At this point, I more or less consider my college alum Len Ornstein as an official correspondent for this blog, even though I hesitate to guess if he’d even care for such a distinction. Just about anything you see here that is newsworthy or current owes to Len’s helpful vigilance and his e-mails. (Recall, please, that I recently provided a helpful review of Season 1 of “The X Files.” Also, I haven’t been able to watch “Gotham” or “Daredevil” because I am lately getting too into “The Lone Gunmen” from 2001. Seriously.)
Anyway, Len attended the Phoenix Comicon this past weekend, and helpfully shared the experience with those less cool. And he was fortunate enough to meet the one and only MAX BROOKS. You guys know that Brooks is the author of the seminal, maybe even genre-redefining zombie apocalypse novel, “World War Z.” (And if you don’t know that, then get off my blog and go read about Louisa May Alcott or something.) Brooks is pictured at left below, Len is at right.
I am such a fan of the book that I’ve read it at least three times. It was like George A. Romero meets Tom Clancy, and it is one of the most fun books I’ve ever read. Its predecessor (and de facto prologue, I’d suggest) was “The Zombie Survival Guide.”
Len says that Brooks talked about the widespread criticism of the putative film “adaptation” of “World War Z,” namely how it had nothing in common with his book (although Brooks also did say it was entertaining and lucrative). The author said he couldn’t really claim that Hollywood butchered his novel, because so little of the novel had been used. After he sold the rights, he had no creative input for it.
I humbly opine that the movie gets just a little too much bad press. Visit any Internet message boards about it, and you might get the impression that its more commonly accepted title is “The Brad Pitt Zombie Movie That Sucked.” I myself am a die-hard fan of the original book, but I still loved the movie.
It wasn’t a Romero film, and it wasn’t “The Walking Dead.” (And it certainly wasn’t the book.) But … that’s just fine, in my opinion. It was different. It was a bangin’, epic, global monster war movie with some amazing action set pieces. I think the siege of the walled Jerusalem (a subplot that actually WAS from the book), was alone well worth the price of a ticket. Not every zombie movie has to have the same tone and narrative as Romero’s work or Robert Kirkman’s work. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s recent “Maggie” film showed us, for example, that very different zombie movies can still be incredibly good.
My only real criticism of the “World War Z” movie was that its plot resolution seemed … pretty damned risky. Isn’t there a pretty obvious danger connected with the defense employed by Pitt’s character? Maybe I missed something.
Thanks for checking in with us, Len!!