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Why I Drink, Zombie Edition: World War Z Clip

By Steven Lloyd Wilson | Trailers | May 30, 2013 | Comments ()


world-war-z1.jpg

Hey, are you excited about World War Z, having loved one of the most distinct and tense horror novels of the last few decades? Well the bad news is that you're going to be disappointed. But the good news is that you have a sudden $10 with which to buy alcohol in order to forget your disappointment.*

Remember how the book worked because it did not have a central set of characters, and instead shifted perspectives repeatedly from chapter to chapter in order to show case entirely different experiences? Remember how that had the effect of stringing together several hundred pages of continuous taut and imaginative horror scenes where most such novels would have five or six scenes of such impact spread throughout the length? Well you can't expect Brad Pitt to just buy the rights to a movie and not play the protagonist. That's insane troll logic. I mean, this is a man who is almost as good looking as me, he needs to be in at least 2/3 of the scenes.

This newly released clip emphasizes just how important Pitt's invented character is:

Yeah, no. Maybe Pitt should stick to being a "self-employed dad."

Here's what author Max Brooks had to say, starting with a question about when he was offered a chance to read the script at the beginning of shooting:

"I said: Why would I read this? This is not the movie you're going to make. You're going to do rewrites and reshoots. That's what happens when you make a giant movie. My attitude is if you haven't invited me in to contribute, then fine. Go make the movie you want to make and I'll see it when it comes out ... There are a lot of college kids who have been waiting years to see the Battle of Yonkers and I don't know if it will be in there. I cannot guarantee that the movie will be the book that they love. And I'm in no position to tell people to see this movie or not see it. If I'm asked I say: See the movie as a movie and judge it as a movie."

Brooks followed up by noting that the only thing that the movie shares in common with the book is the title. Why hello Mr. Whiskey, have you been introduced to Mr. Mouth?


*At the advice of the attorneys in my head, we should stress that Pajiba does not encourage you to drink. We only encourage you to drink more after you inevitably begin drinking following reading most movie news.



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Comments Are Welcome, Douches Are Not


  • Ed

    Just after Marc Forster was announced as the director, I saw him at a Q&A thing (for Quantum Of Solace) and asked him something like "what do you plan to bring to the crowded zombie movie genre and how does this adaptation differ from something like "The Kite Runner"?". Total douchebag question, yeah, but evidently the answer is "a: Not very much; and b: There wasn't a Pitt involved in The Kite Runner."

  • CrankyAunty

    I am outraged - OUTRAGED I SAY! - that this movie has fast zombies. WWZ is a slow-zombies epidemic (faster when fresh, obvs, but the zoms in the trailer are boinging around like fucking John Carter). It's a fucking plot point... that's probably less important to the movie since it bears no resemblance to the book.

    It may only be one turd in this swirling vortex of shit, but it's the one I hate the most, apart from Brad Pitt being all Brad Pitt all over the place. GET OFF MY LAWN BRAD PITT. "Let's make it better by replacing the diverse characters and viewpoints with a story about a white middle-aged, middle-class man, because white middle-aged, middle-class men never get their stories told." The book isn't great with female characters, but this film will be worse!

    *chews off own arm*

  • ferryman

    Why this would cause anyone to rage is beyond me. The book is not art, except to the artist, and then not even so much as it is a commodity. Are movies art? You may think so, but what was the purpose of making your favorite artistic movie? Was it to make money? Then I could say that it is truthfully a commodity that is artistic.

    There's nothing new under the sun; most of what we considered art was commissioned by kings and queens and the value placed upon it was money. So many items great and small that are now considered art were originally made for money, whether it be a sculpture from Europe or an advertisement from the US.

    A commodity becomes art when we attach a greater value to it.

  • Every time I think about this movie and what it could have been I get helplessly ragey. I just can't understand it. You have this fucking perfect blueprint for a movie, and...you. Don't. Use. It. Argh.

    The only thing that keeps me hopeful is that it'll be remade in a few years, hopefully by someone who gives half a fuck about the story.

  • Derfelcadarn

    Where the frikkity frak are you embedding this video from, and why the hell does it not like my location?!

  • TheOriginalMRod

    World War Z... Max Brooks book... should've been a series, like Band of Brothers.

    I have a bad feeling about the movie... like it is going to be a flop of epic proportions.

  • Cazadora

    Well, nothing about the ongoing discussion here makes me want to see the movie, but I am totally ordering up the book from Amazon.

  • Kylie

    I have already forged a disconnect between the book and the movie. I loved the book and just reread it a couple weeks ago.

    I saw a preview for some Brad Pitt zombie movie and I totally want to see it.

    These two things are not related in any way

  • Dennis Albert Ramirez

    yeah, i mean i think they even revealed the story was gonna be completely different before shooting even started, so i've just written it off as a movie that just happens to have the same name as a book i love.

    i like brad pitt, i like zombies, and i'm hoping it will work well enough on its own merits

  • Slash

    The book kinda sounds like "The Stand" to me, only with zombies instead of Satan. Maybe I should just reread the "The Stand."

  • Fredo

    Not at all. The Stand had a very specific narrative about specific characters - Stu, Fran, Nick and Mother Abigail vs Randall Flagg and his followers. The end of the world is simply the stage setter for their confrontation.

    WWZ is more akin to an after-action report. There's a nameless UN agent who travels the globe to ascertain what, how and in what fashion the world was lost to the zombie menace, how it was beaten, what it cost to get it back. But he's figure-less by design. Each chapter tells a person's unique story within the greater tapestry of The Zombie War. So some army grunt will speak about how they were beaten at a battle, a young woman will speak about how her family lived through the long winter, an artist will talk about seeing it out behind the walls of Buckingham Palace, an army specialist will talk about how it went in Europe or Asia, an intel expert will talk about how the global political landscape shifted, etc. It's less a narrative and more an anthology.

  • manting

    not even close. Totally different narratives, subject matter, and style.

  • The great thing about the age we live in is that with a little patience we'll see a remake soon enough.

  • dizzylucy

    Probably already in development, along with a sequel to something coming out in 2 years.

  • TherecanbeonlyoneAdmin

    "...I cannot guarantee that the movie will be the book that they love. And I’m in no position to tell people to see this movie or not see it. If I’m asked I say: See the movie as a movie and judge it as a movie.”

    And please totally forget that I sold the movie rights to the book and if it's total shite it's not my fault except it is because I sold the movie rights to the book but let's just forget about that.

  • I know an author who is pretty much able to pay her bills every few years because someone buys the rights to her book, doesn't make a movie, the rights expire, someone else buys the rights...it's been going on for about a decade and a half now with no movie in sight.

  • ZombieNurse

    This is a genuine question: Did he know they were going to completely rework his book into something so different? I mean, I'm sure it's understood that there will be some changes, but was he under the impression that they were going to keep his book mostly intact? I know nothing about that kind of thing.

  • Selling the rights to the story is pretty much just that. A guy like Stephen King (who I think used to sell all his rights to Castle Rock for $1.00 because he was an owner there) has built up the cache to probably get a producer credit and a good amount of say in how the screenplay comes off (if he's not hired to write it himself) but for a guy selling his first book with no box office record to speak of I can't imagine Hollywood would actually think the guy who came up with the story could help them tell it any better.

  • Once the rights are sold, often the best an author can do is shut up or talk about it like Max Brooks has. Or they can act like idiots and pitch public hissy fits. That's about the extent of their control except in very rare cases. Even the guy who writes the script doesn't get a whole lot of say in what ends up happening once the cameras start rolling, let alone what the finished product ends up being.

    I went to a convention where one of the guests had written the screenplay for at least one SyFy (though it may still have been SciFi at the time) movie. His description of the process between handing over the script and the finished product was hilarious because he's a great storyteller, but also depressing and disheartening.

  • Bux112

    At the risk of being unpopular. I had trouble getting half way through the book. It's damn boring. I heard how great it was and all I could think while reading was, "holy shit! This is mind numbingly dull" With no central characters, you don't care what the hell happens to anyone. It was like reading a hundred short stories about the same topic. Please enlighten me on why this book was so great. I really do want to hear opinions

  • Because each story took the perspective of a specific country and its culture and how they would potentially deal with a catastrophic event. It's a brilliant look at human society through individual stories. With zombies.

  • emmelemm

    If you're familiar with "oral history" as a genre (and appreciate the context of that genre), it's a brilliant co-opting of the style.

  • FrayedMachine

    It may not be for everyone but I loved it. I have favorite characters and was constantly left feeling engaged and excited to find out what happened to each individual. To me - I find personal experiences interesting. It was refreshing, to me, to actually get full insight to how people might handle a major tragic situation. My favorite stories had to be the Pilot who was stranded and the Blind Man.... as well as the Russian soldier ...and the Japanes Otaku kid. OKay, pretty much all of them were my favorite.

    But again, if you don't care for personal experiences then I can see why it wouldn't be interesting. If you were looking for an epic saga then yeah, I wouldn't recommend it.

  • Koolickle

    One thing I liked about the narrative is that even though it's a collection of short stories, Brooks really starts to get a momentum and many early references play out in other chapters later on. Certain characters get revisited too. If you only read the first half, the payoff of the build up and story connections wouldn't have really hit you. BUT the book wasn't able to hook you in at all, I'm not sure that finishing would have made a huge difference. Second, I had a completely different experience with the emotional connection to characters...the crashed pilot and the K9 team chapters were gut-wrenching and were able to be effective in a small number of pages. Again, I think the chapters really rachet up emotionally as you get deeper in the book because there is a lot of dry socio- and geopolitical stuff in the beginning as they explain the spread of the Zs.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    Honestly? Because it is a series of short stories and personal accounts about the same topic. If we just followed one central character around, we might hear more about their personal war, but we'd never hear about what happened in any other countries, how other people handled the conflict, the accounts of the first outbreaks, the accounts of the first efforts to take back cities, the dog brigades, the people in the space station, etc.

    I was able to personally connect to the characters even with only the brief descriptions we got of their scenarios. 200 pages of "sitting in a basement waiting for the zombies to go away" would have been a waste of space given what we got instead.

  • It was a series of short stories and personal accounts that gradually revealed a much larger story in a globe-spanning way that couldn't have been done with one or even a group of central characters. It was kind of brilliant for that.

    To be honest, it was still pretty easy to put down. Finish one story, set it down without the same nagging need to get to the next chapter...I personally love anthologies and read them all the time, so I'm used to picking up a book and continuing with all new stories and characters, and this was very different. As the stories all came together into the bigger story of the whole world, it really was breathtaking.

    I ended up enjoying it. I don't necessarily want or need a whole novel for any of the characters, and I agree completely with your waste of space comment.

  • Genevieve Burgess

    Exactly. There's no way we would have gotten the same kind of scope with a single-character perspective. I felt like we got enough time and information to understand that piece of the story with each chapter. I would have liked to hear more in places, but I am glad that pages and pages aren't spent on the kind of daily grind minutia that could be summed up in a couple sentences.

  • I agree and at the same time I do really see how it's not for everyone, or how someone who might end up enjoying the final product could put it down and walk away and never look back.

  • For me, it's great in the same way that Ken Burns' documentaries are great. It's a history, rather than a traditional narrative, and I thought that approach was a fresh one to take on well worn ground (and one that I thought would make a great HBO miniseries when I read the book).

  • nachosanchez

    One thing. ONE THING this movie needs to get right is the Battle of Yonkers. It's the only thing I'd like to see from the book that I think a huge budget could help improve.

  • psykins

    When I saw the trailer for this that played before Star Trek, I really thought it was a commercial at first...for a cell phone or something. And I was like "that can't possibly be true, why would Brad Pitt and Mireille Enos be in a commercial this shitty?"

  • Captain D

    Chanel No.5 thanks you for your comment

  • clokker

    When I read the book, WWZ struck me less as a "horror novel" than an academic musing on the effects of a worldwide pandemic; the zombies were just an interesting (and more visible) manifestation of deadly microbes.

    The book explores the effects of the plague on social, political and medical structures in a very realistic way and the fact that it was carried by zombies was just an added bonus.

    The movie appears to have jettisoned all the sciencey/socialogical stuff in favor of horror...which I guess was only to be expected.

  • nachosanchez

    Exactly, I've always looked at it like if Ken Burns did a retrospective on the zombie war.

  • Quatermain

    "Remember how the book worked because it did not have a central set of
    characters, and instead shifted perspectives repeatedly from chapter to
    chapter in order to show case entirely different experiences?"

    That sounds like it might be better suited to a TV show format where each shifting viewpoint gets it's own episode than a singular two hour movie. That would be a pretty difficult movie to film, and I can't really blame them for going this route.

  • Robert

    I've told this story here before and it bears repeating.

    I was at the convention where Max Brooks announced that Brad Pitt bought the rights to World War Z because Brad Pitt could have read World War Z. There are galleys, sure, but they were in negotiations before the critics got their copies for reviews. Brad Pitt clearly thought he was getting a comedy zombie book like The Complete Zombie Survival Guide and wound up with a book that would better serve a TV-series. This was 7 years ago now.

    If Brad Pitt's company went with the central premise of the book, he still could have been the star. The historian is the connecting thread in the book. Have your HUGE all hell breaks loose scene and let the government step in to hire the historian to chronicle the battles all over the world. Some can be flashbacks and some can be the historian following survivors as they fight against the menace.

    Give the historian more to do based on the introduction where the government refuses to publish the report because he isn't writing just the facts; he's humanizing the survivors and bringing up greater cultural issues. The historian could report back to the government throughout the film and keep facing red tape in getting the real story out. In the end, he releases the book to the people directly so they know what really happened to cause the conflict to rage on for 10 years.

    That could have been the World War Z movie people wanted. It could also have been a series of anthology films from different directors covering the various episodes connected by the framing device of the Historian. Either way, it would be better than generic zombie film going on its 3rd or 4th reshot ending.

  • manting

    I am sure the movie will not live up to the book, or even follow it in any meaningful way, but I am still clinging to the hope that its a decent movie. If this movie fails then zombie movies will have failed (in the eyes of Hollywood producers) and that means no more zombie movies for a long, long time.
    My favorite part of the book is Redecker chapter and my least favorite is the PTSD hot girl chapter.

  • Fredo

    Favorite chapter? It's a tie between the Merc retelling of the Celeb Compound and the South Korean espionage agent talking about the lost North.

    As for this movie, this was never a book that worked as a movie. Even the great script by J Michael Straczynski (which was a great adaptation) didn't capture the totality of the book. This should have been the next great 10-episode miniseries from HBO -- done a la one of those fake documentaries with the central narrator as the only link.

    What people miss about WWZ is that it's not one horror story (the way most traditional horror movies work). It's a hundred different horror stories -- each one of a survivor who lost family and friends from a global catastrophe -- and the genius of the method is that each horror story is treated as central and as important as the next.

  • A TV series would be incredible.

  • PDamian

    There were so many delightful little aspects to Brooks's masterwork (for so it is), little encapsulated stories that added so much to the story. Wainio's fellow soldier and nun, Sister Montoya from New Mexico, who defended her students with a giant candlestick. As a native Southwesterner and someone who's known a lot of Latina nuns, I loved that. I loved the story of the Salvadoran gang member who fought his way through Mexico to get back to the States, only to be felled by a trap set by some LaMOE.

    I didn't expect any movie to capture all of their stories, but I hoped for some exposition, at least. This movie is going to be just another generic, CGI-heavy action "drama." Shoot.

  • nachosanchez

    The Wainio stuff was all great, as was "Mets" and the French catacombs

    But my favorite chapters have to go to the Chinese nuclear submarine and T. Sean Collins at the celebrity compound.

  • manting

    you shall not pass! I didn't know the French were so Gandalf

  • Lurker

    I agree with the 10-episode HBO miniseries, but I think we could go with more than 10 episodes. We don't even have to go with HBO, we could have replaced The Walking Dead with it.

  • w- who said something what about w- whiskey!? YOU STAY THE HELL AWAY FROM MY WHISKEY!

  • chris

    I saw the trailer and just about vomited. The movie looks ghastly. Horror is great and I'm as game as anyone for a good apocalypse film. This basically just seems to be a series of scenes with bodies piling on top of each other to a degree that puts a genocide to shame. Then we Brad Pitt running around showing off his retired military skills which are clearly the reason he doesn't die in the first 20 seconds of the trailer.

    The shocking part is that it tries to be so shocking that it comes off as dull.

  • BWeaves

    I decided to watch the trailer with the sound off, and all I came away with was, "FOREHEADS!"

  • FrayedMachine

    The trailer makes me RAAGE. I love that book so. god damn. much. And that movie literally has shown, so far, that it has absolutely nothing in common with it. I'm just glad that Brooks is being kind of vocal about that and calling them out on their tom foolery.

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