World War Z

I don’t normally write movie reviews, but this flick had such an impact on me I decided to share…

It stinks

Last month, I had the misfortune of watching the summer blockbuster film, World War Z. I say “misfortune” because this movie was the proverbial straw that broke the camel’s back; I no longer have any faith left in Hollywood and, by extension, the movie-going public.

Before I go any further, I would like to say that I read the book by Max Brooks a few years ago and I had very high hopes for this movie. Hopes that were crushed mere minutes into the film.

The book was a sociopolitical commentary that was set against the backdrop of a theoretical zombie apocalypse. Max Brooks explored many touchy subjects such as human trafficking in Asia, political tensions in the Middle East and the cognitive and cultural divide between Western Europe and former Soviet-bloc countries. There’s even an ironic and brow-raising scenario where American refugees are attempting to flee the zombie hordes of the States by taking rafts into Cuba.

When I first cracked the pages on World War Z, I expected to be taken on a fun, zombie-riddled, fantasy ride by the son of famous funny man, Mel Brooks. What I got instead was a thought-provoking tale of humanity’s brush with extinction as told from the perspective of over a dozen flavorful characters.

Surprisingly Good

The movie, on the other hand, was the loose story of Brad Pitt traveling the globe and outrunning explosions/ zombies. There were so many battles in exotic locales, I half expected Optimus Prime and Shia Labeouf to make an appearance.

Autobots

With the bloated special effects budget and little to no plot, it felt like a Michael Bay film. I swear to God, that man could ruin anything.

Jane Eyre

Michael Bay

Jane Eyre Adaptation

As I grew more and more agitated in my theater chair, I realized that I needed a dramatic shift in my expectations lest my mood would sour for the rest of the evening. I decided to watch the film for what it was, a mindless, globe-trotting CGI romp that would challenge none of my thoughts or opinions on anything whatsoever.

Ultimately, this proved unfruitful because I was stone cold sober with no access to alcohol and therefore, unable to turn off my brain. Instead I made a compromise between actively hating the movie and passively enduring it and henceforth focused on the movie’s glaring mechanical inconsistencies. I will share those with you now.

*I would normally warn against spoilers at this point, but it’s hard to spoil a steaming piece of crap.

-Zombies, regardless of their physical attributes & dimensions whilst living, gain the power, speed and coordination of an NFL linebacker.

Reeeaaaly Strong

I’m not biologist or anything, but zombies are animated corpses. It would stand to reason that an animated corpse, although fearless and armed with near-limitless endurance, would not gain power through the process of dying. How can something that doesn’t eat, heal, rest or sleep get stronger? Everything it does expends energy and it does nothing to intake energy. They don’t even eat people, they just bite them and move on to the next victim.

-There are no fat zombies.

Fat Zombies

Let’s just pretend zombies that can run a 3.8 second 40 yard dash and then head-butt through ballistic glass somehow make sense. How come there are no fat zombies? I would imagine that the vast majority of fat people would have become the first wave of zombies due to their inability to outrun anything. Watch the movie and try to spot one fat zombie. There aren’t any.

-Zombie bones are made of titanium.

Zombie Fall

Zombie Fall pt 2

Somehow, zombies are able to bend the laws of physics via some Wile E. Coyote bullshit. More times than I could count, I watched a zombie suffer a bone-obliterating fall only to get up and sprint after the nearest human.

Looking back at the movie, I feel really bad for Max Brooks. It seems that the whole discussion as to how the movie was written went like this…

So...

That sounds good

Whatever you say

How do we do this

Just sign here

Seems Legit

Any ideas

Explosions

Brad Pitt

Change the timeline

Fast Zombies

Didn't read the book

Why would we

We write movies

More explosions

Great Idea

Helicopter

Snakes on a plane

You're so smart

I thought of it and then said it.

I'm out.

And then a few years later, a multimillion dollar abomination was released upon the public and we still lined up to see it. According to IMDb, this movie has already made a tidy $25 million dollars. I can just imagine the hidden cabal of masked Hollywood executives lounging about a chateau amidst piles of cash, getting oral sex in some creepy Eyes Wide Shut style orgy.

So if you like zombies and you want to be a part of the solution and not the problem, buy Max Brooks’ books and don’t watch the movie.

Final verdict: Book = 9/10

Movie = -712/10

P.S. I made a little facelift to the blog homepage. Hope you like it.

P.P.S. It’s good to be back. 🙂

22 thoughts on “World War Z

  1. You have so hit the NAIL ON THE HEAD! I too read max brooks a while ago, both WWZ and the survival guide. Although I realised the latter was merely tongue in cheek conjecture, I was really affected by both books. So much so that I actually got my husband to create a machete for me out of one of his old chainsaw bars. So you can imagine my excitement when I learned they were turning WWZ into a feature film. I got up and walked out at the writhing wall of Zeke levering itself up the barrier . What a joke! completely destroyed every notion I held dear in my zombie nerd fantasies. I nearly cried.

  2. I have heard of Max Brooks before, via the Zombie Apocalypse Safehouse competition (which we entered), but your review makes me want to go get the book. I agree wholeheartedly with you that the movie is mostly mindless. There are a few compelling scenes however:

    1. Israeli / Arab co-oporation and celebratory singing ironically leads to mutual destruction via extraordinary zombie rampage: a poignant demonstration that any wall is a flimsy alternative to peace.

    2. Discussion of the Israeli’s 10th man policy is surprisingly engaging. Imagine if governments everywhere took the same approach to climate change: 9 guys sitting around a table saying no, it’s probably just natural cycles. 1 guy saying, maybe it’s us, so let’s stop burning fossil fuels.

    3. Jerky, teeth-gnashing zombies are creepy while up close and personal. They even look like they smell bad.

    Regards.

  3. I rarely go to the cinema anymore for exactly the same sort of reasons you talk about here – everything’s boom and crash and kapow and stupid. I’d say the last movie I enjoyed properly was Inception – even though it wasn’t perfect and had plenty of boom, crash and kapow, at least they had a story that was interesting! #rantover
    What I really meant to say, though, was that I had no idea that this movie was based on a book (haven’t seen the movie, btw) and given what you’ve said about it, it looks like something that would be worth checking out…so thank you!

  4. Thank you 🙂 I was going to watch just because some of it was set in the laboratories where I used to work but thankfully good sense prevailed – now I know I made the right decision. Keep up the good work.

  5. can you also please review life of pi?
    I want to hear your take on it. Personally i found it mind numbingly dull.
    Also warm bodies. it made no sense. but at least it was meant to be silly.

  6. Pingback: Because All Critiques Should Be Like This | themodernidiot

  7. Hollywood needs to read the books before they make the movie. There have just been so many disappointments. But I do love seeing the movie and picking it all apart. With mockery and laughter. Thank you. 🙂

  8. Nice to have you back!
    Great review, there are many of us out there who feel your pain at this garbage-bonanza excuse for a movie – if you thought this was cringe-inducingly bad, be happy if you haven’t seen The Wolverine, I was eye-rolling and reacting with utter exasperation every couple of minutes or simply shaking my head incredulously at the stupid choices made even when they could have gone a number of other ways to get the same result only not leaving that terrible after-taste… and taste… and smell… oh pretty much all around horrible.
    Oh and to make it worse – I just saw a news blurb in the morning paper that said it’s the highest grossing mainstream movie of Pitts career…
    I actually want to smack Brad upside the head for this too, because this is the guy who did stuff like Se7en, Kalifornia, Fight Club, Inglorious, etc, etc, hell even Oceans Eleven which was great fun – and yet somehow he keeps managing to every once in a while do some seriously crap stuff like this. And it’s not like his good movies do badly! They make bank! They get acclaim and he actually gets to be a real actor… and then there’s this. Why Brad *smack* Why!!?

  9. About a year ago Max was at my school giving a talk on zombies and he mentioned that a movie would come out based on his book. It seems like he knew how bad it would be even then because he was very insistent on saying he had nothing to do with the movie making decisions.

    The book it is then! 🙂 books are almost always better than their movie counterpart, especially at this point in Hollywood movie making history..

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