Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Going Postal II, Part 1

Today’s my blogiversary! I think. I’m like ninety percent sure. Anyway, I’m going to celebrate like I did last year: by reposting! Because there’s no better way to celebrate your blog’s longevity than by not blogging. And first up is the post that I think was my best one from the past year, even if it doesn’t have a terrible amount of views or comments. It’s actually from last September, after I did the repost thing for the first time.

The Z is for Zombie (Originally posted 9/24/2013 [http://jeoneil.blogspot.com/2013/09/the-z-is-for-zombie.html])

Well, I finally got around to watching World War Z last weekend, so spoilers ahoy if you haven’t seen it yet but still want to. It has already been reviewed by more articulate people than I (who also saw the movie when it actually came out, thus making the reviews actually useful), so I’m not going to go into much depth about it. Suffice to say it was a very standard action film with characters that weren’t realized enough to be compelling and despite being a zombie movie, wasn’t really scary. Honestly, reading the news about its troubled production was way more entertaining than the resulting film.

The real point I want to get into is how it was a very poor adaptation of the book, like adaptation in name only. The book is about societal collapse and eventually, its reconstruction. It’s accepted that the zombie plague can’t be cured, can’t be prevented, and is always fatal. Conventional methods of warfare are ineffective. Ruthless, amoral methods end up being the only way to survive, from cannibalism to using humans as zombie bait.

The movie shows none of that, except maybe the plague being incurable. Zombies are unstoppable excepting headshots, like in the book, but there is never any modification of tactics beyond that “infect yourself with a curable disease and then the zombies won’t want you” thing. Even though I would think that the rotting undead wouldn’t be that picky. Seeing as they’re dead.

But that’s beside the point. The movie is weak. The societal upheaval is replaced with a man searching for clues about the disease so he can reunite with his family. Granted, the original framing of WORLD WAR Z had no main character (except maybe the guy conducting the interviews), but still. They could have come up with something better than the weaksauce every-action-movie-ever plot they had. They didn’t try to make a WORLD WAR Z movie (or they tried and failed…miserably). They made a zombie movie with World War Z as its title.

Finally, I would like to point out that just because this movie of a book was bad doesn’t mean all book-movies are bad, even the ones that are bad adaptations. The original version of Blade Runner is hardly the adaptation of Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep? but most consider it a good movie in its own right. So if you’re not going to make a good adaptation, at least try to make a good movie.


Why is this my best? I’m not sure. I just think I nailed it on the head here. Not that World War Z was particularly difficult to find fault in. My only regret is that I could have gone into more detail about what made it fail as a movie, which I think is the greater sin than it simply being a poor adaptation. So what do you think about bad movies and bad adaptations of books?

8 comments:

  1. Happy blog anniversary!
    It was an interesting take on zombies but not a good movie.

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  2. It's always a shame when Hollywood cops out and takes the easy path.

    Every time you write about zombies, it reminds me that I want to use your word zombocalypse in a book. Fingers crossed my publisher picks up more books in my series eventually, because that is totally on the agenda for #5. :)

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  3. I don't recall when I saw it- before or after your original post. I did see it, and thought it was serviceable, but nothing overly special.

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  4. Happy blog-anniversary!

    Bad movies are just bad. And far too many Hollywood films are using titles of famous books, movies or TV shows to try and generate interest or familiarity without actually making a film that has anything to do with the source material.

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  5. Bad movies. Why I rarely go out to the movies anymore.

    But my brain went to these zombie knitted caps that I just saw, like, yesterday. So much fun.

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  6. Happy Blogiversary! :) I'm not much into zombies, I scare easy. But I heard about this movie. Too bad it didn't pan out as well as it could have.

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  7. Happy blogiversary! You know, I should do the repost thing. That's would be lovely.

    I haven't read the book or seen the movie, so I can't really comment on them.but the problems you describe with the movie sound a lot like what Hollywood does when it screws up a book adaptation, so I totally believe it. Oh, and "the weaksauce every-action-movie-ever plot" is hilarious :)

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Please validate me.