Desert of Man

Writing. Culture. Politics. Wandering.

I saw dead people (in World War Z)

I’m not sure what it is with me and movies, while I have always enjoyed watching them there is something these past few years which I somehow appear to have some problem with. An as of yet still undefined problem, not getting in the way of enjoying the movies, but leaving me with a bit of a hole in my experience of them. Not unlike having a truly great dinner where a distinct flavour of part of the ensemble prevents you from considering the rest only after you have finished the whole. Maybe today’s salting of entertainment is not unlike the salting of the food we are presented with in the mass markets of the western world.

World War Z is not an exception, unfortunately, in that sense. Keep in mind that if you fell in love with the writing of Max Brooks this may very well not be the movie you are looking for – it is entirely up to you whether to join the eternal debate of which is better or actually real, book versus movie.

The movie is fun. Let’s get that straight. It’s not scary, it does not shock you beyond the average tolerances of the human heart, it presents you with an understandable set of viewpoints and it guides you across events without asking much of an investment of the mind. It looks nice, yes a lot of debates on various sites and blogs comment on the topic of CGI and animated hordes, but this movie is not a costume drama. It is not a fantasy movie. It is not a science fiction epic. It is a movie made to entertain, pure and simple. Much like most productions these days, as long as you sit down to watch and are willing to be immersed rather than encouraged to analyse it really is a fun movie.

The only issue in terms of that immersion which I had was that while David Morse presents a really nice element and a path of events within the movie it all somehow comes down to a solitary quest of Brad Pitt. Nothing wrong with that, in truth it does make sense very often to channel an audience through a specific set of eyes only, but it does kinda break the momentum of the movie as it unfolds. I can see the point of discarding the family as quickly as feasible, I can recognise the point of each step imposing his perception further as required for the audience’s perspective.

Still, perhaps it is a case of too many steps, for a production designed to entertain (as opposed to say, challenge). It is a rather interesting way to deviate from the normal pattern of putting a number of people on a proverbial fence and telling the tale of each next one to fall off, but it is not a way to really make you identify with a protagonist. There is no rooting for or against, there is no fun game of predicting a next demise. Then again, as already mentioned, such are tricks of the mind which just have no place in movies driven by the concept of visualised action today. Maybe it is wrong of me to somehow expect or even consider such twists or possibilities, regardless of mondane or creative.

World War Z is not the dreaded disaster many feared. It is a movie of and for our modern times. Be a good citizen, consume and be entertained, do not ask questions and when the entertainment is over be sure to let everybody know in virtual ways of how awesome it was. And ofcourse, fantasise about the demise of everything and cling to a message of “when shit happens it’s all over anyway so stop worrying” (almost as if we are supposed to live in a reincarnation of the last days of the Roman empire). Within that scope it is right up there with movies like Avengers and its similar incarnations such as the latest two Star Trek movies.

My goodness, I think I really crave a movie that challenges me with more than just a visual ride of shock & awe.

It’s a movie. It’s a bit of fun time, lets you soak in a bit of genre related amusement. It’s not 2001, Blade Runner or Alien. Not in terms of genre, obviously, but certainly not in terms of depth, universe and challenge of minds and hearts beyond the simple brain. Will I watch it again? Maybe, perhaps between commercials some years from now when it makes a move to TV media – if those still exist as today by then.

I will continue to read Max Brooks’s writing and look forward to more of it though.

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This entry was posted on June 7, 2013 by in Muse, Musings, Read and tagged , , , .
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