Hands off my zombies, Brad!

Brad Pitt’s apocalypse: World War Z’

4 minute read
Pitt in 'World War Z': Crisis of originality.
Pitt in 'World War Z': Crisis of originality.
As the release date of World War Z drew near I had a small knot in my stomach, and here's why: I loved the book by Max Brooks. Loved it. After I was done I brought it everywhere I went, just in the off chance I'd have a few minutes to quickly re-read one of the stories. It ended up next to my toilet, the highest praise a piece of literature can receive in my household, where I must have read every story an additional 20 times before it was unseated and replaced by Gilbert Gottfried's Rubber Balls and Liquor.

I mention the Gilbert book so you know right off the bat I'm not a movie reviewer by trade. I think it's important that I go into this with no credibility whatsoever.

So why the knot?

Because as soon as I heard that Brad Pitt was going to be the star, I worried that he'd show the same respect for the original source material as Will Smith had shown in I Am Legend and I, Robot— specifically, he wanted a good movie title and fuck the book.

Then I started to hear rumblings that World War Z was going to be a "blockbuster." The knot tightened.

Hope for Max Brooks

I knew I could never stop myself from seeing it, though. Somewhere inside myself I guess I thought that, with his dad's money, perhaps Max Brooks (son of Mel) would retain some creative control and fight to see that his book wasn't the way a menstruating girl treats her tampon.

I was wrong. While World War Z involved the same amount of blood as a tampon, the rest of the movie screamed "Brad Pitt vehicle."

Here you have a book about the dead coming back and eating the living and the survival of humanity itself hanging by a thread, and screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan feels the need to include a scene where Brad Pitt survives a plane crash. You have flesh-eating undead to work with, and you need to wedge in the stock plane crash scene that has been done a thousand times?

Nothing sums up the complete crisis of originality in Hollywood than that pointless interlude. It didn't exist in the book, and it didn't add to the plot of the movie. But it was jammed in because it provided a few good action shots for the trailer.

Hollywood's cliché machine

The movie glosses over almost everything that made the book interesting and replaces it with derivative action sequences right out of lame flicks like 2012 and The Day After Tomorrow. Everywhere Brad goes, he's the only one who manages to escape the tide of zombies. Each scene is dumber than the next.

It was almost painful to watch the bastardization of a genre so near and dear to my heart.

Apparently Max Brooks grew up too close to Hollywood and possesses the same integrity as every other spoiled rich kid out there. The machine churns out the same cliché shit, no matter the subject.

Note my restraint

California should pass a law that no Hollywood A-lister is ever allowed to appear in any movie containing zombies or any other form of undead creature. If anyone should appreciate/protect soulless creatures mindlessly crashing around and causing turmoil, it should be Hollywood. On screen, Brad Pitt didn't care if his antagonists were zombies, terrorists or aliens; all would be treated in the same generic fashion.

Memo to Hollywood: Next time, please, just give Brad a funny black friend coping with authority issues, or a sassy hot female partner, and make the same shitty hero movie that you make every summer. But leave my beloved zombies out of it.

You'll note my restraint in comparing the average moviegoer who eats this stupid shit up and allows Hollywood to keep cranking out garbage to the masses of brain-dead corpses who spent the movie chasing Brad Pitt around. That analogy should be obvious enough. May anyone involved in the making of this travesty burn in hell.

What, When, Where

World War Z. A film directed by Marc Forster, from the novel by Max Brooks. For Philadelphia area show times, click here.

Sign up for our newsletter

All of the week's new articles, all in one place. Sign up for the free weekly BSR newsletters, and don't miss a conversation.

Join the Conversation