World War WTF?

November 9, 2012

The first official trailer for World War Z, the adaptation of Max Brooks’ novel of the same name, is finally out, and it’s..well…it’s..

This trailer really left me with mixed feelings. On one hand it looks like a cool enough large budget zombie fest and I usually like Brad Pitt in his films. On the other, there are quite a few things that bug me:

  • Apart from the title and the general theme, the movie sadly doesn’t seem to have much in common with the book. This is a huge letdown, as WWZ is one of the best works of zombie fiction written to date. It’s the age-old gripe with Hollywood: if you want to base your movie on an original work, and are paying for the adaptation rights, then why on earth would you make a completely different movie?
  • The elementary family angle. Seriously, what is it with Hollywood, disaster films and the family unit? War of the Worlds? The Day After Tomorrow? 2012? Apparently 6-7 billion people dying isn’t a big enough tragedy unless it also results in a father being separated from his family.
  • Silly CGI. Instead of a massive army of shambling or even sprinting undead, we have the Army of the Dead from Lord of the Rings, sans green glow.
  • Damon Lindelof. Seriously, your movie is failing, so you bring in the writer responsible for Lost and Prometheus, which are basically huge plot holes with some story around them? Good luck with that.

I know I’m sounding a more than little bitter, so I have to point out that this is mostly fanboy rage. Who knows, the movie might turn out to be a positive surprise! It’s at least nice to see a large budget zombie movie for a change – we really haven’t seen too many of those. Still, I can’t shake the feeling of disappointment. It’s most apparent when the synopses are (rather unfairly) compared:

The book

It began with rumours from China about another pandemic. Then the cases started to multiply and what had looked like the stirrings of a criminal underclass, even the beginnings of a revolution, soon revealed itself to be much, much worse. Faced with a future of mindless, man-eating horror, humanity was forced to accept the logic of world government and face events that tested our sanity and our sense of reality. Based on extensive interviews with survivors and key players in the 10-year fight-back against the horde, World War Z brings the very finest traditions of American journalism to bear on what is surely the most incredible story in the history of civilisation.

The movie

A U.N. employee is racing against time and fate, as he travels the world trying to stop the outbreak of a deadly Zombie pandemic.

Oh well.


  1. Once I read the synopsis I had little hope left for it’s translation to the big screen. I don’t understand why they had a bidding war for the movie rights if they aren’t even going to make it like the book. Seems like a waste of money.


  2. I watched the trailer with mounting disbelief. I really hate zombie sprinters but these zombies go way beyond sprinting. The poor CGI made them look… well, frankly, silly. It looks like the film and the book have nothing more in common than the name. I am very underwhelmed. I will still watch it, but with very low expectations.


  3. Lindelof was brought in late to the project, so I don’t think much of it is his fault (this time.)

    The special effects ‘zombie wave’ is just so off-putting.


  4. Its easy to be negative in situations like this, particularly when it involves a new take on a book that is held in high regard by fandom, but really, they are not giving us much to work with here.

    It appears that the movie has strayed heavily from the source material so much so that it looks like a Brad Pitt vehicle with incidental zombies. The zombie effects dont look terribly good either, reminiscent of the vampires in I Am Legend, a movie very poorly served by its SFX.

    Maybe WWZ will turn out to be a great film, but that seems unlikely. It looks humdrum and like it could well be a waste of a big budget zombie movie opportunity. Oh well.


    • Thanks for the comments guys, I tend to agree with all of you. The big off-putting factor for me too was definitely the CGI. Like sho3box mentioned, it was very reminiscent of I Am Legend – and unfortunately the worst part of that movie was the silly CGI. It’s really strange how the book managed to capture something of the essence of the traditional, shambling zombie. You know, “they’re not your friends and family anymore” and so on, and then the movie turns them into sprinting (or rather, flying) monsters that don’t obey the laws of physics. Seriously, why waste the WWZ license? Why not just do Brad the Pitt vs. the Monster Wave of Death?


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