah, I bought the audio book but I got bored as soon as I heard some Chinese guy talking and threw my i-pad out my car window on the way here."
"So what he hell did the dirty hobo tell you?"
"Um...something like this UN guy asking countries how they fought off zombies or some shit"
"Dude, the UN is gay as shit! Other countries? Like yellow, black and brown people?"
"Yeah...I heard there's a chapter all about France"
"Are you shitting me? the French are in this too??? Tell me there are at least some awesome big ass gun fights"
"No, people hide in castles, fight with harpoon guns and carbines and march civil war column style"
"What???? There's no rocket launchers and Call of Duty shit happening?"
"No...they try that in the beginning but it doesn't work"
"Man, this is some pussy-ass bullshit! Didn't you hear they got Dirk Fucking Diggler for Bayformers IV? This is what we're up against!!!!"
"Yeah and the zombies don't run or have super powers or spit blood or anything!"
"No fucking way...you need zombies that run, how will we keep the dumbass audiences' attention, with some gay ass script???"
"Hell fucking no! They even have some part where Iran and Pakistan have a nuclear war and you can see it from space."
"What?? People don't know where those Goddamned places are! We don't need a fucking geography lesson! From space? What? Now astronauts are in this? So is it a Zombie movie or a Space movie? People are gonna get confused! Who's playing the astronauts? This is gonna cost a shitload to make!"
"Alright...well, fuck that entire book! Let's just throw some CGI shit together class it up with Brad Pitt as like that UN guy only he's not a UN guy, he's like the ONLY ONE WHO CAN SAVE THE WORLD, NEO STYLE! and then we can throw some bullshit family crap in there so women can relate to what such a great father figure Pitt is"
"Family shit??? What, is that in the book too???? btw, nice job taking out that UN bullshit."
"Nah, you gotta have family melodrama cuz that worked so well with Jack Bower and he was tough as shit"
"Yeah I guess you gotta have a worried mom and daughters to nail the chick demographic/"
"Why? Are there no women in the book or something?"
" Nah, there are but they are like scientists, pilots and soldiers."
"Dude....we can't have women doing anything but crying in this movie"
"So....Fast Zombies, right?"
"Fast whatevers...actually I'm sick of goddamned zombies...let's make them like weird vampires or some shit...dumbass kids love vampires! Didn't you see them camping out for that Twilight shit?"
"So what? It's World War V, now?"
"Who gives a shit!?"
"Slam fucking dunk! Bonuses all around!!! I'll bring the hookers if you bring the blow!"
Who gives a shit indeed...eh, it's just a movie.