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Fast zombies is never, ever a good sign
November 6, 2012 1:40 PM   Subscribe

The first footage from the troubled, possibly doomed film adaptation of World War Z has been released [via io9]
posted by mediocre (139 comments total) 7 users marked this as a favorite

 
Good lord, ARE never a good sign.. not is..
posted by mediocre at 1:40 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Oh god this thing is going to be a disaster.
posted by The Whelk at 1:44 PM on November 6, 2012


As soon as they said the movie was 'starring' anyone I knew it would be a disaster. Unless Brad Pitt has the William Alland role from Citizen Kane this movie should not star Brad Pitt.
posted by shakespeherian at 1:47 PM on November 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Aw, man. I enjoyed the book. This looks like every other piece of zombie crapola.
posted by ColdChef at 1:48 PM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


It may be a disaster, but it was very cool to see downtown Glasgow (Scotland) being turned into Philadelphia just for the shoot. It was really odd seeing "J.F. Kennedy Avenue" and whatnot. Several co-workers signed up to be zombies too.
posted by kariebookish at 1:48 PM on November 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I'm also very skeptical about this, but I disagree about the fast zombies. Both 28 Days Later and the Dawn remake were very good movies.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:49 PM on November 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


For what it is worth, the audio adaptation, the first part of which is in the third link, is really good. Great way to pass a car ride.
posted by procrastination at 1:49 PM on November 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


The very first line of that video was a turnoff. "Brad Pitt against an army of zombies" is pretty much exactly not what the book is about.
posted by sawdustbear at 1:52 PM on November 6, 2012 [12 favorites]


oh they are 28-days-later-fast zombies...and not Shaun-of-the-dead-slow-shambling zombies. They just don't look right
posted by ShawnString at 1:52 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I keep reading "Max" as "Mel" Brooks.
posted by buzzman at 1:53 PM on November 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I put the book down very quickly; Max Brooks is a terrible writer. I'll probably watch the movie on Netflix (if it ever comes out), though.

It's kind of amazing to me how quickly zombie stuff goes off the rails. At best, zombie stuff seems tantalizingly close to great (or really good), but almost always falls well short.

I would like a really well done sandbox zombie game. Day Z may be it, but I haven't played it (I'm just on Xbox for games).

I don't mind fast zombies, either.
posted by Admiral Haddock at 1:53 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


buzzman: "I keep reading "Max" as "Mel" Brooks."

Max is Mel's son.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 1:54 PM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]




I put the book down very quickly; Max Brooks is a terrible writer.

You should try the audio book; procrastination is right, it is very well done. A large part of that, obviously, is the nearly uniformly excellent voice cast, including Alan Alda, Mark Hamill and (in my favorite bit) Henry Rollins.
posted by adamdschneider at 1:55 PM on November 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


They're not even fast zombies, they're, like, image hose zombies. Or something.
posted by KHAAAN! at 1:55 PM on November 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


I was thinking a rough documentary style in which you never see Brooks would be cool. Not Ken Burns style, all sepia and weepy violins, or Errol Morris style with subjects sitting alone in dark rooms intercut with video collage, but perhaps Herzog Style, subjects self conscious, entirely aware they are on film, interviews cut and reassembled until at the end the documentarian reaches an epiphany only he can understand. Maybe something about nuclear power and mutant alligators, or chickens being the epitome of evil. Bonus if they actually got Herzog to play Brooks.
posted by Ad hominem at 1:56 PM on November 6, 2012 [29 favorites]


The chief distinguishing thing about the book is that it presented the zombie apocalypse as history. The only proper way to adapt this would be documentary-style, all news footage and voiceovers and interviews with survivors.
posted by baf at 1:56 PM on November 6, 2012 [40 favorites]


Why would Pitt pay good money for the movie rights and create something totally different from the book? Why not skip the book altogether and just create a generic zombie action and claim you've been inspired by World War Z.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 1:57 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


So, with any luck, maybe this movie will end the zombie fetish once and for all? Sounds like box-office gold to me!
posted by Thorzdad at 1:58 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem: "I was thinking a rough documentary style in which you never see Brooks would be cool. Not Ken Burns style, all sepia and weepy violins, or Errol Morris style with subjects sitting alone in dark rooms intercut with video collage, but perhaps Herzog Style, subjects self conscious, entirely aware they are on film, interviews cut and reassembled until at the end the documentarian reaches an epiphany only he can understand. Maybe something about nuclear power and mutant alligators, or chickens being the epitome of evil. Bonus if they actually got Herzog to play Brooks"

I just watched "Incident at Loch Ness" a couple of weeks ago (very good, btw), and I can only say that yes, this, a thousand times this.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 2:01 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


"Max is Mel's son". Ooops/needs more menorah/dreidel battle zombie axe.
posted by buzzman at 2:02 PM on November 6, 2012


I put the book down very quickly; Max Brooks is a terrible writer.

I guess that makes me a terrible reader, because I thought the book was very well done and quite gripping.
posted by treepour at 2:03 PM on November 6, 2012 [23 favorites]


I put the book down very quickly; Max Brooks is a terrible writer.

Hmm, I'm a pretty picky reader and had no issue with his writing, sure it's not Richard Ford but it isn't Clive Cussler either.
posted by Cosine at 2:05 PM on November 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Aside from the ham-handed Karl Rove/Howard Dean/Colin Powell bits, the book was great.

A movie of Post-Apocalyptic Studs Terkel interviewing zombie survivors would be amazing if done right (not to mention a huge risk if they actually did narrate the whole thing, instead of just presenting it as a series of flashbacks with a framing mechanism), but man, is this ever not that.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:06 PM on November 6, 2012


That preview looks terrible. Having zombies swarming the way the preview shows is just crap.
posted by Catblack at 2:07 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


the timing is terrible cause the Zombie wave crested like, three years ago. I thought The Walking Dead was the endpoint of the rise.
posted by The Whelk at 2:08 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


What to Expect When You're Infecting
posted by gottabefunky at 2:08 PM on November 6, 2012 [26 favorites]


Although, the zoms sort of... frothing... over walls and through alleyways is a uniquely different vision of what I pictured when reading the book. It's terrifying.
posted by mochapickle at 2:09 PM on November 6, 2012


Hmm, I'm a pretty picky reader and had no issue with his writing

Really? I found it unbearable. I think it was the only book I abandoned in 2011.

Wasn't there another big zombie book last year (or this year)? That took place in NYC and followed a team of zombie hunters or something?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:09 PM on November 6, 2012


I'm with Admiral Haddock, I thought Brook's decision to write an "oral history" while having no ability to write in different voices (other to throw in a few colloquialisms for the Texan character or whomever) doomed the book. I love the idea of the book, but the execution was pretty bad.
posted by Bookhouse at 2:10 PM on November 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


the audio book is a *much* stronger adaptation if only cause the actors work to separate out the voices more.
posted by The Whelk at 2:12 PM on November 6, 2012


Wasn't there another big zombie book last year (or this year)? That took place in NYC and followed a team of zombie hunters or something?

Zone One, by Colson Whitehead. It was so boring I didn't make it through the first chapter. I loved World War Z and the scope and novelty made it easy to overlook some shortcomings. That story about the Ranger who crashed and ran across flyover country? Chills.
posted by mochapickle at 2:12 PM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


The second URL contains the dread phrase "Damon Lindelof", and that tells me everything I need to know. Project is already dead, just doesn't know it yet.
posted by Mars Saxman at 2:14 PM on November 6, 2012 [10 favorites]


Project is already dead, just doesn't know it yet.

So it might be...UNdead!!
posted by FJT at 2:16 PM on November 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


So, with any luck, maybe this movie will end the zombie fetish once and for all?

I totally expect this to happen. Because every genre of film ends when a crappy representative of said genre is released.
posted by IvoShandor at 2:17 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


I thought The Walking Dead was the endpoint of the rise.

Walking Dead is one of the prime examples of zombie stuff failing to deliver. It's so close to great, but palpably not. Can Carl not sit put and not be annoying for five minutes? Jeez. Riding around on an incredibly loud Harley, and in a beat up Winnebago that breaks down every five miles? Jesus, just hunker down Dawn of the Dead style. And the graphic novel was no less annoying.

I just want The Road PLUS zombies. Is that too much to ask?
posted by Admiral Haddock at 2:18 PM on November 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


I put the book down very quickly; Max Brooks is a terrible writer.

This is why I quickly gave up on reading the very similar Robocalypse.

I'll also add to the chorus that the audio book of World War Z is excellent.
posted by thecjm at 2:18 PM on November 6, 2012


I don't mind fast zombies, either.

Fasting zombies are the best, since they aren't chewing open your cranium. I don't know who would be against a zombie fast.
posted by GenjiandProust at 2:19 PM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Aside from the ham-handed Karl Rove/Howard Dean/Colin Powell bits, the book was great.

Yeah I thought a lot of the political analysis was really shallow, and the US sections seemed really really dated when I read it in 2011, but the first-person historical perspective was very well done.

It was so boring I didn't make it through the first chapter.

I think that Zone One is an interesting exercise in marrying a genre novel to modern first-person "lit." So in many senses it's a zombie novel where the action scenes are the least important part of the plot. That's probably why I liked it.
posted by muddgirl at 2:23 PM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


I just watched "Incident at Loch Ness" a couple of weeks ago (very good, btw), and I can only say that yes, this, a thousand times this.

I need to see that, it is a mocumentary about Herzog doing a documentary about the Loch Ness Monster right?

I can only guess a Herzog documentary about zombies must conclude that we are the true zombies."Are we truly the zombies who look back into the abyss of time?".

I liked the book a lot mainly due to th fact that it stuck to geopolitical issues instead of the psychological realism of The Walking Dead. TWD is so transparent with its "the walking dead is the survivors" shtick. I finished the first omnibus and can't read anymore.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:23 PM on November 6, 2012


Walking Dead is one of the prime examples of something that should just have stayed as its source material and not been filmed.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:24 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Cosine: "Hmm, I'm a pretty picky reader and had no issue with his writing, sure it's not Richard Ford but it isn't Clive Cussler either."

Few things can claim to be as awesome as Clive Cussler.
posted by brundlefly at 2:29 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


28 Days Later did not birth fast zombies. Return of the Living Dead had fast, clever zombies and is one of the finest zombie films ever made.
posted by munchingzombie at 2:29 PM on November 6, 2012 [15 favorites]


I like The Walking Dead just fine. It has moved on from last year, which is nice. The sense of danger being missing is a bit annoying, but it's not like the comic deserves the praise it gets.

That said, I am liking The Governor on TV. Less so Princess Scowly.

World War Z wasn't anything I was interested before, and I haven't read the book, but this "sizzle reel" was more "fizzle".
posted by Mezentian at 2:32 PM on November 6, 2012


"What to Expect When You're Infecting"? Oh man, gottabefunky, please let me steal that as the followup to my book 50 Shades of Brains (which is what my husband named my "no, it'll be, like, a SEXY zombie book with lots of sex in it! No! Not with the zombies! Sheesh!" book idea).
posted by bitter-girl.com at 2:33 PM on November 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


Few things can claim to be as awesome as Clive Cussler.

ROFL, I was counting down the seconds until a Cuss-pologist showed up!
posted by Cosine at 2:34 PM on November 6, 2012


Don't get me wrong. Cussler is a godawful writer. But he is also a hilariously entertaining writer.
posted by brundlefly at 2:36 PM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Few things can claim to be as awesome as Clive Cussler.

You seem to have mis-typed James Patterson.
Few things can claim to be as awesome as James Patterson.
posted by Mezentian at 2:36 PM on November 6, 2012


I like The Walking Dead just fine.

I watch it. Barely.

So hard to watch seemingly intelligent people make idiotic decision after idiotic decision. Good writing should make you say "Oh, wow, that's so smart, I totally wouldn't have thought of that." not "Why the hell are they not doing x and x and x?" As TWD does, almost by the minute.
posted by Cosine at 2:36 PM on November 6, 2012


the timing is terrible cause the Zombie wave crested like, three years ago. I thought The Walking Dead was the endpoint of the rise.

After the terrible second season I wanted The Walking Dead to bugger off but season three has been fairly good so far, especially the pacing. It's never going to be a great show but might just end up being good enough.
posted by Foci for Analysis at 2:38 PM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


Well that looked like shit.

Also I am Legend remains unmatched, though I liked World War Z a lot.
posted by Artw at 2:38 PM on November 6, 2012


World War Z was also the first to explore underwater zombies. Zombies that just walk out of the ocean. Fuckers can just walk to the south pole or whatever remote island you try to hide on. They can cling to your offshore drilling platform or ship.
posted by Ad hominem at 2:41 PM on November 6, 2012 [7 favorites]


it's not like the comic deserves the praise it gets

Kept me reading until issue 78, when I was done waiting for the once a month schedule. I will probably redo it all when it's done.
posted by adamdschneider at 2:44 PM on November 6, 2012


Ad hominem: "World War Z was also the first to explore underwater zombies."

You need to see Zombi 2.
posted by brundlefly at 2:45 PM on November 6, 2012 [11 favorites]


As a hipster zombie fan (I was posting on Usenet about zombies in college, dagnabbit *shakes cane*) I've been waiting for the zombie fad to move on so we can get back to weird creepy niche zombies.... and waiting.. and waiting.

That being said I loved World War Z and the idea of a serious historical zombie war "documentary", and I'm sad they decided to ignore that whole concept and go with Brad Pitt and a cute little girl. The tidal waves of zombies looked kind of rad and different, though.
posted by jess at 2:45 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem: "World War Z was also the first to explore underwater zombies."
You need to see Zombi 2.


I think EC's horror comics might have some prior art too.
posted by Mezentian at 2:47 PM on November 6, 2012


They looked like army ants. Really fast, sprinting army ants.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:47 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ad hominem: "World War Z was also the first to explore underwater zombies."
You need to see Zombi 2.

I think EC's horror comics might have some prior art too.


Sorry, clearly I had not done as much research as I should have into zombie evolution. Prior to War Z I had only seen slow zombies, then fast zombies, I mistakenly thought the undersea zombie was a entirely new type of zombie introduced in War Z. Are there any other types of zombies?
posted by Ad hominem at 2:52 PM on November 6, 2012


jess: "The tidal waves of zombies looked kind of rad and different, though."

Yeah, I agree. Also, it's a bit more disturbing when you drop the word "zombie" and think "tidal waves of corpses."
posted by brundlefly at 2:52 PM on November 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Walking Dead is one of the prime examples of something that should just have stayed as its source material and not been filmed.

I dunno, the comics got rather tedious and hollow after a while too. The "gotta keep 'em coming" mentality which infects the comic book industry is the doom of many a great franchise. Some stories just need to complete their arc and end at some point.
posted by AdamCSnider at 2:54 PM on November 6, 2012


Your favorite writer is terrible, godawful, unbearable, and maybe even worse-than, not-so-bad-as, or not-as-awesome-as Clive Cussler.

Glad we cleared that up.
posted by treepour at 2:56 PM on November 6, 2012


World War Z also had zombie popcicles, that conveniently thaw out in the spring, although again I'm pretty sure that's been done before.
posted by muddgirl at 2:57 PM on November 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Re: Fast zombies - nothing wrong with them, and the wave crashing on a wall is the best visual in the trailer, but there's so much of WWZ that doesn't work with fast zombies. Especially the big battle scene that's predicated on the idea that, given infinite ammunition and guns that don't jam, an army can stand in one place and shoot oncoming zombies forever without danger.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 2:57 PM on November 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


George is not going to like this.
posted by HuronBob at 2:59 PM on November 6, 2012


Metafilter: can stand in one place and shoot oncoming zombies forever without danger.
posted by HuronBob at 3:00 PM on November 6, 2012


There are underwater zombies (well, one great scene) in the absolutely excellent Cuban-made film, Juan of the Dead. (And yes, it's rather funny, like Shawn of the Dead with poorer people, in Havana.)

I think that The Walking Dead franchise (including the video game) is about as good as the genre gets. It's about people and their emotions as they struggle to survive and find a reason to live. The second season of the show suffered from being slow because AMC's Mad Men spent a quarter million to use a Beatles song. It's getting back on track with the events of the comic book, but I'm sure it's going to be it's own thing for years to come.
posted by Catblack at 3:02 PM on November 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Few things can claim to be as awesome as Clive Cussler.

Dirk Pitt is a name straight out of Space Mutiny.
posted by entropicamericana at 3:14 PM on November 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


I agree The Walking Dead is good when the characters are not making the most feebleminded decisions possible, or when every other new character introduced is not batshit crazy. Between those two things, TWD has little chance of being good.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:15 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Given it's 'troubled', to put it mildly, production history (especially the dread Lindelof being involved) I was expecting it to be bad, but it looks even worse than I expected.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:40 PM on November 6, 2012


The Winnebago does seem like a pretty poor choice for apocalypse travel.
posted by thelonius at 3:46 PM on November 6, 2012


cause the Zombie wave crested like, three years ago

The World War Z footage looks like a wave of zombies cresting non-stop.
posted by mediated self at 3:55 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Fast zombies do not make sense from a metabolic point of view. I can dig a slow zombie suddenly lurching forward to grab prey, but zombies that can run would run out of ATP quickly. The only way that the fast zombie can work is if the underlying mechanism is nanotechnologically rewiring the corpse's synapses and providing a means of power. I eat food and I can't run at full speed forever so why should a zombie? Why not just get bitten then and come back as a fast zombie? You apparently get to live forever and gain speed and strength without the cumbersome need to actually eat.

Fast zombies are a cop-out.
posted by Renoroc at 4:01 PM on November 6, 2012 [6 favorites]


F this. Awful, awful interpretation. It wasn't that the zombies swarmed you with their speed, it was that you ran out of ammo and lost your wits in the face of a neverending mob of relentless, ploding death. That and that any military training (namely center body mass shots) was mostly useless. As well as the fact that the political system lacked the will to stop the infection....

Damnit.
posted by RolandOfEld at 4:19 PM on November 6, 2012 [9 favorites]


Given that this looks basically nothing like the Brooks novel, I think we can assume that we won't get to see any sweet Lobotomizer action either.

It looks like Pitt's people bought the book and then proceeded to write a script without having even read the thing. Upsetting.
posted by Strange Interlude at 4:26 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]


Zombie Survival Handbook was great. World War Z was awful. This is worse!
posted by jsnlxndrlv at 4:31 PM on November 6, 2012


I never thought this would work because (a) the book does not have a plot but is rather a series of loosely-connected events and (b) zombie plague stories cannot be war stories--zombies by definition cannot organize themselves into armies, so what follows cannot be a war.
posted by smrtsch at 4:51 PM on November 6, 2012


Sorry, clearly I had not done as much research as I should have into zombie evolution. Prior to War Z I had only seen slow zombies, then fast zombies, I mistakenly thought the undersea zombie was a entirely new type of zombie introduced in War Z. Are there any other types of zombies?

Smart zombies, horny zombies, sexy zombies, gay zombies, winged zombies, time-travelling zombies, domestic zombies, bpdy-part zombies, half-zombies, zompires, zombie strippers... white zombies

And that's before I even look into the Monster Manual.

It's a zombie, zombie, zombie world out there.
posted by Mezentian at 5:04 PM on November 6, 2012 [1 favorite]




It's a zombie, zombie, zombie world out there.

Zombies of the World - a pretty good field guide.
posted by Artw at 5:18 PM on November 6, 2012


I just want The Road PLUS zombies. Is that too much to ask?

Try Stake Land. Probably as close as you're gonna get.

Btw, hope I'm not the only one whose jaw drops at the folks who start discussions of this nauseating-looking WWZ adaptation with "Well, the book isn't suited to the cinematic form." Are you kidding me? It may not be suited to A-list protagonist mainstream Hollywood form, but if ever there was a book practically salivating over itself to be turned into a flick it was WWZ. Its senseless death by Hollywood committee will be remembered by future generations as one of the great tragedies of the First Zombie Era.
posted by mediareport at 5:28 PM on November 6, 2012 [8 favorites]


I am Legend remains unmatched

I found myself liking The Last Man on Earth with Vincent Price as a better adaptation.

One of the problems with IAL is that the gun-nut in me kept yammering in the back of my head, "He just fired 40 rounds out of a weapon that will hold, at most, 31 with that magazine..." (see: umbrella stand). Yes, I slow-motioned the DVD and *counted*, because it bugged me in the theater.
posted by mrbill at 5:37 PM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


but if ever there was a book practically salivating over itself to be turned into a flick it was WWZ. Its senseless death by Hollywood committee will be remembered by future generations as one of the great tragedies of the First Zombie Era.

Yeah, it seems to me like Roland Emmerich has been practicing to make this movie for the last 15 years.
posted by muddgirl at 5:45 PM on November 6, 2012


Kinda hopin' this is what finally kills zombie fiction.

The entire concept has gotten very meta, as it lurches around looking for some other genre to infect ("Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" and the *REDACTED LANGUAGE* Star Wars books, what the screaming blue pluperfect hell), and just needs to be put down.
posted by mephron at 6:07 PM on November 6, 2012 [2 favorites]


My god, I'm sick of zombies.
posted by New England Cultist at 7:09 PM on November 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


Yeah, those look like way too fast zombies. If you strip out all the humanity, then you kind of mute the dread associated with them. Plus it looks fake. It might as well be aliens, or insects.
posted by Brocktoon at 7:13 PM on November 6, 2012


Catblack: "There are underwater zombies (well, one great scene) in the absolutely excellent Cuban-made film, Juan of the Dead. (And yes, it's rather funny, like Shawn of the Dead with poorer people, in Havana.) "

Am I the only person who absolutely loathed this movie, mostly for the pervasive homophobia?
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 7:17 PM on November 6, 2012


If you strip out all the humanity, then you kind of mute the dread associated with them.

Bingo. Fast zombies are not zombies. There's just no discussion possible about that.

Also, really sad to hear something say there's pervasive homophobia in Juan of the Dead. I was about to rent it from the local shop, and will now gird my loins in advance. Glad for the warning.

Also, also, has anyone else seen The Revenant? I really liked that little indie flick. Beautifully creepy blood/brain sucking scene in the back of a car, tons of hilarity and gore and the strangest, funniest scene with a severed head you'll ever see in an undead movie, I promise. A nice surprise for this zombie addict; as long as you don't expect War & Peace & Zombies or anything, it's a great couple of hours of odd, funny, stupid, horrifying undead fun.
posted by mediareport at 7:31 PM on November 6, 2012


If you hate zombies or are sick of zombies, then the zombie books/movies are not aimed toward you, so move along.

Max Brooks is a terrible writer, but the audio book was interesting enough because of the readers.
posted by Malice at 7:45 PM on November 6, 2012


J Michael Straczynski wrote a script for the film when it was initially purchased by Pitts production company. Everything I have read about it said that the script was brilliant, and if it were made well it could be the Citizen Kane of zombie movies.

This of course, was shelved.
posted by mediocre at 7:49 PM on November 6, 2012


Hmm. All recent writings of his I have encountered have been HORRIBLE.
posted by Artw at 8:07 PM on November 6, 2012


I thought the best parts of the book were the ones only tenuously related to the zombie apocalypse, like the Chinese civil war and the Iran-Pakistan nuclear exchange because neither country had a red phone-type diplomatic hotline.
posted by Apocryphon at 8:43 PM on November 6, 2012


I liked the book in general, especially the whole North Korea aside. Creeeeeeeepy.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 8:48 PM on November 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


Why would Pitt pay good money for the movie rights and create something totally different from the book? Why not skip the book altogether and just create a generic zombie action and claim you've been inspired by World War Z.

So he could star in a movie based on a very popular, bestselling book. In other words, he was hoping he'd get a ton of people in drawn by the title, never mind what's on the screen.
posted by happyroach at 9:37 PM on November 6, 2012


the thing is, the stuff that made the book good are really, REALLY untranslatable to film.

Cause what made the book good to me was the global view, the What If? part. Yeah we can get a standard Zombies In New York but also Zombies in Iceland and Zombies in Mongolia and OMG people in orbit and Canadian cannibals and the stronghold of soCal college towns and isolated rain forest tribes and the tunnels of Paris and Cuba and other island nations so on. It was pure worldbuilding what if wiki-bait with minimal characterization, it was just Okay Zombies, how do people react, across the world, in their various situations?

That made it a good book, or at least an interesting one, and the audio book was a brilliant adaptation of it.

There is nothing that would be gained or improved by making it a movie, because there no themes or character in it that would help from being improved or brought to focus. It was a pure thought experiment kind of thing, great for a novel, even better for an audiobook, and totally terrible for a movie.

the fact that it's been such public, tempestuous development hell since FOREVER does not help.
posted by The Whelk at 9:38 PM on November 6, 2012 [3 favorites]


To all the people who are saying Max Brooks is not a good writer, I think you might have missed the part of the introduction where he wrote that he was intentionally trying to create an oral history in the style of the most famous WWII social histories. What you see as Brooks being a horrible writer with no regard for plot, characterization, dialogue or narrative, I see as Brooks doing a really good job channeling Studs Terkel, who was working in a whole other genre. Brooks wasn't writing a novel, he was writing a fake oral history. Not sure how all you guys missed that, or hey, maybe you just don't like Max Brooks's writing, which is like totally OK, you know? That's why we have different flavors of ice cream. This just isn't yours, I guess.
posted by seasparrow at 9:41 PM on November 6, 2012 [4 favorites]


What you see as Brooks being a horrible writer with no regard for plot, characterization, dialogue or narrative, I see as Brooks doing a really good job channeling Studs Terkel

The one thing you get from any Studs Terkel book are the individual voices of the people he interviews. Brooks' characters all sounded the same. He also has a Wikipedia level understanding of the world which doesn't help.

What he is good at was ratcheting up the tension, keeping you reading just that little bit longer..
posted by MartinWisse at 12:19 AM on November 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


Why would Pitt pay good money for the movie rights and create something totally different from the book?

If zombies are 'bankable' enough for the Government to hold drills and the makers of bullets to make rounds to kill zombies - Pitt might think the idea is bankable then be "told" by a focus group to change things.

Why waste your time on Pitt? Go get the value from zombie media you are paying for from http://zrealmpodcast.blogspot.com/.
posted by rough ashlar at 12:50 AM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


"That being said I loved World War Z and the idea of a serious historical zombie war "documentary", and I'm sad they decided to ignore that whole concept and go with Brad Pitt and a cute little girl."
________
"the thing is, the stuff that made the book good are really, REALLY untranslatable to film."
They should have made this like a zombie-based Band of Brothers style documentary. You know we won the historic battle because we're -here-, right? But this is supposed to be the History Channel documentary about the time we almost lost. Show the interviews plus or minus a little voice overlay on the individual's history and then show the "in the moment" terror of it.
I mean, here you are, sitting on your couch watching John Smith trying to get out of the trenches and thinking he's going to die. He's clutching his gun and wishing he could see his wife/kids one more time. And you know, YOU KNOW he makes it out okay because he's in a chair right now, talking to the unseen interviewer, his back to one of those soft-lit fabric backdrops....but you still tense up because listening to the groans and hisses and moans of the dead RIGHT NOW because you're also there, and he's not sitting in the chair anymore. He's a scared kid again...
...and the zombies are coming, and you can see that his neighbor is sobbing into the dirt because he wasn't trained for this but....

And you jump to another member of the group, one who is maybe 50 people away in line, who has to see HIS best friend panic and get eaten....

And on and on. I mean, Band of Brothers was pretty goddamn popular. How did this adaption get so fucked up?
posted by DisreputableDog at 1:24 AM on November 7, 2012 [5 favorites]


May I hop in and recommend a book that, while containing zombies, is not really about zombies: The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell (disclosure: I know the author). For you purists, the zombies are slow.
posted by orrnyereg at 2:31 AM on November 7, 2012


Re the homophobia in Juan of the Dead: It's worth nothing that the film has a transwoman character who could have been replaced by a ciswoman without having to change much at all. I spent the first half of the film waiting for it to become a thing, but it never did, and she just carried along being an important character. A very rare thing indeed.
posted by Jilder at 2:49 AM on November 7, 2012


I would like a really well done sandbox zombie game. Day Z may be it

Surprised more people haven't mentioned this game, because it is brutal. I don't survive long honestly. If you are around a lot of hackers, it's not as fun and scary, but if you get a good server and take it seriously, it's pretty good. The zombies are a significant threat, but a bigger threat are the 'bandits' (used to be that the skin you were wearing would change if you killed enough other players, making it easy to tell who not to trust, not so anymore). Anyway, it's a nice unique take on the whole game.
posted by usagizero at 3:20 AM on November 7, 2012


So we've had intelligent zombies, fast zombies and now swarming zombies... I feel a sudden urge to write a flying zombie script.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 3:33 AM on November 7, 2012


The two biggest jumped-the-shark motherfuckers in the entertainment business are Brad Pitt and Damon Lindelof. I seriously barfed clicking the links in this post.
posted by phaedon at 4:08 AM on November 7, 2012


It would be cool if that flying zombie only drank blood and showed no signs of decay as long as he/she could keep fed. To make things a little fair and interesting, make it exquisitely sensitive to daylight. Now we just need a name for this near-immortal blood-feasting creature that dies in the light of the sun?
posted by Renoroc at 4:23 AM on November 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Actually sod flying zombies... it's gonna be chaste romantic zombies. That sparkle.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 5:03 AM on November 7, 2012 [7 favorites]


The two biggest jumped-the-shark motherfuckers in the entertainment business are Brad Pitt and Damon Lindelof. I seriously barfed clicking the links in this post.

I didn't know Lindelof was involved with this, so I looked at the Wikipedia page for the adaptation:

In June 2012, the film's release date was pushed back and the crew returned to Budapest for a seven weeks of additional shooting. Damon Lindelof was hired to rewrite the third act, but did not have the time to finish the script and Drew Goddard was hired to rewrite it

... which is a step up, in my view.

Anyway, I am stubborn in my belief that an unfaithful adaptation of source material is not necessarily the end of things: Blade Runner sucks as an adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Apocalypse Now is far better than the more faithful rendering of Heart of Darkness, and Hitchcock's The Birds is remembered while Du Maurier's original short story is justly forgotten. And proverbially bad books often make goood movies, and I thought the idea for World War Z was intriguing but the execution was flat. That being said: Good Lord, this looks dreadful.
posted by ricochet biscuit at 5:44 AM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


New Romantic Zombies?
posted by Artw at 6:20 AM on November 7, 2012 [3 favorites]


Re; Day Z

If you are around a lot of hackers, it's not as fun and scary, but if you get a good server and take it seriously, it's pretty good. The zombies are a significant threat, but a bigger threat are the 'bandits' (used to be that the skin you were wearing would change if you killed enough other players, making it easy to tell who not to trust, not so anymore).

Hacking is so rampant that I could not avoid it, even on a password-protected server. And far from making things more tense, I have found that the "no bandit skin" just means other players not in your group shoot at you on sight, and vice versa. Take no chances. I don't play it anymore.
posted by adamdschneider at 6:51 AM on November 7, 2012


It may be a disaster, but it was very cool to see downtown Glasgow (Scotland) being turned into Philadelphia

Why would they do that, we have a perfectly good philadelphia right here! I'm sitting in it!
posted by Mister_A at 7:11 AM on November 7, 2012


Why would they do that, we have a perfectly good philadelphia right here! I'm sitting in it!

Our film tax credit situation! The production was initially scouting here, but we lost it.
posted by gladly at 7:23 AM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ach that thing again. Thanks Gov. Jagoff!
posted by Mister_A at 8:46 AM on November 7, 2012


What you see as Brooks being a horrible writer with no regard for plot, characterization, dialogue or narrative, I see as Brooks doing a really good job channeling Studs Terkel, who was working in a whole other genre.

Studs Terkel does exactly what Max brooks fails to do, which is to capture the utter uniqueness of everyone's own voice, syntax, worldview, etc. Working in a nontraditional (although not unique) novel form doesn't excuse you from having to learn how to write how different people talk. (The fake oral biography of John Wesley Harding, The Pistoleer, does a much better job in this regard).

In fact, since the form Brooks chose forced him to abandon story elements like narrative drive and a protagonist, he really needed to deliver on characterization and voice. I think a lot of people can excuse that because they find his underlying ideas interesting, which is fine. Prose style isn't king in commercial fiction. But that doesn't make his prose good.
posted by Bookhouse at 10:47 AM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


The narrative drive is there; it's a framework that each vignette fits into. The book runs through the entire zombie apocalypse from first outbreak to final (well, mostly final) battles with the hordes. You just have to think a bit about where each story falls in that framework.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:41 AM on November 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Not that Brooks doesn't make everybody sound the same. Really need to try out that audiobook version...
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 11:42 AM on November 7, 2012


stronghold of soCal college towns

I went to one of the colleges in that bit, and I could totally imagine it being held by students. 5C kids are a bit nuts, in a good way.
posted by flaterik at 11:46 AM on November 7, 2012


From the trailer, this seems kind of like Snyder's Dawn of the Dead, in that Dawn should never have been given that title, should never have been called a remake, because on its own, it's a competent zombie movie that uses fast zombies well. If it had been given an original title, I suspect it would have been received much better, and the fact that it takes place in a mall would be seen as a tribute to Romero's seminal movie. And no one would have cared, because paying tribute to Romero is The Done Thing. By being called a remake of Dawn of the Dead, it never stood a chance.

This looks like it could be an interesting movie - maybe even a good one - but there's nothing about the footage that suggests the book World War Z. I'd probably go see it and pretend the title is something different.

I do think there'd be a worthwhile movie to be made out of the book, but it would have to be an adaptation of the book's spirit more than a rote representation of its events. A story being told from news footage, media, et cetera, intercut with interviews. It would have needed a director who salivates at the idea of building the world of the movie, and populating it with all sorts of little details. I honestly think the acid test would have been to find a director who, upon finishing the book, started envisioning commercials for the phony anti-zombification drug, and then started thinking about where and how he'd use them in the film.

Guillermo del Toro was the first name that came to mind.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 12:07 PM on November 7, 2012 [2 favorites]


Between that, the desperate need for more Hellboy movies and one columnist's tantalizing proposal that Disney should hand him the keys to Star Wars, I'm beginning to come around to Guillermo del Toro's limited time on this Earth as the best argument for human cloning.
posted by Holy Zarquon's Singing Fish at 12:22 PM on November 7, 2012 [1 favorite]


it's gonna be chaste romantic zombies.

Usually, it's the zombies that do the chasing. Very slowly, but still. Who'd chase a zombie? They are too easy to catch. And they bite.
posted by GenjiandProust at 1:51 PM on November 7, 2012


Project is already dead, just doesn't know it yet.

Sigh. Unfortunately not. For reasons detailed in books like The Big Picture I can assure you that this project has been 'tailored' so as to maximize global returns. Films like these, and most all major Hollywood VFX films, tend to be defined by narrow checklists that guarantee, based on focus group research and international market research, a fairly accurate return on investment. Basically the movie becomes a sort of average of acceptable global norms and popular tropes so that you can show the same movie in a theater in Ohio and also at a mall in Dubai or India without ruffling feathers. Because of this the plot and overall picture as an art piece suffers greatly...and even if this particular toilet filth was a bomb in the US (and I predict it will make at least decent returns) it will do fine overseas...that calculus is built into its production.

And that is what makes me roll my eyes until they spin out of my goddamned head. Because I enjoyed the hell out of the book. I don't know who Max Brooks is or why I should care, and to me discussing the literary merits of his writing style for a book about zombies that you might pick up at an airport bookstore is a little out of perspective, but the actual book would have made a damn good movie. The whole oral history of the book would have made for a really interesting documentary style film that could have addressed a range of issues involving human nature and government and all that set against a backdrop of blowing zombies heads open. What fun!

And then I see the trailer and it's the same goddamn thing that I see every day (I work as a VFX artist - gross)...huge masturbatory vfx sequences that are so divorced from anything remotely resembling reality that there is no concern for the well-being of the characters. I mean, not to mention the disregarding everything about the book aside from the title...but if the characters live in a reality where huge fucking waves of zombies pour down the street like some MC Escher bizarro-physics world then I guess anything could be possible so I'm not worried. Theirs becomes a reality divorced from mine...the suspension of disbelief becomes a suspension of anything that I can possibly relate to and it sucks me right out of the movie. A fan-film of this same subject matter would be infinitely better than this terrible terrible abortion of an otherwise entertaining book...
posted by jnnla at 3:29 PM on November 7, 2012 [4 favorites]


I liked the Dawn remake but what really steamed my peas was the fact that no one seems interested in making the real Day of the Dead that Romero wanted to do, but couldn't get made. The script has been floating around the Interwebz for ages; I've read it -- one of the only scripts I've ever been bothered to read -- and it's something I've wanted to see made. (Especially in light of the sub-par Day of the Dead that we did get.)
posted by Dark Messiah at 4:10 PM on November 7, 2012


I just watched this and I'm a little worried that they appear to be using leftover CGI from The Mummy as a cost cutting measure.
posted by entropicamericana at 5:17 PM on November 7, 2012


I appreciate WWZ for what it is, an attempt to look at the zombie apocalypse on a global scale. It's not Brooks' fault that he's the Thomas Friedman of the subgenre by dint of no one else trying to do anything similar. Less kvetching, more high-stakes geopolitical thrillers involving people getting eaten, please. The book was published only six years ago and can be neatly updated for the new decade. How would Paul Ryan react to the undead menace? What would be the fate of Ai Weiwei? Where, oh where, would Lady Gaga be?
posted by Apocryphon at 12:29 AM on November 8, 2012


I just watched this and I'm a little worried that they appear to be using leftover CGI from The Mummy as a cost cutting measure.

I'll be right back. My pitch to The Asylum for World War Zombies just found its killer app.

(Seriously, The Asylum probably could do a decent mockumenta... ah who am I kidding).
posted by Mezentian at 2:28 AM on November 8, 2012


Where, oh where, would Lady Gaga be?

The attack on the show-biz retreat in New York (I think) was one my fave bits... but I knew it was pretty unlikely that would make it to any film version.
posted by fearfulsymmetry at 6:46 AM on November 8, 2012 [1 favorite]




Just watched the new Brad Pitty trailer, and it looks like an interesting-ish film. I'd get it out on DVD. Not sure how it differs from the book, but is looks like Pitt is some sort of James Bond/Seal Team 6 agent who need to *something* to stop the zombies. Or rescue the president's daughter.

It might actually be okay if it wasn't Zombie-zombies.
posted by Mezentian at 3:41 AM on November 9, 2012




"What to Expect When You're Infecting"? Oh man, gottabefunky, please let me steal that as the followup to my book 50 Shades of Brains.
You rejected 50 Shades of Grey Matter?
posted by fullerine at 5:33 AM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


World War Z (2013): First Official Trailer
The uploader has not made this video available in your country.
Ouch...
posted by muddgirl at 5:41 AM on November 9, 2012


Anyway, watched the trailer here and it looks like an OK action movie, except with ZOMBIES. Maybe they should have gone with the 'zombification' trend and called it something like Independence from Zombies Day. I guess they just bought the title "World War Z" because they liked the concept of a zombie invasion being like war. Which, um, sort of misses the point of the book.
posted by muddgirl at 5:48 AM on November 9, 2012


Yeah, if this trailer were for a movie with a different title, I'm pretty sure people would be at the very least pretty interested in this new Brad Pitt movie with zombies in it. But what I'm seeing here has nothing to do with World War Z at all.

Which is weird, because it's like - the only reason they'd do this would be to have the brand recognition of the book, but if you're at all familiar with the book then this trailer will only annoy you.

On the other hand, The Last Airbender made its money back, so what do I know.
posted by FAMOUS MONSTER at 5:50 AM on November 9, 2012


I just realized that the trailer probably only covers the first act and a bit of the second, and there's probably some mid-movie pivot when the stodgy ol' military realizes that their tactic isn't working. They'll probably be some pivotal monologue from some grizzled general, "They don't get tired. They can't be frightened. They are hungry, and they'll stop at nothing to get to us. Gentlemen, we can't out-kill them - we have to out-smart them." And so on.
posted by muddgirl at 6:11 AM on November 9, 2012


(Wait, I keep forgetting this isn't an Emmerich movie. I guess that monolgue is probably delivered by Brad Pitt himself. He looks pretty grizzled.)
posted by muddgirl at 6:13 AM on November 9, 2012


That's it! Their weakness is water, it's like acid to them.
posted by Kevin Street at 2:57 PM on November 9, 2012


Since people mentioned I Am Legend (for some reason, Vampires, dudes), I may as well share this concept clip from Ridley Scott's aborted three-make with Arnie.

I will also warn you off I Am Omega.
posted by Mezentian at 10:55 PM on November 9, 2012 [1 favorite]


In the novel, Matheson makes it clear it is not straight up vampires. He took a bit of liberty and didn't follow the usual tropes about vampires and (some of) what he presents as a monster is actually much closer to what we recognize as a zombie.
posted by P.o.B. at 3:22 PM on November 10, 2012


Since people mentioned I Am Legend (for some reason, Vampires, dudes), I may as well share this concept clip from Ridley Scott's aborted three-make with Arnie.

Well, I mentioned the book, which is the origin point for all zombie apocalypses, vampires or no.
posted by Artw at 8:09 PM on November 10, 2012 [1 favorite]


Ah. Good point. I do so love the book, but my memories of I Am Legend are largely defined by The Omega Man.
posted by Mezentian at 9:12 PM on November 10, 2012


So, about Juan of the Dead, which I watched the other night: Yeah, there are periodic needlessly homophobic moments that detract from the general nihilistic Cuban zombie comedy pleasure. Some of those moments are relatively forgivable in the context of Stupid Zombie Movieness: the early bit when the main character calls a little kid's possibly-gay dad "sodomite," the late bit when a character impales a zombie up the ass with a spear and sneers "sodomite" as he walks away, the use of "maricones" ("faggots") along with "dissidents" as a general furious insult at zombies...I mean, you grow up gay in StraightWorld and you get used to that shit, so, whatever, but all of that was clearly unnecessary and sadly cringe-inducing.

However, the transgender character is worth talking about. It's true the transsexual and hir male hunk lover are at first played straight, if you'll pardon the expression. But Jilder's comment that "she just carried along being an important character" is a fudge; it avoids talking about what happens to that character. I won't spoil it too much, but rest assured it's the most obnoxiously anti-queer moment in the movie. I know, I know, it's a zombie movie with almost completely amoral main characters ("We Kill Your Loved Ones, How May I Help You?"), so complaining about the way the director handles queer shit seems ancillary at best. But damn, as a huge zombie fan who also happens to be gay, the offhand homophobia did indeed fuck with my enjoyment of the movie - a movie which, casual homophobia aside, has a few funny jokes and some pokes at Castro's communism but is ultimately a disappointment that delivers far less than it promises.

Unlike, say, The Revenant, which is not only much more funny, but also scarier and more consistently surprising:

Prior's movie has a tone all its own, a kind of melancholy snark summed up in the recurring exclamation "You're such a dick!" as various characters betray and are betrayed by others. The film's low budget is never a liability, unless you value elaborate special effects above characterization, tidy plotting, sharp dialogue and onscreen chemistry between actors: Wylde and Anders spar like mismatched screwball-comedy adversaries entangled in a fine bromance.

Seriously: Rent The Revenant if you're looking for a sharp indie undead comedy, and then follow up with Juan of the Dead if you're still high and want a mildly amusing Cuban take on the standard mainstream zombie stuff.
posted by mediareport at 9:56 PM on November 10, 2012


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