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World War Z: Mindless, Brain-Eating Fun

Basically it's enjoyable.

by
Andrew Klavan

Bio

July 8, 2013 - 2:00 pm

I’m off to New York for the International Thriller Writers ThrillerFest. My Young Adult novel If We Survive is nominated for best YA Thriller of the year. I won’t have time to post while I’m gone, so I’ll leave behind some mini-reviews:

Are we there yet?

World War Z – This is one of those films that gets reviewed as much for its budget (somewhere north of $200 million) as for its qualities, but basically it’s an enjoyable and suspenseful summer blockbuster type thing. I have a couple of friends who loved it, a couple who hated it — I just thought it was good enough.  As I’m sure everyone knows, the world is taken over by zombies and Brad Pitt has to try to save it. He does a good job playing a likable and admirable hero, though his backstory is absurd. (He was a war crimes investigator for the U.N. so I guess he’s expert in arriving too late, taking bribes and then doing nothing.) I liked the fact that, for a zombie film, the disgust level is really, really low. Not a lot of splattering and brains and, strange to say, you don’t miss them at all. Also liked the fact that Mireille Enos of The Killing is in it. Man, they must work hard on that TV show to make her look so drab. She’s stunningly beautiful and appealing.

The most interesting thing to me (and this is a little bit of a spoiler, though not much) is that the last third takes place in an enclosed facility and mostly features three actors walking down dark hallways, carrying hand weapons…  essentially a sequence that could have been on a cable TV show. So where did all those millions go, I wonder? But hey, it’s as suspenseful as the rest of it, so it shows you don’t need all that much dough to get things right.

My biggest criticism: there’s not really much of a human story. The hero is a good, resourceful guy in the beginning and he remains a good, resourceful guy. No one changes, no one learns anything, and there’s not much point. Life’s like that sometimes, but it doesn’t cost nine bucks to get in.

All in all: worth seeing for mindless, brain-eating fun. Based on the novel by Max Brooks, which I’ve heard is quite good.

*****

Cross-posted from Klavan on the Culture

Andrew Klavan’s newest novel is Nightmare City.

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All Comments   (10)
All Comments   (10)
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1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Yep. Keep supporting those leftists.

So, how do YOU spell "hypocrisy"?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I've read the book and seen the film and the two are only distantly related. That being said the move wasn't bad, it wasn't great either. I'll try to limit the spoilers.

The good:

A goodly amount of action with some good special effects. Several "gotcha" moments that make you jump. Zombies are creepy despite the lack of gore or decomposition.

The bad:

The movie relied heavily on blatent stupidity on the part of the characters to move the plot forward or to set up certain scenarios. Brad Pitt's character is supposedly some kind of special investigator who is a survivor, a guy who can survive stuff that others can't yet he doesn't know how to hold/carry a rifle.

The Ugly:

The characters were very flat and never saw any real development. I can't even remember Brad Pitt's character's name and I saw it this weekend and have a good memory.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
This book received a lot of positive press. I picked it up from the library once, but didnt get around to reading it.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Isn't this review about four weeks late?
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Mr. Klavan: June issue Vanity Fair, by Laura Holson, delved into the millions.
Creating the Jerusalem scene on Malta was one honking budget-buster.
And, they had to film a new ending.

I do not go to zombie films, but planning to see WWZ tomorrow, so thanks for noting the low 'disgust level'.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Minor Spoiler----------------------



The movie was ok. What I found to be truly shocking and noteworthy about it was the generally positive portrayal of Israel in a Hollywood film. Though I guess that's somewhat balanced by its glowing opinion of the UN.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
I didn't see it but it sounds like they are just being true to the book.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
Actually, it has almost nothing to do with the book, which was very good. The most annoying character is one of Pitts' character's daughters, a whining twit who, in the middle of vehicular mayhem, has to have her blanket, and while everyone is running from zombies, has to have her family stop to pick up her dropped stuffed toy, or rag doll, or some such. She looks about 10.

The zombie makeup is crappy (milky bulging eyes and blue veins are ridiculous; dead bodies have dead eyes, not bulging ones, and with no circulation, their veins would not be visible), but the scenes of hundreds of zombies hurling themselves into a stack to get over a wall are amazing.

There are two sequels coming out, so maybe that's where the quarter billion dollars went.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
See, the "mindless" part is the problem. The book wasn't "mindless" at all.
1 year ago
1 year ago Link To Comment
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