CARDIFF – Everyone knows Brad Pitt-led Zombie war film World War Z is a pile of ‘decomposing plopsicles’ (The Washington Post) and we’ve already reviewed the film HERE, but what went wrong? Well, the Studio Exec can give you 5 glaring mistakes. Some SPOILERS, so if you’re a namby-pamby about such things look away now.
- Max Brooks’ novel: was a) written by Mel Brooks’ son (which should have been on the poster by the way) and b) a brilliant reworking of an otherwise tired genre. The globe-trotting oral history with razor sharp satire would have made a superb mock-umentary – think District 9 – instead the writers chose to head for Genre Cliché City armed with large buckets with which to carry the Clichés back home again.
- CGI Zombies: They didn’t work in I Am Legend, and they don’t work here. The blurry fastness of them, the stupidity of their lemming-ness and just the overall lack of credibility. And even when you get real zombies in the latter half of the film, they also look stupid – like actors work-shopping a scene based on the word ‘zombie’ – but at least they look real stupid.
- The PG-13 rating: One thing every zombie film has to have is a shot of someone being eaten. That’s what is scary. Not the zombies – they’re always quite funny – but when you see the shambling oafs munching on some freshly ripped intestine or throat, their silliness becomes edged with unease if not downright fright. We need what horror aficionados call ‘wet death’.
- Stupid story bits: By now the travails of production are famous (and it was a canny move on the part of Universal to market the film’s shitness as a selling point), but there are some glaring glitches in the story. Having the brains (Dr Scientist Man) of the film shoot himself in the head by accident within five minutes of turning up shows the writers contempt for people who think about stuff and want the ‘stuff having to make sense’ thing. Too many things happen in the film because people are stupid, like the evacuees who fancy a sing-a-long, and Brad figures out things mainly by seeing something and going ‘oh!?’. Oh!? And Brad…
- Brad Pitt’s hair: Because the film stars a major
Hollywood A-lister, instead of the vast ensemble of the book we have to have one person going to all these different places. Cue ex-UN thingy thing Brad Pitt, and his ludicrous hair style. He’s quite good in a semi-constipated humourless kind of way, but his hair had me reaching for the screen constantly to help him keep it tucked behind his ear.
- Brad Pitt’s children: We have Zombies attacking and the world in peril. Billions of people die. This is not enough. How can we make people care? Of course! We also need children in peril, and one of them has to have asthma. This is something that Hollywood stars of a certain age need to do – think Tom Cruise in War of the Worlds – but it should be resisted. With the scale of the disaster, we don’t need these kids, and if you are going to have them, have one of them get bitten and then Brad has to kill her so she won’t infect the other. The one with asthma. That’s DRAMA, Mr. Lindelof.
- Brad Pitt’s wife: Played by Mireille Enos, basically her job was to look like Jessica Chastain, whine, and telephone Brad at the most inappropriate moment she could possibly think of.
- Climax: Never finish a globe-trotting film in Wales.