World War Z has had a big news week. After rumors in March that the film might be kiboshed due to financing difficulties, this week we learned that the film adaptation of Max Brooks’ novel soon begins production in Glascow with Matthew Fox and Ed Harris in talks to join Brad Pitt and The Killing‘s Mireille Enos. As we’ve learned with the troubled but still truckin’ production of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, killing zombie movies proves to be almost as hard as killing zombies.
Ahhh, Brad Pitt, Matthew Fox and zombies. Three pop culture figures that were relevant in the aughts. I could be wrong here, but is anyone still excited for an adaptation of World War Z? I thought the movie sounded like a bad idea from go. Brooks’ 2006 novel works as social commentary using a fictionalized oral history. What stands out about the book is Brooks’ meticulous dedication to research. The politics, technology, economics and military strategy used by world governments as they deal with global outbreak are placed firmly in reality. World War Z is a critique on government bureaucracy and the malfeasance that drives corporate capitalism. It’s a collection of authentic voices interpreting the catastrophe from different perspectives across the globe. What World War Z is not is a particularly good story. If you take out the contrasting narratives and the authoritative attention to sociopolitical detail (and you’d have to, to make a mainstream film), what does that leave? Another zombie apocalypse movie. A PG-13 zombie apocalypse movie!
World War Z was published when zombies were at the height of their popularity. The world is now suffering from zombie fatigue, and I with it. Zombies were supplanted by vampires, who have recently been succeeded by werewolves. I’m seriously hoping mermaids are next. Mermaids? Anyone? But if Paramount is bound and determined to spend $125 million that they don’t have to make this movie, maybe they know something we don’t. Maybe the script is phenomenal. Maybe Brad Pitt is planning on shaving his puts-the-goat-in-goattee and enjoying a resurgence of relevance. Or maybe they’re just out of ideas.