Friday, 28 June 2013

Cinema/Idle fanedit ideas: World War Z

I made the rather silly decision to watch World War Z recently. I did not enjoy the experience, because it was in my opinion a bad film, for a number of reasons. Frustratingly, I found that there were a few clever or promising moments within it - and had they build upon those moments, it could have at least become a solid if unexceptional film about a truly global zombie outbreak, with a scale beyond anything we've seen so far.

Warning : spoilers follow. If you don't want 'em, stop reading.

Unfortunately, even in the first ten minutes the film nails its colours to the mast - the quite-nicely-done scene showing the collapse of societal order in New York is marred by Magical Physics-Defying vehicles like a dumptruck that can plow through an entire city block's worth of cars, crushing them and tossing them aside, without losing any momentum. The CGI for large crowds is unexceptional at best, and clearly false-looking all too often. Which is sad, because my most recent preferred reference point for this would be either The Divide or Fase 7.

Beyond this, the closest the film gets to solid scenes in my opinion is when Gerry Lane lands, with virologist and SEAL team in two, in South Korea to try and track down Patient Zero. They meet some broadly competent soldiers and collect some confusing (and subsequently ignored) information that contradicts previous details about how infection works, and then it all goes to hell because, in preparation for a complex operation in which silence is absolutely essential, Gerry Lane doesn't think to turn off his mobile phone and - wouldn't you know it? - his wife attempts to call at an inopportune moment. Cue zombies chomping on all around him. (It didn't help that, after being told to keep absolutely quiet, several characters are then shown cycling to a specific location on badly-oiled squeaking bicycles....)

After here, the film goes downhill - the action sequences try to up the scale but don't succeed in engaging you (again, too much cheap-looking CGI), and the narrative is hobbled by a need to location-hop while ignoring a far more obvious alternative course of action - including an inexplicable and ridiculous final journey, where the focus is scaled down to be more intimate.

I don't particularly imagine WWZ will be particularly salvageable, myself. Certainly I think the theatrical version is a disappointing mess, a complete turd in the punchbowl if held to the quality standard set by the book.

So I have an alternative idle notion for a fanedit. A book-version of the film, which would use the expanded audiobook as its starting point, and use a combination of stock footage and footage from other zombie films to provide the visuals. Structurally, it might be better to approach this as a miniseries rather than as a film, but in any case I think this would almost certainly result in something more interesting than the mess of a film currently in theatres.

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