As I mentioned in my previous post, I’ve decided to switch things up a bit and stray from the Body Count format that became the seed of this little project. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty more Body Count Reviews coming down the pipe, but I also want to toy with some new features that may keep me from embracing another long term hiatus. That being said…LET THE INCOHERENT RANTING BEGIN!!!!!!!!
All the way back in October of 2007, a piece of literature was released that struck a nerve with nerds all across the globe. I’m speaking, of course, of the Max Brooks masterpiece “World War Z”. For those unaware, World War Z is a heartwarming tale of human triumph over the (inevitable) zombie apocalypse.
I’m not here to just talk at your face about how much you NEED to read this book…if you haven’t already figured that out elsewhere, there’s clearly no hope for you. No, friends…I’m here to discuss something much more important; World War Z is becoming a feature film. Not some straight to Syfy crap, either! It’s being directed by Marc Foster, a man known for directing Machine Gun Preacher, which I almost watched once until I was informed it was not a prequel to Hobo With a Shotgun. Anyway, my point is this; they’ve got a pretty good director, and also a pretty good screenwriter (Matthew Michael Carnahan, who’s written a couple of movies that people speak fondly of…I’ve never seen them, I’m too busy watching garbage), working with Producer/Star/all around professional fella’ Brad Pitt. How could this go wrong?!
See, now I’m gettin’ all excited! Of course, when you sit down and think about it…when was the last time you enjoyed a film based on a book you love? Sure, sometimes they seem to do a pretty good job…but I mean, didn’t they fuck it up just a little bit now that you think about it? I think we need to examine this a bit further and understand exactly what we’re getting into. This is both an amazing and terrible idea, and instead of being mature about things, I’d like to tell you exactly why I’m both extremely furious and extremely excited about this happening.
Allow me to start with what I’m most comfortable with; negativity. You see, World War Z is set up as a collection of interviews with survivors of the Zombie War. All the REAL action has come and gone, and now we’re left with a generation of soldiers and civilians who’ve seen some serious shit over the past ten years, and reluctantly share their stories to give the world a complete picture of what happened when the dead got hungry. Each chapter of the book is rich with new viewpoints and experiences from different cultural perspectives on the damn near unstoppable killing force of the undead. It’s a new approach that works so well you start to wonder why no one has thought of it before. You’re probably asking yourself “Well what the hell is so bad about that?” while you condescendingly twirl your moustache and light your pipe that you think makes you so sophisticated looking…
The answer is quite simple; this is not the movie that’s being made. Much like the 2004 remake of George Romero’s “Dawn of the Dead”, World War Z is already promising to abandon as much of the source material as possible. In the film version, Our pal Mr. Pitt will be playing an agent working for the UN, who travels the globe making soap and beating up Meatloaf trying to prepare and train fighting forces in different countries in order to crush the face-bitey menace before the shit actually reaches the fan. It’s an interesting idea, but it misses the point of the book. The book made it pretty clear that dudes like this character really didn’t exist…or at the very least didn’t accomplish one single solitary fucking thing. Even if they did, it was at a time where it did a very small amount of good. In fact, most of the book detailed military and United Nations’ FAILURE, which I guess is what’s sticking the most in my craw about this whole mess.
Wait, no…THAT might be pissing me off even worse. The zombies not only run, they also apparently break dance. Yes, that video clip is (allegedly) some leaked footage from the set of World War Z. As you can see, it looks like any other zombie movie footage you’ve seen in the past 10 years…decaying corpses somehow moving at Bo Jackson speeds (Editor’s note: I assume Bo Jackson ran fast because a lot of people wouldn’t shut up about him when I was ten). Don’t go getting the wrong idea…I do feel that, in the right circumstances, running zombies can totally work. I DON’T, however, consider World War Z to be that setting. When I read through the book the first time through, I imagined your standard, Romero-speed stumbling zombies; easy to deal with one at a time, pretty fuckin’ nasty when dealing with a mob of them.
The intensity on skinny-mormon’s face is throwing me off, what the hell were we talking about?! Ah yes, running zombies. To be perfectly frank, cranking up the speed on the zombies is probably the least of my worries regarding World War Z…but I still feel that it’s worth mentioning. The real issue is, of course, setting a World War Z movie at the onset of the zombie outbreak, instead of setting it after things have started to calm down. I can’t even come up with a reasonable explanation as to why they would change the story in this way. One might say “well, it will probably make for more interesting story telling!”, and I don’t mean to slap the slurpie out of your hand (Editor’s note: yes, I do), but that’s simply not true. The oral (Editor’s note: hehehe) history approach of the source material is engaging to the point of almost being obnoxious. Imagine a film centered around an interview table, with a haggard old bastard describing, in detail, the most hard-fought days of his life; hiding out in some boarded up building, constantly trying to hide his presence, or defend his location, or even just making sure his comrades really haven’t been bitten, no matter what they say…it’s a fresh approach to a genre that’s getting very tired. The flashback scenes could have been fantastic, and would allow for the characters themselves to, perhaps, embellish the stories a bit, leaving the viewer to wonder what actually happened to the character compared to the character’s own accounts of the stories.
Alright, let’s take a few steps back, as my speculation is getting further and further out of hand. Before I forget…I’m not here just to whine, there are some bright spots to this. Sure, they’re focusing on the onset of the zombie apocalypse, and not the tail end…but that could still be awesome! If nothing else, World War Z seems to be setting itself up as a zombie movie of absolutely epic proportions. We’ve seen plenty of zombie stories in the past, but not one that promises to travel the globe, providing a view of the outbreak in multiple corners of the world. Other zombie films have implied that the entire world is under siege, this one wants to show us! While this is exciting as hell, I’m missing an even broader point. Earlier I made reference to a remake of Dawn of the Dead made in 2004. That movie took an absolute classic movie, and “remade” it by not only abandoning the shambling Romero zombies in favor of Olympic sprinters, but also stripping the plot of everything that made the original great…except for the shopping mall. Why do I bring this up and drag this movie through the mud now? Because besides being an absolutely terrible remake, it’s a pretty fuckin’ enjoyable movie. Sure, I wish it wasn’t called Dawn of the Dead, but I loved damn near every second of that movie!
So, even though I weep for what could have been for World War Z, I still feel confident it’s going to end up being a fantastic movie with an unfortunately inaccurate name. Should we be pissed? Sure! Should we give it a chance anyway? Absolutely! Worst case scenario is the movie sucks, and some asshole tries to remake it in three years. Meanwhile, we can all sit down and read through the book, bask in it’s glory and pretend no one will ever try and ruin it again. It’s the perfect plan.