June 27, 2013

"World War Z"

This movie about Brad Pitt zooming around the world to fight zombies would be a good March release. But for June it's a little odd because even though it cost a fortune, it's not a blockbuster. Instead, it's a fairly effective smallish movie. Compared to Man of Steel, in which former superstars Kevin Costner and Russell Crowe play Superman's two dads, Pitt is just about the only recognizable face in the cast. Compared to Robert Downey Jr. exchanging Shane Black's carefully crafted witticisms with Sir Ben Kingsley in Iron Man 3, there's not much of the superfluous talent on display here that grown-ups have come to expect from big budget summer movies.

World War Z is a cross between the first turbo-zombie film, 28 Days Later, ending as that one begins, in a British medical facility, and M. Night Shyamalan's extraordinarily badly done allergy allegory The Happening (both The Happening and World War Z start with the heroes fleeing apocalyptic infection in Philadelphia).

Like most movies these days, World War Z features the might of the U.S. military, although perhaps in deference to the Bono-ish sensibilities of Angelina Jolie, Brad plays some kind of retired U.N. troubleshooter called back to U.N. duty to save the world. But, whatever, he's still Brad Pitt, Movie Star. The role isn't as terrific as his 2011 career year roles in The Tree of Life and Moneyball, but he's in his prime.

The plot makes very little sense. Electronic communications seem to have been disinvented, so Brad just has to fly around the world to find out what's going on.

The movie is vaguely based on the novel by Max Brooks, the extremely nervous son of Mel Brooks and the late Ann Bancroft. Zombies are a metaphor for every single thing that has made Max agitated while he obsessively watches 24 hour news channels.

Max is a huge fan of the emphasis on logistics in Tom Clancy novels, although that's downplayed in the movie.  (By the way, the all time king of logistics fiction is Frederick Forsyth, as in The Dogs of War.) At hippy-dippy Pitzer College, Max joined the ROTC. But, like Evelyn Waugh during WWII, he was disappointed to discover that the military didn't think he was much of a leader of men.

The best scene is when Brad flies to Jerusalem (Malta standing in as the location). Because they constantly snoop on the rest of the world's electronic communications, the Israelis figured out the zombie outbreak was coming early, allowing them to put up giant walls around the border of their country, which has kept the infection out, so far. The Times of Israel says, "The summer zombie blockbuster, which opened June 21 in the US, is the greatest piece of cinematic propaganda for Israel since ‘Exodus.’"

But then Palestinians grateful for being rescued by the Israelis break out in song, which attracts the attention of the zombies ... 
Zombies form a post-human pyramid
to clamber over Great Wall of Israel before the JDF
can gun them down.

58 comments:

Dave Pinsen said...

I can't tell if you're pulling our legs with that last paragraph or not.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

"Night Shyamalan's extraordinarily badly done allergy allegory"

Disagree. Extraordinarily well done but badly conceived. Night is a master of mood, rhythm, and suspense. A near-master. But his ideas are often incomplete.
SIGNS for example had terrific filmmaking but ridiculous premise.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

Sounds like zombie movie + the blob.

Blombies or the Zob.

Anonymous said...

Anyone call it World War Zzzzzzz yet?

Anonymous said...

Superman has two dads now?

God, this P.C. crap ... it's everywhere now!

Steve Sailer said...

No kidding, the Israeli scientist tells Brad that they first heard about the zombie outbreak by listening in on an Indian general. So, Israel build giant walls immediately.

Like I've been saying, screenwriters pay attention to different things than op-ed writers and news editors. For example, witness-murdering doesn't exist on the op-ed page when the death penalty is discussed, but the subject of witness-murdering obsesses screenwriters. I try to think logically about the topics that interest screenwriters, in part because they are more interesting than the respectable subjects you are supposed to debate.

Anonymous said...

"Like I've been saying, screenwriters pay attention to different things than op-ed writers and news editors."

It doesn't matter. They vote the same way and hate the same enemy. Us.

At any rate, entertainments and editorials work different. One thrills, the other sermonizes.
So, when liberals make movies, they give us some red meat stuff. But all said and done, when it comes to political affiliations, they stick together and hate the same enemy.

Anonymous said...

Zombie Hasbara: ‘World War Z’ and Hollywood’s Zionist embrace

http://mondoweiss.net/2013/06/hollywoods-zionist-embrace.html

'Hasbara' is Hebrew for "explanation" but it's actually used as "propaganda".

Read the comments, too, they're quite intelligent.
My favourite ones were about speculating why the 10 minute hasbara segment was even put in there in the first place.

Anonymous said...

By the day, the "song = attract Zombies" is just another way for some racist bigot in Hollywood to tell what he thinks about letting go of Apartheid inside Israel.

If Apartheid South Africa had even 10% of the support that Israeli Apartheid has, Nelson Mandela would still routinely be referred to as a 'terrorist' and probably assassinated a long time ago while the media cheered.

Steve Sailer said...

"The Happening" -- "Extraordinarily well done but badly conceived."

Perhaps. As far as I could tell, I was the only reviewer that figured out it was an allergy allegory (It shouldn't have been a mystery: Shyamalan announced in an interview that it was inspired by the increase in asthma, but critics don't seem to read interviews with auteurs, or at least not pay attention to what they say there movie is about.) Everybody else just figured out it was about plants being evil and decided, rightly, it was stupid.

Maybe he should have made the allergy-asthma metaphor more literal?

Steve Sailer said...

Art tends to be authoritarian, elitist, classist, at essence, Pharaohic.

In this picture, for example, which is the most memorable in the movie, the good guys have built this Pharaohic wall to keep the masses out.

So, to balance the evidence of our eyes, artists tend to emit a lot of verbal propaganda about how they are egalitarian, on the side of the poor, the underdogs, etc.

Anonymous said...

Shyamalan announced in an interview that it was inspired by the increase in asthma

That's kind of lame, isn't it? The increase in asthma inspired him?

Aaron Gross said...

It's a real stretch to refer to the zombies as "the masses." The masses are inside the wall.

Question to any parent who's seen it: Is this movie suitable for a pretty typical 9-year-old boy, accompanied by a parent (me)? Especially if an airline flight is planned for a couple weeks later? - I mean, considering the airplane scene.

Anonymous said...

"Is this movie suitable for a pretty typical 9-year-old boy, accompanied by a parent (me)?"

No, I would not recommend a child watch it.

Steve Sailer said...

Aaron:

Spoiler alerts:

The airliner scene, in which passengers are sucked out of hole in fuselage, is scary, but not quite as terrifying as the all-time petrifying one at the beginning of the Robert Zemeckis - Denzel Washington "Flight" from last year. Calibrate from there. (Keep in mind, though, that "Flight" is aimed at a grown-up audience of frequent fliers, while "World War Z" is aimed more at adolescents. So it's possible that "Flight" pushes the buttons of middle aged people like my wife and me more than kids, while it could be vice-versa for WWZ.)

WWZ's rating is a mid-range PG-13. It's edited to imply rather than show the worst violence. For example, in Jerusalem, a zombie bites a girl soldier on the hand. Because people turn into zombies in exactly 10 seconds, Brad Pitt instantly chops off her hand. But, I blinked and missed the chopping and didn't know what had happened until Brad is changing the bandage on her stump later.

Anonymous said...

Steve Sailer said:Art tends to be authoritarian, elitist, classist, at essence, Pharaohic.
.....................................................................................
Have you been rereading Camille Paglia lately, Steve?

-The Judean People's Front

IHTG said...

"JDF?"

Anonymous said...

w.r.t. 'Zombie Hasbara' article, author lost my respect as an intellectual when he used "marshal music" instead of "martial music". And lost my respect as a human being when he used "hetero-normative" without quotes or irony. It is apparently rather easy to become an associate professor in Hicksville State.

Anonymous said...

Forsyth was so good on the logistics in "The Dogs of War" because the book was originally a real life plan. Forsyth and some friends were planning on overthrowing the government of Equatorial Guinea, installing some puppet and stealing the oil revenue. At the time Equatorial Guinea was run by a cannibal (really) who was overthrown by his nephew who might also be a cannibal. EG was then and is now a nightmare like North Korea.

THe coup in the 70s fizzled out so Forsyth just used the plan as the bones of a book.

Some more British guys tried more or less the same coup idea about a decade ago. One of the guys involved was Margaret Thatcher's son. This plan failed when a plane full of mercenaries was detained in Zimbabwe. There is a very good book about this called "The Wanga Coup".

Drawbacks said...

Not entirely to the point, but I'm quite annoyed that these megabucks productions apparently can't afford to shoot in real locations: the Philadelphia scenes in World War Z were actually shot in Glasgow, Scotland - which also doubles as San Francisco in the Halle Berry bit of Cloud Atlas - and Vancouver is a notorious stand-in for Any City, USA.
One of the things I like best about watching (especially older) films is the streetscapes.
Maybe things will improve when everything goes fully CGI. Maybe I have fundamentally misunderstood what the movie business is about.

Mr. Anon said...

Brave Israelis gunning down "zombies" (goyim?) trying to storm their perimeter wall - foolish preppers ignoring the enlightened advice of selfless UN bureaucrats as embodied by.......international film-star and heart-throb Brad Pitt.

Hollywood really wears its biases on its sleave now, doesn't it.

From what I've heard of this movie (I will not be seeing it), it may just as well be called: "Jews good. Goys bad" - about the level of subtlety one would expect from the son of Mel Brooks.

Just Another Guy With a 1911 said...

WWZ split the difference between big budget big boom action/adventure and survival/horror tale quite admirably. It was a well done and fun movie.

That being said the politics of the movie can only described as PC hilarious.

DANGER WILL ROBINSON! DANGER! SPOILER ALERT!

Among the Brad and Angie heart warming lessons we learn:

THE UN IS THE SOLUTION TO ALL OUR PROBLEMS!

After the fall of Washington, DC, the U.S. military decides that it is going to go along with, and take orders from, the UN. Because, you know - the UN has historically been such an honest, above board, and effective organization. Presumably, refuge camps would be even worse if the UN wasn't running them. There is even an establishing shot of the U.S. Atlantic fleet with a caption: "UN Fleet." Pitt's salt of the earth black buddy who brings him on board is the Deputy Secretary of the UN -- which impresses everyone that talks to him on Pitt's satellite phone.

PAGING TOM FRIEDMAN - FORGET CHINA THEM NORKS THEY CAN GET STUFF DONE:

North Korea was able to pull out all its subjects' teeth in 24 hours period to prevent the spread of the Z virus.

A KINDLER AND GENTLER IDF:

Surrounded by Zomibies the IDF has decided to let everyone into Jerusalem on the logic that it means less Zombies. Sounds good, I guess. Until you see the city besieged by Zombies that are streaming across the desert and climbing the walls. Really, these are Israelis we are talking about - a particularly hard headed folks when it comes to defending the little patch of land they have: do you think the IDF wouldn't decide it's napalm time. Of course, it is when the Muslims start ululating "I'd Like to Buy the World a Coke" that the Zombies get worked up enough to come over the wall, which is hilarious in its own right.

WE DON'T NEED NO STINKEN' CDC.

In keeping with the one world order, Pitt ends up at the WHO in Cardiff, run by, in UK parlance, an "Asian" scientist, to obtain a partial solution to the everybody is turning to Z's problem as opposed to, say, the CDC.

NEW JERSEY AND YOU - GREAT TOGETHER!

At the height of the movies PC absurdity - Pitt decides a stop in Newark, N.J. would be a good idea, and gets caught up in looting the local mega-mart for his daughter's asthma medication. He can't find it, but, in a touching scene, a kindly and glassy eyed Glock wielding drug addict tells him which drawer to look in. It is in the mega-mart we are treated to the only two unvarnished truths about the world contained in the otherwise laundry list of execrable ideology espoused by Pitt and his wife contained in WWZ: 1) it is better to have a gun than not have it; and 2) all things not being equal -rifle beats handgun.

HISPANICS ARE GREAT - LET'S ADOPT SOME!

After scrambling out of the mega-mart rifle and inhalers in hand, only to find that his stolen Winnabego has been re-stolen, Pitt and his family are taken in by a family of hard working Hispanic immigrants. He later ends up taking along, and basically adopting, their numinous dreamer son - because, you know, that's what white folks do.

Alfa158 said...

I had a good laugh over "UN troubleshooter". What on earth could that possibly be? I need to go to Vistaprint and get myself a set of business cards with that on it!
I wonder if this plague of zombie entertainment is partially an expression of our undercurrent of unease over the decline of our institutions, the flood of alien people that is engulfing us, and our insecurity about maintaining our Western lifestyle? Well that and the guilty pleasure of thinking about a scenario where we can unleash mayhem on fellow humans without breaking the law or having to even feel bad about it. Here is a group of fellow humans including that jerk neighbor who "walks" his dog on your lawn without cleaning up and you can do anything you want to them. Shoot him in the head with an assault rifle, run him over with an SUV then back over him again, eviscerate him with a chainsaw, bury an ice axe in his skull, pour gas on him and set him on fire, decapitate him with machetes, break into his house and help yourself to his survival supplies, give him a really bad Indian burn or noogie....

agnostic said...

In the Reagan years, a 7 year-old boy could check out Night of the Living Dead from the public library with only his own library card. Didn't have to borrow his parent's card, submit a permission slip, grow a bad mustache, etc.

Or Aliens, The Terminator, or all manner of R-rated movies that'll help children overcome their fears through exposure therapy.

I remember my dad taking me to see Predator 2 in the theater, front row, when I was 10. By that time, my only reaction was, "Meh, it's OK, but pretty weak compared to the first one."

Now in the Clinton-Bush-Obama society, parents implant a V-chip in their children's brains at birth. And yet keeping them from seeing movies about zombies hasn't kept them from turning into zombies themselves.

Anonymous said...

There's no gore or even blood. During the Philadelphia apocalypse scene zombie bites look hardly more threatening than hamster bites.

Ten year old me would have been bored. Your mileage may vary.

Anonymous said...

No explicit mention by anyone of a zombie invasion being a metaphor for a third world immigrant invasion. Curious.

George said...

Seems to me that Max is a guy who would be Woody Allen if there were no women.

Anonymous said...

"Is this movie suitable for a pretty typical 9-year-old boy"

Personally i think fast zombies are an order of magnitude more scary than slow zombies - especially to a reasonably nimble nine-year boy so personally i wouldn't let him watch.

Anonymous said...

NWO propaganda.

Anonymous said...

IHTG said: JDF?
......................................................................................
The Judean Democratic Front (JDF) was founded by a breakaway clique of officers once loyal to the true revolutionaries of the JPF. Needless to say they are awful, awful people. The execrable son of Bancroft assumes that the future belongs to the JDF, but he is mistaken. In time, history will forget the JDF, and their shills as well.

-The Judean People's Front

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

I might give this a look on dvd--it looks really dumb--, but based on trailers, two things came to mind: ants and sea.

Zombies here seem to act like ants in HELLSTROM CHRONICLE. In previous zombie movies, zombies acted as loners. If they came together, it was by accident. They just happened to be moving toward food. They could form into teeming masses but couldn't do team work. There was no group-cooperative-think as among ants as discussed by EO Wilson. But zombies in WWZ seems to be ant-like. They really work together. It's like sociobiology or something.
Maybe Brooks fears masses + cooperation. Americans are atomized zombies, each glued to his or her cellphone or tv. But suppose atomization were to weaken and American atombies were to gain critical mass? What if it leads to an uprising of the masses against the globalist elites, as in DARK KNIGHT RISES? Such elitist anxieties have a 'rightist' tinge(Nolan) and 'leftist' tinge(Brooks). A rightwing elitist might see it as the rabble attacking the best and brightest. A leftwing elitist might see it as gentiles attacking Jewish globalists.

One thing I never liked about zombie movies is they are semi-genocidal. It gives you the same kick as in ZULU and STARSHIP TROOPERS. Since zombies are supposed to be already dead and out to eat you, you can kill 100s, 1000, even millions of them without remorse. It sort of makes you feel like NKVD or SS. Zombies are 'subhuman' and so they must be killed without thought(which sort of zombifies us. If zombies mindlessly kill to eat, we mindlessly kill to survive.. but we survive by eating hogs, so how are we any better? Most people are hambies.)
The only morality that exists in Romero movies is in the contrast between grim killers of zombies and happy killers of zombies. Both groups kill zombies but one does it out of necessity, other does it out of fun. The folks in NIGHT kill zombies to survive. But the rednecks at the end kill zombies for fun. In DAWN, the heroes kill zombies to survive. But the biker gang kills zombies for fun. In DIARY, students kill zombies out of need, but the movie ends with rednecks killing zombies for fun. (Always freaking rednecks and white trash as bad guys! Aren't there negroes and mexicans who kill zombies for fun too?) But this is very disingenuous because the whole premise of zombie movies is the fun of killing zombies. Even when heroes kill out of a need in order to survive, we take pleasure from violence for violence sake. Besides, if Romero really hates violence as fun, why does he keep making zombie movies? I mean hasn't he made his point already? He's just projecting onto rednecks his own bloodthirst. He loves violence for fun sake too.

Another image that came to mind about WWZ trailer. Zombies remind me of the sea in TEN COMMANDMENTS as it closes in on Egyptian troops. It's a mass of unthinking destructive force. And yet... the sea's movement was controlled by God. And zombies, though mindless, seem to be activated by some kind of logic or mechanism.

Art being 'pharaoic' in this case is very ironic. It was pharaoh who oppressed the Hebrews(according to legend anyway), and it was the Hebrews who rebelled against the Pharaoh. God, to aid the Hebrews, brought forth all kinds of WWZ devastation upon the Egyptians: locusts, first born sons dying, pestilence, pillar of fire, seas closing in on Egyptian soldiers and chariots.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

Divine zombie-attackesque power in the Old Testament was used by God to aid the Jews against Pharaoic authority and power.
In WWZ, is it like Jews are the new Pharaohs who must defend themselves from the zombielike power of goy masses? It's like Jews must now rely on pharaoic power of massive military forces and castles and walls.

To be sure, humans fleeing from zombies is sort of like Hebrew fleeing from the Egyptians. But in TEN COMMANDMENTS, Egyptians represented organized 'fascist' power--Nazi-like power--while Jews were a bunch of ragtag nomads trying to survive.
In WWZ, the bad guys are ragtag masses of killer zombies while the good guys hog all the mighty military machinery and technology.

I haven't seen DISTRICT NINE, but WWZ looks anti-D9-ish. I guess Jews don't want the poor, wretched, huddled zombie masses, at least not in Israel. But I think this is all very prejudiced. The term 'zombie' is as offensive as 'illegal alien'. How about we call them non-normatively-alive.

Anonymous said...

"Personally i think fast zombies are an order of magnitude more scary than slow zombies"

But less creepy. They never creep up on you.

Fast moving zombies might have made NIGHT more exciting but less suspenseful. It was the contrast between their slowness--which made them look rather harmless and easy to defeat--and their toughness(indestructible unless hit in the head) and resoluteness that made them creepy.

But testosterone zombies in WWZ are just video gameish shooting ducks.

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

THE HAPPENING and allergy allegory.

Night Showman may have gotten the idea from there--as well as from rumors that cellphones were killing bees--, but the real point of THE HAPPENING is we-really-don't-know.

It's like an anti-miracle(which is a form of a miracle). Whenever something bad happens, we seek rational explanations, like the astronauts do in the movie SOLARIS. Reason, however, makes us focus on one thing or set of things at the expense of others. We see some things more clearly but other things blur out of view in our tunnel vision. So, a whole bunch of theories seem to make sense in THE HAPPENING(as to why it's happening), but each and every one of them turn out to be unsatisfactory, wrong, delusional, or half-true. It's like scientists searched for answers for heart disease and concluded that animal fat was the culprit. So, they urged people to eat more bread and margarine(than butter), but starch and margarine turned out not to be good for the heart either.

In a way, Night Showman was mining the same stuff as Bergman with THE MAGICIAN and Tarkovsky with STALKER. Reason vs Mystery. It's there in SIXTH SENSE and SIGNS too. Showman's movies are deeply spiritual in this sense. In SIXTH SENSE, a ghost(of all things) uses logic and reason to figure stuff out but realizes he, as a ghost, is a creature of mystery. In SIGNS, even though there's a rational explanation for space aliens, it feels like it was a trial forced on mankind by God.
In THE HAPPENING, reasons abound, and Showman was surely inspired by some reason(like allergy). But the conclusion of the movie is there is no reason or logic that can explain the miracle/curse of the world.
In the VILLAGE, townsfolk use mystery as a trick to keep the people from leaving the community. In this sense, they are reactionary and fear-mongering. But we feel sympathy for them because the real world is a dangerous place filled with real monsters(criminals and murderers). And in the blind girl's journey to save her lover, there is a kind of sense of real miracle.

This spiritual aspect of Showman prolly pissed off a lot of liberal critics, especially as Showman has been sympathetic to white Amish types in the VILLAGE. He also cast Catholic Mel Gibson in SIGNS, a film where spirituality and religiosity are sympathetically portrayed. Even if Showman didn't spell everything out, liberal critics can sense that he's subverting liberal paradigms. In the DEVIL(written and produced by Showman), five people get trapped in an elevator. But things don't turn out in PC sense. There is a moountain-sized Negro but not of the white mouse loving kind. A girl turns out to be a ho. If anything, the one truly repentant character turns out to be a white male! (As in SIGNS, there's something about accidentally killing people with a car. Did Showman kill someone in the past? Is that his dark secret?)

gubbler, champion of all things checheny(except criminality, corruption, and bride-stealing) said...

Some have compared Showman with Spiel, not least because both have combined serious moviemaking with Hollywoodisms. But there is one difference. Even at his most serious, Spiel took inspiration from more 'conventional' serious directors like Lean and Kurosawa and Ford. Showman, in contrast, draws from heavy 'art film' inspiration. SIGNS clearly owes something to Tark's SACRIFICE. HAPPENING borrows elements from Dreyer, Bergman, and maybe Bresson.
The trek of the blind girl in the ending of THE VILLAGE reminded me of the final sequence of BALLAD OF NARAYAMA.
Some critics find this incredibly pompous and pretentious. As far as they're concerned, it's one thing for Spiel to borrow from Lean but quite another for Showman to borrow from Tarkovsky.

Of course, Showman's ego also rubbed many the wrong way. In this regard, he has something in common with Spike Lee(and they both look like Kermity the Frog). Though much lauded for DO THE RIGHT THING, many critics turned on him as he talked non-stop shit about how great he was. MALCOLM X was detested by many libs(though a whole bunch liked it). And Lee was soon eclipsed by the likes of Tarantino.

I think HAPPENING could have been a great movie--it is half a great movie--if Showman gave it more thought. I don't mind the movie remaining a mystery. Allegories/metaphors are best when they dwell on possibilities than specificities. INVASION OF BODY SNATCHERS and NIGHT OF LIVING DEAD are fascinating cuz they can be read and approached in so many ways.
HAPPENING is all the creepier for upending our sense of logic and reason at every turn. Even so, there has to be some inkling as to the WHY. Even if there's no way out of the maze, there has to be some way into the maze. But THE HAPPENING offers no such opening. Its illogic is obdurate than enigmatic.

Hunsdon said...

JPF said: The Judean Democratic Front (JDF) was founded by a breakaway clique of officers once loyal to the true revolutionaries of the JPF.

Hunsdon said: Splittists, man. Hates 'em we does.

Anonymous said...

"The summer zombie blockbuster, which opened June 21 in the US, is the greatest piece of cinematic propaganda for Israel since ‘Exodus.’"

I'm generally favorable toward Israel, but when I got around to watching Exodus a couple years ago, the movie didn't leave me with a favorable impression of Israel's founding.

I sympathized with the poor British guys who were trying to keep the peace between Arabs and Jews and got blown up by the Irgun for their troubles.

I'll take Raid on Entebbe over Exodus.

Jack Hanson said...

Max Brooks wrote WWZ with obviously no idea about how weaponry works. One of his 'reasons' given for the failure of the US Military in the book was that the zombies were too closely packed together for artillery to work, to say nothing about close air support.

The way to beat the zombies? Napoleonic era tactics where everyone lines across the country arm to arm and shoots the zombies, developed by someone from South Africa.

I guess being the son of Mel Brooks can make up for a lot of bad writing.

FredR said...

"Disagree. Extraordinarily well done but badly conceived. Night is a master of mood, rhythm, and suspense. A near-master. But his ideas are often incomplete.
SIGNS for example had terrific filmmaking but ridiculous premise."

Gubbler is right about Shyamalan and the Happening. Watch, for instance, the short sequence where Mark Wahlberg and his wife take refuge in the house of the slightly kooky old woman. Shyamalan builds an enormous amount of tension very quickly.

Ed said...

The book "World War Z", which I gather is very different from the movie (yeah, the treatment of Israel is different too), is well worth reading and seems to be the sort of thing Steve gets a kick out of.

Anonymous said...

Max Brooks wrote WWZ with obviously no idea about how weaponry works. One of his 'reasons' given for the failure of the US Military in the book was that the zombies were too closely packed together for artillery to work, to say nothing about close air support.

Wow. Brooks is not even wrong... This is one of the reasons I find zombie movies boring. They're just too implausible. The species that drove faster and stronger species to extinction well before the invention of firearms is gonna be threatened by slow and weak opponents like zombies?

Baloo said...

I thought the book was extraordinarily good myself. And sorry about this, but a photoshopper's gotta do what a photoshopper's gotta do:
World War ?

jody said...

"Max Brooks wrote WWZ with obviously no idea about how weaponry works. One of his 'reasons' given for the failure of the US Military in the book was that the zombies were too closely packed together for artillery to work, to say nothing about close air support."

other army veterans had a similiar reaction after reading the book. massed enemy infantry are easy to wipe out with artillery or air bombardment. and that's what zombies would be. enemy infantry which does not attempt to avoid either direct fire or indirect fire, does not take cover, does not flank, does not do anything but come straight in.

we found out around the year 1915 that this does not work against machineguns and artillery. not to mention in 1915 we did not have thermobaric bombs. those would make short work of massed zombies. in fact those seem almost custom designed to wipe out massed zombies.

slow zombies are not trouble for any reasonable first world military and would be methodically disposed of without even resorting to much artillery or armor. moderately trained infantry can head shot slow moving human sized targets from 200 or 300 meters away with rifle fire all day. grouped zombies would be blasted with mortars.

fast zombies are a lot more trouble in small infantry action. the flamethrower would make a big comeback. it's obsolete in year 2013 war, but would be used extensively against zombies. grouped zombies would be hit with automatic grenade launchers.

most zombies won't be massed though, and present a lot more threat via a death by a 1000 cuts situation. however, they are dumb, and can be lured out. so what you'd want to do is go to towns and try to get the attention of all the zombies and lure them into a killzone, them bomb it or hit it with artillery. then mop up with mechanized infantry. house to house clearing is a worst case scenario.

jody said...

the US military would never, ever be overrun completely by even fast zombies. it has multiple secure installations far out in the desert in the southwest, in the plains of the midwest, and in the mountains of the rockies. they are built for nuclear engagements.

not only would the zombies not even get there, because they are 100 miles from any town, there are hundreds of millions of rounds of ammunition in some of these facilites, enough to kill all the zombies in a 5 state area several times over. if it had to, the US military would operate from those bases. in fact one of the first things the US military would do is secure the lake city ammunition plant in missouri. they'd kill every person in that town if that's what it took, and manufacture their small arms and cannon ammunition from there.

apparently brooks made it clear that his version of zombies can't just be dumped in the ocean, so that solution is out. no getting rid of them by dumping them in lakes, seas, or oceans.

Svigor said...

fast zombies are a lot more trouble in small infantry action. the flamethrower would make a big comeback. it's obsolete in year 2013 war, but would be used extensively against zombies. grouped zombies would be hit with automatic grenade launchers.

Filmmakers seem to hate flamethrowers. Can't blame them. Fire is dangerous and expensive, and the kind that comes out of a flamethrower seems to be impossible to get right (the difference in documentary footage and movie footage is obvious; the real stuff looks like a sticky, burning fluid, while the fake stuff looks like clean, burning gas).

Anonymous said...

we found out around the year 1915 that this does not work against machineguns and artillery.

We found out way before 1915 that missile weapons (arrows, slingshot projectiles, crossbow bolts, et al) don't have to kill enemy troops to weaken them - mobility kills are enough (i.e. they're not dead, but disabled, through the severing of muscle tissue and so on). And mangonels and trebuchets worked fine as missile weapons that could disable dozens at a time way before cannons came into widespread use 500 years ago.

TGGP said...

"Dogs of War" is the only Forsyth I've read. It might have ruined me as a young'un making me wonder why logistics weren't discussed as much in other books. It appears they made a movie of it, which I'll have to check out. I shouldn't have watched "Day of the Jackal" before I understood why they would want to kill de Gaulle.

Mr. Anon said...

Brad Pitt as a "UN Troubleshooter"? When I think of the term "UN troubleshooter", I imagine a middle-aged "confirmed bachelor" belgian bureaucrat, with a fat pension and a laotian houseboy.

Anonymous said...

Max Brooks looks like Rubio.

Anonymous said...

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/World_War_Z#Plot

"The story begins in China with the story of a young infected boy who is the pandemic's "patient zero""

Didn't CONTAGION also begin in China?
Hollywood sure loves to feed on yellow peril. Hehe.

Anonymous said...

"Pakistan and Iran destroy each other in a nuclear war after the Iranian government attempts to stem the flow of refugees fleeing through Pakistan into Iran."

Hmmm, could this be an anti-open-borders screed?

Anonymous said...

"Ten years after the official end of the zombie war, millions of zombies are still active, mainly on the ocean floor or on snow line islands. A democratic Cuba has become the world's most thriving economy and the international banking capital. China has also become a democracy, following a civil war sparked by the collapse of the Three Gorges Dam and ending after a mutinying Chinese Navy submarine destroys the Communist leadership with submarine-launched ballistic missiles. Tibet, freed from Chinese rule, hosts the world's most populated city. Following a religious revolution, Russia is now an expansionist theocracy."

This guy is funnier than his dad. I mean YOUNG FRANKENSTEIN is sober drama compared to this.
YOUNG BROOKS quite a comic monster.

It could be a part of HISTORY OF WORLD PT II(with zombie apocalypse).

Anonymous said...

Brooks has also criticized American isolationism:
"I love my country enough to admit that one of our national flaws is isolationism. I wanted to combat that in World War Z and maybe give my fellow Americans a window into the political and cultural workings of other nations. Yes, in World War Z some nations come out as winners and some as losers, but isn't that the case in real life as well? I wanted to base my stories on the historical actions of the countries in question, and if it offends some individuals, then maybe they should reexamine their own nation's history."

But isn't isolationism the best defense against hordes of alien threat?

It surely would have been a good thing if Japan and Germany had been isolationist in the late 30s. Instead, they were expansionist and meddlesome with their neighbors.

Anonymous said...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jGdJtSs9CwE

Romero and Brooks at comic clown.

Anonymous said...

Max Brooks looks like a young David Frum.

Anonymous said...

Filmmakers seem to hate flamethrowers. Can't blame them. Fire is dangerous and expensive, and the kind that comes out of a flamethrower seems to be impossible to get right (the difference in documentary footage and movie footage is obvious; the real stuff looks like a sticky, burning fluid, while the fake stuff looks like clean, burning gas).



Real flamethrowers are also hard to operate and do not fire as long as the movie versions.

Dr Van Nostrand said...

Steve Sailer said:Art tends to be authoritarian, elitist, classist, at essence, Pharaohic.
.....................................................................................
Have you been rereading Camille Paglia lately, Steve?

-The Judean People's Front


A wise person once said that the best art is usually propaganda.

Most artists had a patron who would have commission works based on their biographies,their ancestors, their lands or their gods.

Nowadays "Artists" (if you can call them that) are incredibly solipsistic in that they base art on themselves and they are not very interesting or deep.Not having a religious grounding creates a vacuity and ugliness and voila you have modern art.

Now all they have to worry is which tasteless plutocrat would want to prove his sophistication by purchasing something has not fulfilled classical criteria of what constitutes art.

Dr Van Nostrand said...


Another image that came to mind about WWZ trailer. Zombies remind me of the sea in TEN COMMANDMENTS as it closes in on Egyptian troops. It's a mass of unthinking destructive force. And yet... the sea's movement was controlled by God. And zombies, though mindless, seem to be activated by some kind of logic or mechanism.

DVN: Tim Burton said that he felt that the Ten Commandments was very much like a zombie movie where Moses was increasingly becoming an automaton of god and losing all his individuality.And those Israelites who survive also resembled his demeanor a great deal

This was interestingly echoed in John Carpenters Ghosts of Mars where humans possesed by well Martian ghosts behave like zombies (though oddly resembling KISS band members) and attack the insensitive earthling settlers.

The name of the most prominent settlement on Mars? Sinai

Also the society on earth in the future is as a matriarchy( a hat tip to Jewish feminists?)

Art being 'pharaoic' in this case is very ironic. It was pharaoh who oppressed the Hebrews(according to legend anyway), and it was the Hebrews who rebelled against the Pharaoh. God, to aid the Hebrews, brought forth all kinds of WWZ devastation upon the Egyptians: locusts, first born sons dying, pestilence, pillar of fire, seas closing in on Egyptian soldiers and chariots. "

DVN: The commandement "Thou shalt make graven images" is really a case of dont do what gentiles do as are much of Jewish laws of that era.
This also extended to culinary restrictions.
Too bad because the surrounding nations to this day are known for aesthetic refinement and culinary skills.
Therefore Jewish art like Jewish cuisine to this day is rather substandard.
Jewish talent always tended towards the written word.