Tag Archives: World War Z

World War Z Doesn’t Take Place In A World I Live In

Newer readers may not know this, but this is actually the third post about World War Z on this blog. I first wrote about the way the film was to deviate from the book back in 2011, while former CWR writer [who I dearly miss] Elisa briefly explored their prevalence in pop culture the year after.

So two days ago I saw the movie, and I’m not going to write the logical continuation of my first post, complaining about how the movie could have been “so much better if only. . .”

What I’m going to write about how I wasn’t in the movie.

I drew this over two years ago for an all-comics weekly publication I used to run.

And no, I don’t mean why wasn’t there a zombified version of me in the movie, because seriously if you guys didn’t know I am deathly terrified of any sort of biting reanimated corpse. What I mean is why, when I watched this movie, weren’t there any dang Asians.

Spoilers follow. Kind mild, kinda not. Continue reading

Shame Day: Black Friday

I almost don’t feel like I should have to explain this post. Look at that image on the right, look at that wave of flesh and hunger, which I can only compare to the somewhat recently released World War Z trailer. They move like an organism, a living being that flows into each store, ravenously grabbing at whatever they can.

For the non-Americans among you, Black Friday is the day after American Thanksgiving, which sets off the Christmas shopping season. Last year at this time a few pretty significant events happened, none of which I can say are positive.

The first recorded death from the event happened in 2008, when an employee, once again at Walmart, was literally trampled to death by a wave of shoppers. The stampede could not be halted when other employees tried to help their coworker, and even police who arrived at the scene were shoved and pushed back.

Honestly, I don’t even know what else to say.

Every year the sale begins earlier and earlier, and for a while it was normal for shops to open at 6:00 am. Last year many retailers opened at midnight for the first time. Now, on Black Friday 2012, Walmart [again] and several other superstores have announced that they will be opening their stores at 8:00 pm Thanksgiving Day. This has prompted a very understandable call for a walkout among workers.

If the trend continues this image won’t even make sense anymore.

As a Canadian I’ve celebrated American Thanksgiving only once. It was a time that I spent with a loving family, where copious amounts of food was served and the itis was experienced by many. It was a time of relaxation and enjoying each other’s company, not camping outside superstores in the freezing cold or trampling the meek and lowly [see: Walmart employees] underneath our feet.

All I can say is Happy Thanksgiving, Americans. If you care about at least one retailer [Target] respecting a national holiday, you can sign a petition here. Enjoy your turkey.

Evan and Gordon Talk: Zombies

GORDON: Brrrrrrrrrrrrrrrrraaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaiiiiiiiiiiiiinnsss. I mean: Welcome to this week’s installment of Gordon and Evan Talk. Our subject for today: Zombies, have we had enough already?

EVAN: Answer: yes.

GORDON: Have we though? The media keeps on pumping out zombie show/game/story/you-name-it, and we keep gobbling them down like, well, zombies.

Continue reading

World War Z and other Incidences of the Undead

I read World War Z by Max Brooks over break – I tend to stay away from zombie media,1 but the book was interesting enough to win over my zombie-avoiding tendencies and now I can’t stop noticing the huge and recent (I’d say – recent as in like, the last decade) zombie focus almost everywhere in culture.

Did everyone else but me know about this? Did you know how many zombie poetry websites there are? You can even buy a zombie-themed magnetic poetry set. You know, so you can compose some verses about decaying flesh-eating people on the fridge while waiting for your ramen to heat up.

This guy published his work online in 2005 – excerpt:

love with
zombies can
never be
without consequence.

There’s Aim for the Head, an anthology of 50 poets.

There’s Z-Composition, which is a recent start-up with sections slated for poetry, recipes, and flash fiction, and grand ideas of “a bi-monthly literary e-zine with a yearly print anthology slated to launch in 2012”.

The Zombie Nation (the tagline of which is “Begin the Zombpocalypse”) also has zombie poetry posts.

The Zombie Hunter: A Survivalist’s Journal [“A family man’s guide to surviving the zombie apocalypse”] isn’t poetry but is impressive: it’s been going pretty steadily since 2010, complete with pictures, coconuts, and a thorough knowledge of firearms.

Why are zombies so freaking popular? (or: Elisa thinks too much)
The prevalence of a smaller genre like poetry dedicated to the zombie wave is just a piece of the fascinating trend. The prevailing attraction of zombie/zombie-fighting culture, I think, is the focus on vivacity and resourcefulness amidst the breakdown of society. You have to rob the grocery store to eat and you have to destroy the staircase of a building to secure it from zombies, but the stealing and destruction are by themselves also pretty exciting. And in this generation, one of the first to grow up in such a (generally) stable and structured society, craves some sense of rule-breaking and the ability to use their imagined Crusoe/Macguyver-esque survival skills.

Zombies are also about death, but not because they’re dead. Zombies as a villain are extremely basic (I’m talking about slow-moving zombies, here, generally): in World War Z Brooks pointed out that you have no hope of discouraging zombies; there is no leader to go after and you cannot, like humans, make them uncomfortable or fearful. We fear zombies not because they’ll go after us quickly and suprisingly, but because they’re slow and, as much as we ignore or outrun them, we know that they’re still coming. A scenario in which we lose to zombies wouldn’t be large and violent and exciting – it would be, simply, slow and inevitable.

Our fear of zombies precisely mimics our fear of death, which I think is a sort of manifestation of a denial of death in contemporary culture for the past century.

World War Z Minus the History

In 2006 Max Brooks’ novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War hit bookshelves across North America. As a sequel to his previous book, The Zombie Survival Guide, it was guaranteed to acquire cult status, with zombie-lovers all over the world treating its predecessor as a bible for the imminent undead apocalypse. Fans were thrilled when it was announced just the following year that the rights to the film adaptation had been bought by Plan B Entertainment, Brad Pitt’s film production company.¹

Although the film struggled early on financially2, filming finally went underway this summer. It wasn’t until just three days ago, however, that Paramount released their official synopsis for the film, which goes as follows:3

“The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.  Enos plays Gerry’s wife Karen Lane; Kertesz is his comrade in arms, Segen.”

Cue instant uproar from the entire internet.

To be fair, film adaptations of books have often changed substantial plot points to the benefit of the film’s reception, et cetera. Stuart Little was a hit with children because it didn’t feature what is essentially a mouse who acts like a little man who was born of a human womb. Teenagers enjoyed A Walk to Remember because it was set in the 90s and not in the mid-1950s.World War Z, however, is not a novel that required such significant changes.

In reference to the latter part of the title, An Oral History of the Zombie War, the novel consists of a number of interviews conducted just ten years after the last country was officially deemed victorious over the undead hordes. What makes the scope of the novel so grand is who is being interviewed.

Beginning with Chinese doctor Kwang Jingshu and the minor outbreak in New Dachang and reaching as far as Xolelwa Azania of South Africa, reading through World War Z is a global experience. Tying the novel together are several interviews with Todd Wainio, a former U.S. Army infantryman who had taken part in the greatest military defeat of the Zombie Wars.

Pitt’s adaptation with himself as a modern-day Cassandrais not the story that needs to be told. By omitting the latter part of the title the film will ultimately fail to capture what made the novel stand out among the rest: an almost uncomfortable sense of peace after a decade at war and one man questioning why exactly it all happened.

The film will be watched by many because even those who haven’t read the book have heard the title World War Z. They were probably raved to about the novel and how it captured the horrors of a zombie pandemic in a way that was both realistic and emotional. It’s too bad that they won’t realize the film is just another fast-paced action thriller with a bit of zombie thrown in until they’re sitting in their seats.

1. Plan B Entertainment was originally founded by Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, and some other dude. Which had to have been awkward, especially for the other guy.

2. It’s hard to believe the amount of fun these newswriters must be having coming up with these titles. Source: http://nymag.com/daily/entertainment/2011/03/world_war_z_brad_pitt.html

3. From the reliably titled site, Movies.com: http://www.movies.com/movie-news/world-war-z-movie/3869

4. As well as significant deviations from the plot as well as Shane West as a rebellious badboy, etc etc.

5. King Priam’s daughter, soothsayer of Troy. Warned her countrymen the danger that was the Trojan Horse, to no avail. Just in case you were wondering.