Friday, August 9, 2013

3 Short Paragraphs: World War Z

2013, Marc Forster (Stranger Than Fiction, Quantum of Solace) -- cinema

OK, let me get this out. This looks like a good movie -- its well shot, its built around skilled actors and performances and has exciting locales. You get the reminiscences of Contagion, obviously for the plague elements, but also the intrigue and suspense of military movies like Green Zone and The Hurt Locker. That it also smacks of The Bourne Identity is not surprising as that was the intention of the original screen writer, J Michael Straczynski. But the obvious meddling of producers and financiers in re-writing the script (it was not even finally accredited to JMS as anything other than story) is so heavy handed, I came out wondering what the point of the plot really was. After a while, I realized that half the production staff must have played the stellar zombie video game, Left 4 Dead, as they were almost rebuilding key scenes from that movie, minus the mutated creatures. Combine that with the plot holes you could enrage a tank through, I gave up trying to see the movie for what it was supposed to be and just settled in on it being badly, badly done. I could watch it for its decent crafting but that was it.

I also have to get out that I was not too bent out of shape that this was not going to be the book. The book is a series of remembrances, during interviews. They are over a vast swath of time and geography with countless characters. That is not a movie, but JMS at least attempted to capture the feel of the book, along with some key moving scenes, but hinged it around a character who would travel the world -- Brad Pitt's Gerry Lane. That was a good idea. But as production steamrolled on, all aspects of the book were dispensed with. There are the occasional reference, here and there, like those that pop up in mockbusters but nothing smacks of the original story. Sure, there are zombies and it is happening world wide, and that is about it.

The zombies themselves were impressive in a predatorial fashion, more like a hive mind of bestiality than zombies. Other than a few hints that it was difficult to put them down, we don't even really see them as the undead, more just infected people, like 28 Days Later. That is OK, but for the use of zombie and zeke in the movie. And PG-13 ?!?  Seriously?? All zombie attacks take place off camera or in the blurry distance?!?! The ant piles are fun to look at but lose their appeal, considering they were the main element of the trailers.