Friday, June 28, 2013

Walking out on World War Z

I had been warned. My brother saw Paramount's World War Z a few days before, and reported it was a "shitty movie." I loved the book by Max Brooks (Mel's son) and could hardly wait. So fearful was I that the movie would actually rattle me that I postponed going for a week. (Also, I am in the midst of a binge rewatch of the Sopranos, now on the 5th season). Today I did something I have done less than a handful of times - I walked out on a movie. It was that shitty. It wasn't scary, it wasn't coherent, and it wasn't good.
I should have known. The author of the book had already disavowed the shooting script. Their was plenty of web chatter I hadn't paid attention to. This $200 million dollar CGI extravaganza was global disaster by Hollywood committee - no vision, none of the insightful observations of the book - and most importantly - no Battle of Yonkers. The movie insulted my intelligence. A series of silly set pieces strung together by interludes of nothing.
The only two recognizable settings for the movie drawn from the book were North Korea (only by dialogue) and Israel. Apparently, the Israel section of the movie has generated a bit of controversy amongst Middle Eastern tweeters. The movie script brings hero Brad Pitt to Jerusalem, one of a very few countries to survive the zombie onslaught (so too the book). None of the interesting aspects of Brooks' tale appear in the movie. In the credited writers' rape of the book, Israel has indeed built a massive wall to keep zombies out, and has opened its borders to non-zombified Arabs at special checkpoints. But nothing of the book's civil war between ultra-religious Jews and the Israeli army over this open policy is mentioned. In the movie, Israel is overrun as the noise of an Israeli peace song (started by Jews, and then joined in by appreciative Arabs) awakens the zombies to clamor over the wall. I cannot imagine the group-think argle-bargle of Hollywood story and marketing meetings and the directorial oversight which could have produced something this idiotic.
Now I am hoping the upcoming Israeli-produced "indie" movie Cannon Fodder (IDF and Hezbollah forces join together to combat zombies) might work.
As for World War Z - save your money. Read the book.

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