Tag Archives: zombie

‘World War Z’ needs braaains!

Film review

In this publicity photo released by Paramount Pictures, the infected scale the Israeli walls in "World War Z," from Paramount Pictures and Skydance Productions in association with Hemisphere Media Capital and GK Films. (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures, Jaap Buitendijk)

The Cool Catastrophes of 'World War Z'

This publicity image released by Paramount Pictures shows a scene from "World War Z." The zombies in “World War Z” move with Carl Lewis speed and a swarm-like mentality inspired in part by rabid dogs, furthering the eternal fan debate over whether the walking dead should actually run. (AP Photo/Paramount Pictures)

Zombies leap and pile atop each other like angry armies of ants in “World War Z,” produced by and starring Brad Pitt, but despite these impressive visual effects and a plot that has Pitt’s character jetting around the globe, “WWZ” overall is a fairly tepid entry into the zombie genre.

I walked into “World War Z” yesterday with one reviewer having stated that the film does nothing new with the zombie genre but with other reviewers (the majority of them) having stated that it’s an engaging, thrilling summer action movie.

Sadly, in a nutshell, my verdict is that “WWZ,” while watchable enough, does nothing significantly novel with the zombie genre.

I wanted to like “WWZ” more than I did. The zombie genre, done right, can be decent entertainment, and Brad Pitt usually doesn’t do shit. But “WWZ” won’t go down as one of Pitt’s best films or as one of the zombie genre’s best entries.

“WWZ” has some compelling special effects, such as its hordes of fast-moving zombies leaping and piling atop each other like angry armies of ants, but methinks that the proof that’s in the blood pudding is how the individual zombie is portrayed, and “WWZ’s” individual zombies aren’t very frightening, and “WWZ’s” lackluster zombie makeup effects break no new ground in the zombie genre.

Not that gore alone makes for a successful zombie movie, but perhaps one of “WWZ’s” chief errors, I suspect, is its producers’ decision to make a PG-13-rated instead of an R-rated zombie film. I mean, a G-rated zombie film would be considered something for kids, and so not very scary at all, so why would a PG-13-rated zombie flick be all that much scarier?

Indeed, far from being all that scary, most of “WWZ’s” individual zombies are (from what I can tell) unintentionally fairly funny. (My mate, who sat next to me, laughed throughout the movie, and laughed at scenes that very apparently weren’t intended to be comedic.) The tooth-chattering zombie, the zombie that Pitt’s character interacts with the most, I found to be creepy, but not scary, and zombies are supposed to be scary, especially in a movie that bills itself as a seriously scary zombie movie.

Further speaking of which, from what I can tell, the zombies in “WWZ” have no interest whatsoever in consuming human flesh — no, not even human braaains! — but have interest only in biting non-infected humans in order to spread the zombie virus. Perhaps that’s the best that you can do with a PG-13 rating, but yaaawn!

And while the whole concept of the zombie — a human being that is without a beating heart and thus without circulating blood and thus without any other functioning organs yet somehow nonetheless magically is animated — of course is entirely fantastical and not remotely scientific, it would be nice if “WWZ,” since it presents itself as interested in science and medicine, had strived for more medical and scientific accuracy in its portrayal of the viral-infection process.* (Spoiler alert: The material at the asterisk below is a mild spoiler.)

No virus, for instance, is capable of taking over the entire human body within a matter of seconds, and no virus can replicate without a living host, so of course a zombie, without even a beating heart, could not be a virus factory.

Didn’t early zombie movies just rely on voodoo or some other kind of magic or hocus-pocus as the explanation for zombification? When and why did viral infection become the new, unworkable rationale in the zombie genre?

OK, sure, I suppose, perhaps the fear of a Plague still lingers within the human psyche — large swaths of people have been offed in plagues during the past (and the plague of AIDS is still with us, and new plagues, such as bird and swine flus, have the power to scare us at least a bit today) — but even before “WWZ” we didn’t need another entry in the virally caused zombie genre.

And the “solution” that the heroes in “WWZ” find to deal with the zombies is less than credible and less than thrilling. (It’s so not thrilling that I won’t even bother to go into any detail about it; it would be a “spoiler” not even worth “spoiling.”)

With Brad Pitt’s involvement, you would have thought that “WWZ” would have turned out to be a smarter zombie movie. Instead, “WWZ” screams out for braaains!

That said, “WWZ,” regarded as typically mindless summer action-movie fare, is not entirely unwatchable. It’s just disappointing if you expected something more and something better.

I can forgive Pitt for this lapse — as long as he does not involve himself in a sequel.

My grade: B-

P.S. I found BBC America’s “In the Flesh” to be a fairly fresh take on the zombie genre, in case you are interested in feasting on such a fresher take — a take with brains (literally and figuratively).

*Indeed, the movie disappointingly kills off its most scientifically minded character quite early. Are we to take that symbolically as well — that without the scientist further in the movie there will be no further scientific orientation in the movie?

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Book says ‘zombies’ follow voodoo prez

If regular zombies want braaaains!braaaaaains! — then what do “Obama zombies” want?

“Chaaaaange! — chaaaaaaaange!”?*

Today I noted for the first time on amazon.com’s top-100-selling books list this wonderful little title:

Obama Zombies: How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation

Hey, at least the wingnuts are starting to get a little creative! All of these wingnut books that make references to the Founding fucking Fathers — who surely intended that we be the right-wing, white supremacist, fascist nation that the likes of Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh and Sarah Palin-Quayle want us to be — have grown beyond stale. So now, albeit a little late, the wingnuts have hopped upon the zombie bandwagon.

I love the subtitle of the new wingnut book: “How the Liberal Machine Brainwashed My Generation.” (The book, by the way, is endorsed by luminaries Ann Cunter and Michelle Malkin, so I think that you can consider the source…) 

Hmmm. Let’s see. Apparently the “liberal machine” isn’t all that efficient if this member of Generation Y (the author, I mean) somehow wasn’t successfully brainwashed. (I mean, presumably, if his brainwashing were successful, he wouldn’t have written this book. [Presuming that he even actually wrote it…])

Further, I live in California, one of the bluest of the blue states, and I just haven’t seen any “Obama zombies.” I never saw any “Obama zombies.” Of course, I wasn’t looking for any, that’s true; after I put so much time, money and energy into trying to get John Kerry elected in 2004, only to watch Kerry concede even while Ohio was still looking awfully fishy, I decided that I wasn’t going to work nearly as hard for the Democratic Party in 2008.

(And I didn’t — my main goal for 2008 was to make sure that Barack Obama and not Billary Clinton got the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, calculating that Obama is the more liberal of the two and that he had a better shot at beating the Repugnican candidate. Once Obama got his party’s nomination, my donations to him dwindled.)

But if “Obama zombies” were so pervasive as to justify an entire book on the topic, wouldn’t I have spotted at least a few of them? (The person I recall being the most jazzed up about Obama actually is a baby boomer, not a member of Generation Y, the presumed “brainwashed” and “zombified” generation that this book discusses.)

Look, if you want to talk about zombies, the “Deaniacs” — the supporters of Howard Dean’s bid for the 2004 Democratic presidential nomination — were fucking zombies. They even called themselves “Deaniacs.” Proudly.

And I saw them. Everywhere. While attendance at my monthly John Kerry Meetups was low — oh, maybe around a dozen or so people, before he finally won the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination — hundreds of people would attend the local Howard Dean Meetups, I heard. And when Dean lost the nomination, the Deaniacs still wouldn’t let it go, but morphed their organization, Dean for America, into Democracy for America (whose meetings I’ve attended in the past, after Kerry lost the 2004 presidential election).

Now, these were fanatics. If memory serves, thousands of the Deaniacs descended upon the poor state of Iowa, at their own expense, to campaign on Dean’s behalf in that state’s caucuses, the first event of the 2004 Democratic Party presidential primary season, all of them wearing bright orange knit caps.

My guess is that Iowans were not impressed by, but were quite put off by, the sea of orange-headed zombies for Dean, and that that largely if not primarily accounts for why Dean came in at No. 3 in the caucuses, dealing a crushing blow to his campaign, which had wanted all of us to just coronate him already. (Kerry’s campaign had been on life support before he won the Iowa caucuses; in the few months right before he won the Iowa caucuses, I couldn’t even get 10 people to a Kerry Meeup. I tell you, Lazarus had nothing on Kerry.)

I’m sure that there were some fanatics for Obama, but they weren’t nearly as fanatical or as numerous as were the Dean lemmings. And I’m sure that they’re not that fanatic now, now that things haven’t been, as Sarah Palin-Quayle might put it, all that hope-y and change-y.

So this book by this Jason Mattera guy, whoever he is, about left-wing “zombies” is hardly timely. The true zombies were around for Howard Dean, not for Obama, and whatever little bit of zombiism might have existed for Obama faded months ago.

So it’s bullshit to assert that there is this entire “generation” that has been “brainwashed” by Team Obama.

There is a generation of young people for whom (in no certain order) racism, white supremacism, “Christo”fascism, xenophobia, sexism, misogyny, patriarchy, homophobia, militarism, jingoism, American exceptionalism, etc. — the platform of the Repugnican Party, whether it’s spoken or just understood — don’t appeal.

Call them “brainwashed” “zombies” if you like; I call them “enlightened” and “evolved.” They are the nation’s future, while the Repugnican Party now represents only the old dead hand of the past, the stupid white man’s death throes. (Really, a black man in the White House pretty much is the stake in the heart of the racist and white supremacist Repugnican Party and its “tea-partying” allies, is it not?)

As far as goes some national march into the abyss, which the Repugnicans and the “tea party” dipshits keep talking about, I just don’t see that, either.

Socialism? It took Obama more than a year to get health-care reform passed. And what finally got passed needs a lot more improvement.

Our stormtroopers remain in the Middle East, and speaking of our stormtroopers, we are told that letting the gay ones serve without discrimination still needs some “study.”

The economy remains in the shitter more than a year after “socialist” Obama took the reins. It might be status quo lite these days, but it’s still the status quo.

Socialism? If so, it’s creeping at narcoleptic snail’s pace.

The nation was much closer to the abyss when the members of the BushCheneyCorp stole office in 2000, allowed 9/11 to happen, and then, using 9/11 as their Reichstag fire, launched their Vietraq War and went about shitting and pissing all over the Constitution, using their “war on terror” as an excuse for doing what they’d wanted to do all along anyway. Um, we won’t be seeing another Abu Ghraib House of Horrors under Obama, yet it’s Obama whom the wingnuts call dangerous to human rights.

And if we do have zombies among us today, um, they would be members of the “tea party,” not Obama supporters. I don’t see Obama supporters all frenzied up and spewing forth spittle and epithets at Repugnican lawmakers. No, that would be the “tea party” dipshits doing so to Democratic lawmakers.

Indeed, the recent convergence of the “tea party” fucktards on Capitol Hill in an apparent attempt to intimidate lawmakers from voting for health-care reform: That was right out of a zombie movie, with the zombies attacking Capitol Hill.

Liberals are almost never that organized. Getting the “tea party” fascists whipped up and marching in lockstep is about as hard as getting a Repugnican to support a tax cut, but getting liberals to protest is like herding retarded, blind and deaf cats on crack.

If the wingnuts want to view their detractors as “brainwashed” “zombies,” I suppose that’s fine. We progressives see the wingnuts, perhaps especially the “tea party” dipshits, as even more so brainwashed and zombified. Because they are.

What else can you call it when someone fights against what actually would help him or her — like health care taken out of the greedy grubbies of the corporatocrats? Or combatting global warming? Or relative peace instead of perpetual war?

You have to be pretty fucking brainwashed to vote against your own best interests.

And when you start spitting on lawmakers, calling them offensive names and throwing bricks through their office windows, and doing so in mindless unison, you’re acting an awful lot like a zombie.  

Hey, I feel a book coming on…

*Actually, that’s the little joke that I tell about the panhandlers in my neighborhood in Sacramento, whose numbers increased dramatically each year that the unelected, plutocratic BushCheneyCorp was in office, further enriching the already filthy rich and further impoverishing the already impoverished: I likened the panhandlers to zombies, demanding not “braaaaains!” but “chaaaange!”

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