The Martian and the Desperate Hope For Smart Science Fiction

Have I told any of you how much I love The Martian?  It’s a fantastic movie.  Every performance in there is utterly perfect in every conceivable way.  It’s incredibly well shot.  The CG is incredible, the set designs are used perfectly.  I love this film so much.  But another thing I like about it is the fact that it is smart science fiction.  A horrifically lost art that hurts me inside to see what it’s become.  When I look at the big-budget Hollywood movies in the genre now, it’s typically either mediocre movies like J.J. Abrams remake of Star Trek and the abysmal sequel.  Or it’s absolute trash like the new Star Wars films.  But hope may be out there.  It’s small, but it’s there.  Let’s talk about smart science fiction.

Plenty of movies have stupid science fiction.  Like the aforementioned Star Trek remake, where Spock has this black hole machine that doesn’t work like an actual black hole does.  Or you get shit like any of the science fiction films of the 90’s and early 2000’s.  All of the alien invasion movies are the ones that rub me raw the most.  I mean, really?  Why is alien life always defeated by the lamest shit?

But in the last few years, always flying under the radar, are some really fantastic examples of science fiction.  Naturally, pretty much all of them fall into the category of great movies that nobody saw.  Just in the last couple years there have been some incredible examples.  First, we have the movie that this post ostensibly is talking about, The Martian.  Based off of an equally-great book (one of the few movies that stacks up to the book it’s based on), it tells the story of an astronaut stranded on Mars and his mission to stay alive.  Listening to Damon’s character talk about the science involved makes me think of one of my favorite authors.

Next, we have my favorite film of 2016, Arrival.  In that movie, aliens come to Earth and the first people who can actually communicate with them is a language expert and a mathematician.  The process of deciphering the alien language and then being able to communicate with them on our own terms is pretty amazing.  Plus, Amy Adams is phenomenal in the performance.  She speaks like someone who knows her shit, as opposed to someone who is just acting like it.  I have the same opinion of Damon in The Martian.

Last year, we got to see the most recent – Annihilation.  That film struck such a chord with me.  You ever notice in movies that pretty much all aliens, they seem to be easily understood to humanity.  Star Trek was this way, of course.  But in this film, the aliens are something unknowable.  Telling the story of a woman whose husband is military and was deployed to an unknown location, he comes back as something else.  Now, she is on a mission to figure out what happened.  It’s one of the most intense and dark science fiction films I have ever seen, but it works.  There is also one of the scariest horror film sequences of all time that still haunts me.

With more and more of what’s made being creatively-bankrupt dreck, such as the endless sequels, reboots, superhero films, and other mindless nonsense, the future for science fiction may be bleak.  But there is hope.  Several films that have really showed off the medium have been made over the last few years.  It may not be too late to save this genre from utter obliteration.  Or maybe it’s too late for Hollywood.  I see that Disney has bought 20th Century Fox.  Another studio whose good ideas they can take and drive into the ground.  I fear for film as a medium.  I fear for a lot of creative endeavors.  But films like these give me hope for at least one medium.  We’ll see what happens next.

Until next time, a quote,

“In the face of overwhelming odds, I’m left with only one option. I’m gonna have to science the shit out of this.” – Mark Watney, The Martian

Peace out,



Lucien’s Unpopular Opinion: I Hate Star Wars (Blame the fans)

There’s this new supervisor at my job.  I kind of love this guy.  Unlike my immediate supervisor, who I am almost-certain is not a fan of my hatred of my job and my hatred of our clients, the latter of which I go to NO effort to hide, until I am on the phone.  Then there isn’t a single client who doesn’t think I want to help them with their problems.  My professionalism is perfect.  Flawless.  To date, I have gotten people who only hear me on the phone to believe that I love my job and love to help people.  Even the biggest assholes who call up just to be cock-suckers, I treat them with the same level of professional courtesy.  But once I hang up that phone, there’s a lyric from a song that I have going in my head for virtually every client –

Please end your fucking life.  Please end your fucking life.  I really have to emphasize, no one cares if you’re alive.

For anyone who wants to call in to child support, if you are one of the nice people, keep in mind that when I think that way, it’s because of the ten assholes who called before you.  Don’t take it personally.  Unless you are one of the assholes.  In which case, see the lyrics I presented previously.

But our new supervisor is a swell guy.  He takes my negativity and makes it into a jab at my own expense.  I dig it.  Though I can tell that he only has so much he can take.  He doesn’t understand that I don’t feel joy.  At all.  Happiness is a fleeting thing in my world because of brain damage.  I don’t feel positive emotions the same way he does.  But the guy is trying to get it.  I’ll give credit where it’s due.

Something about him – he hates Star Wars.  Something that annoys the immediate supervisor to no end, since she is in love with it, or a gay coworker who shares my given first name since he is the same.  The conversations about this film series really got me to thinking.  Here’s the thing – I hated Episode VII and Rogue One.  The first was a second-rate remake of the original film, except with a chick, and the other was a boring retelling of a story where we know how it would end before it got started.  I see the previews for Episode VIII and I’m like – who cares?  Why should I care?  It’s just gonna be a remake of Empire Strikes Back.  Disney is saying that this film will be different and it will take chances *cough*bullshit!*cough*

I just can’t bring myself to care.  Hell, I’m never gonna Netflix it.  Why would I?  I’m just so done with this franchise.  And the people I blame for this are the fans.  When Episode VII premiered, I got to watch a YouTube I respected start crying.  Fucking crying!  Over a movie that is almost entirely ripped off with some fan service thrown in just so they could say “look!  This is just like those other movies!  You all liked them, right?!  Yeah, I did.  I still do, at least a little.  But this franchise has become a complete clusterfuck, with all the fans singing praises for these new movies.  Why?  Because the most common argument I hear is – but they’re so much better than the prequels!

Sure, they are.  But here’s the thing – the prequel trilogy was a dumpster fire.  There are a TON of films better than those.  It’s hard to be much worse.  Why would I heap on praises for the new films just because they are better than films that are on par with the Transformers sequels?  I could say that the original Transformers film is better than the prequels, and that is a true statement.  But does that make it a good film?  Not really.  It’s generic popcorn cinema, but that’s it.  Funny, that’s the term I’d use to describe Episode VII – generic popcorn cinema.  However, because it’s Star Wars, it’s just amazing!  Yeah, look at that retarded lightsaber that Kylo Ren uses!  Or hey, look at the this villain who is a petulant man-baby!  That sure is neat.  Oh, and we have a chick protagonist now!  She sure is an interesting character, what with her nullodramatic acting and stoic personality that is as interesting as American cheese.  Oh, but there’s the Millenium Falcon!  That’s cool, right?  What’s that?  It’s blatant fan service just to get the nerds to cum in their britches?  Okay.

If only the fans were objective about it.  Episode VII and Rogue One are average films that are just fine if you are one of those people who can turn your brain off and watch the pretty lights and shit blow up.  If you actually want engaging science fiction, they are the last thing.  Makes sense with Episode VII.  J.J. Abrams can’t direct anything other than popcorn entertainment.  But no!  They’re masterpieces of cinema!  They are ripping off the fucking plot of better movies wholesale!  I mean, they’re better than the prequels!  That counts for something, right?

Wrong!  Not in my eyes.  They’re generic, boring, cookie-cutter films.  If Disney were intellectually capable of making something that wasn’t a cookie-cutter film, what a wonderful world it would be.  But then people might get mad because it doesn’t appeal to the largest audience possible.  Say what you will about the original films, at least they knew they were going to appeal to a niche.  But since we live in an age where fucking hipsters drown us all in nostalgia praise, everyone has to love this new film because it does the same goddamn thing as the originals do.  Because who cares about originality?  The millennials have turned their brains off enough as it is.

So yeah, I hate this franchise now, and you can blame the fucking fans.  Meanwhile, great ideas like 1313 died because Disney can’t have a project that isn’t kid-friendly.  That would hurt their precious fucking image.  Groj forbid that people actually want something new and unique.

Until next time, a quote,

“When change does not happen and bread and butter issues tackled – people become cynical and disillusioned.” – Tony Leon

Peace out,


Lucien’s Review: Shin Godzilla

What a fascinating film I just watched.  I love me some old Godzilla movies.  The effects are so bad, but the kaiju fighting is just too much fun.  Plus, watching them dubbed adds an extra layer of cheese that cannot be compared.  I didn’t really like the new Godzilla movie that America made, partly because there was so little of the actual monsters.  A similar criticism could easily be leveled at this movie, but I won’t.  Why?  Because this film just took the most fascinating approach.  There is a lot to unpack here, so let’s get down to it.

The plot of this film is just focused exclusively around Godzilla.  No other kaiju to fight.  This movie has our titular monster as the big bad, which again sounds like it would be boring, but this movie just so odd.  It tells the story of a new Godzilla in a world where he never existed, now coming for Japan (what is his beef with that place?  What the fuck did they do to him?) and the Japanese government desperately trying to save their country from destruction.

This film is perhaps the most political movie I’ve seen in years.  It’s weird.  95% of this movie is spent with characters just talking.  There is so much talk about Japanese politics that you almost forget that you’re watching a Godzilla film for a while.  I wanna hate that, but I don’t.  Getting to see this Japanese government and some genuinely-likeable characters desperately trying to figure out what to do in the face of an international threat that is looking to take excessive measures to stop Godzilla is genuinely touching.  The head of a special department who is trying to figure out a way to stop Godzilla specifically is my favorite.  You genuinely get the feeling that he is invested in this effort to save his country.

Since the entirety of the movie revolves around the political sphere, if you hate listening to people talk about politics for almost the entirety of the 2 hour runtime of this film, you’re gonna hate it.  That’s the big and small of it.  Even when you see things happening in service to the plot of the film, they always find a way to bring it back to the the government’s efforts and how international pressure comes into play.  It’s actually kinda smart.  You genuinely feel for these people who are stuck in a world where they have red tape and public to worry about.  I like this perspective.  In the American film, it was all about a small section of military characters, none of whom were particularly interesting.  This movie has a kind of authenticity because they keep it focused on Japan and make the outside world as not evil, but disconnected.  You can take all this for what you will.

That being said, this film has a LOT of elements that are silly to the point of ridiculousness.  Since there are a lot of American characters in this movie, you get some genuinely funny Engrish.  This female character who is the American liaison to Japan is my favorite.  It’s clear that she’s a Japanese actress and English is NOT her first language.  But believe it or not, they get real American actors to play American parts.  The problem is that the writing for these actors is clearly done by somebody where English is their first language.  So the dialogue is so fucking stilted.  It’s kind great.  Oh boy.

Speaking of ridiculous things, let’s talk about the effects in this movie.  In the old films, it’s clearly someone in a suit.  This time they decided to trade in the suit for CG, and it’s…terrible.  I love it.  When you first see Godzilla in his original form, it looks so bad that I was laughing my ass off.  The eyes especially.  That was the funniest thing I’ve seen in a long time.  Maybe that’s why they worked so hard to keep the focus off him.  Because too much time with the monster and we would have been laughing our asses off.

But it isn’t devoid of cool effects.  There is one scene that just blows me away.  It’s when they finally do real damage to the monster, and he loses his cool.  What follows may not be amazing, but is done with so much finesse and really good musical cues that you feel how desperate the situation is.

One thing I do wanna point out is a track used in this film.  When I first heard it, I laughed my ass off.  It’s so clearly robbed from Evangelion.  I mean, to the point of shameless.  If it wasn’t for the fact that I know that FUNimation is at least partly licensed in the production of this film, I’d be amazed that they haven’t sued the living shit out of this studio.  It’s so obviously the track from Evangelion.  They do change it just a little bit later in the film, but it’s not enough to make me think it’s anything else.

I also wanna talk about this film’s weird habit of suddenly taking strange angle shots right the fuck out of nowhere!  I mean nowhere!  They’ll suddenly have a shot from the weirdest angle and then cut away.  Whoever was behind that decision, I want to know why.  These shots just come and go in a split-second, and serve no purpose in any scene they are in.

Overall, I’m not sure how to rate this film.  There are a TON of flaws that one could easily nit-pick to death.  But, I had fun watching it.  This is a genuinely entertaining movie, for me.  Maybe it’s because I liked these characters, and the politics they were talking about was genuinely interesting.  I don’t know.  But your mileage with this movie will vary.  So glad I watched it with subtitles.  If I had had to suffer the dub, I know I wouldn’t have been able to take ANY of it seriously.  The genuine strength of the performances comes out only in original Japanese.  This review may not make much sense to you, but this is the best I can talk about it.  Do with my review what you will.

Final Verdict
7 out of 10

Peace out,


Lucien’s Review: Her

HerWe all have these film experiences where we are left at the end with some complicated feelings that we can’t sort out.  Like, you have to think about it long after you get home.  It affects you in such a way that you can’t stop thinking about it for some time.  These are the films that stick with you forever, which you can’t discontinue pondering.  The films you love above all others, because they made you feel in a way you hadn’t felt before.  Spike Jonze’s latest film, Her, did that for me.  Up front, this a film that has touched me in a way that few have before.  And given that, I can’t just talk about this in a way that I talk about video games and other things.  I have to talk about some of the aspects that are so great.  It may sound pretentious, but so be it.  I want you all to understand why this movie means so much to me.  I’ll do my best not to spoil anything too major, but I have to look at this deeper.  I hope you enjoy.

I’ll give you a rundown of the plot first, just so you can follow.  The film is set in the not-too-distant future, but it never tells you exactly when, so that that isn’t the focus.  It follows a lonely writer of letters named Theodore, played by Joaquin Phoenix.  He works for a company that makes letters that look hand-written, for people who can’t make them for themselves.  He finds out about a new operating system that is an AI that can interact with a person and grow.  His Operating System (OS) is named Samantha, voiced by Scarlett Johansson.  As the two grow to know one-another, they find a love that is so different from what either of them can understand.

Everyone who was in this film was amazing, I will say that much.  I have to say it, because so much of how realistic this film felt was due to how realistic the dialogue was.  This was not a happy film, but it wasn’t genuinely depressing, either.  It was a film that was more about the journey that Theodore goes through with this OS that is able to fill a void in his life that is something that so many people can relate to.

I can see this happening in real life.  I see it especially happening with men.  Women don’t seem to accept how they have pick of the litter with men, while men are having to look for whatever they can find.  This belief that guys are so shallow and only want supermodels is so outdated and wrong that it bugs me.  But when you have an intelligence that is all its own, learning with you and becoming connected to you in a serious way, I can see this kind of romance happening quite often.

This was a film that showed a lot of how lonely our society is.  Theodore worked for a service for people who couldn’t write in an emotional way, so they would pay others to do it for them.  The more technology gives us, the lonelier we become.  People are always on their phones, always texting and online.  Human interaction is getting harder and harder to come by.  When you have an intelligence that can grow and learn and want to become more with you, the draw would be undeniable.  For guys like me, who find it impossible to date, we can’t help but admire the concept.

This was not a happy or sad film, as we said, but it is emotionally powerful.  Theodore has a roller-coaster ride of emotions through the film as he is working to get past his own fears and pains.  The dialogue between him and Samantha can be so heart-breaking.

This is a film that made me cry.  I love it.  It is one of the few genuinely perfect movies.  If you haven’t seen it, do.  Like, as soon as possible, before it leave the theaters.  Or, if you can’t see it there, see it at home.  I guarantee you, you won’t be disappointed.

Final Verdict
10 out of 10

Peace out,


How to be a Pretentious Film Critic

You are a person who watches a lot of movies.  With all your years of vast knowledge, along with all the college education you got on film, it is only natural that you consider yourself and expert.  Hours upon hours upon hours of time that could have been spent out in the world.  You could have been on dates and gotten laid in college.  But you decided instead to pursue the grand task of immersing yourself in movies, and now you are certain that you could judge them and change the world of cinema forever.  Well, that or just get mocked because you aren’t seeing the movies that the rest of the people are seeing and love.  If you are a little unsure of how to best break into the world of judging movies, here are a few pointers.

1. You are smart, everyone else is dumb.
You see all these people watching movies.  They might like the movies that you do, even.  Most of them like ridiculously dumb things like anything by Michael Bay or movies with teary-eyed women.  But you are so much smarter than that.  You see all the nuance and complexity in films.  It’s like you are in the director’s mind!  Take pride in that.  Take pride in how smart you are, as opposed to these dumb-shits who will criticize you for how much you read into films.  You’ll hear lines like “it’s just a movie,” or “don’t take it so seriously.”  Don’t listen!  They are just inferior minds who are trying to make you feel bad for being smart!  But you’re better than that.

2. See symbolism absolutely everywhere
You remember all those English teachers back in school, and the professors in college who try and see symbolism all over books.  What a bunch of idiots!  I mean, it’s words, right?  How can words possibly have some kind of deeper meaning.  But film, on the other hand, that is something that has symbolism everywhere!  I mean, why would they do a long shot of a red door in the rain if it didn’t mean something?  Why can nobody else see it?!  Thankfully, you know better.  You have wasted countless hours picking apart all the symbolism of film, and want to show everyone who would listen.  And on that note, why don’t people listen?  Clearly they are jealous of how smart you are, and how not-smart they are.

3. Find a way to make a film compare to politics.  Any good film
You watch a movie like Django Unchained, and you think to yourself – this is a great metaphor to President Obama’s first term!  And of course, how awesome the character of Django is, you can clearly show that it will be a metaphor to his second term as well.  I mean, the main character is black.  So obviously that means that it’s an Obama metaphor.  And your seeing that isn’t you trying to ingratiate yourself at all to what is popular.  It’s how smart you are!  Every single movie that you will ever see that isn’t some low-budget piece of junk, you can bet that it is somehow talking about politics.  Like how Inception was secretly about the Presidential election, and how Daybreakers was a metaphor for America’s over-dependence on oil.  You can be that any and all movies have some sort of political message.

4. Never watch movies just for fun
Whenever you go to movies, you almost wish you could bring a notebook in with you, don’t you?  Maybe you are one of those people who does do that!  Sure, it’s a little dark, but that’s alright.  You have to get every single note down about what is going on, and you will make sure to find the correlation between what you saw in this movie and something else.  After all, who just goes to movies to be entertained?  It’s about critical cultural issues, dammit!  Because of course, it will be the movies that we make that will say the most about our culture.  Who gives a shit about actual history?  After all, if they didn’t make movies, who would know?

5. When people don’t like the movies that you like, they’re idiots
Because you are so informed, and know so much about the medium, you are obviously the best person to know what is a good movie.  I mean, who else?  That idiot guy who talks about how Battleship is the greatest movie he’s ever seen?  Yeah, what the fuck does he know?  No, it falls to you to tell the world about what movies are movies that are worthy.  And if anyone disagrees, they’re fucking morons.  You can get so much smug satisfaction from how good you are, as opposed to them.

6. Film is the greatest form of art that will ever be, and don’t you let anyone say otherwise
Well, you can just hear now from all those dumbass gamers who want to tell you about how video games are now art.  What a bunch of idiots.  After all, how could a game possibly compare to a film?  Sure, there are films like anything that Michael Bay has made that are so stupid that a fifth-grader could write them.  And they are becoming more and more common.  But this medium is still the best.  I mean, paintings are just one moment.  Animated films have hundreds or thousands of those!  And don’t even get us started on people who think that music is the greatest medium.  I mean, films have that too!  Yeah, this is the best medium.  Anybody who doesn’t agree is just ignorant.  That’s what it is – ignorance.  They are all ignorant.  Only you are truly enlightened.

There, I have armed you with all the knowledge that you will need to go out into the world and to take on everybody.  After all, there are things that the dim-witted public needs to know!  Thankfully, they will always have you by their side, showing them that how they are a million times more fun than being you.

Until next time, a quote,

“The life of a critic is easy.  We risk very little, yet enjoy a position over those who offer up their work and themselves to our judgment.  We thrive on negative criticism which is fun to write and to read.  But the bitter truth we critics must face is that in the grand scheme of things, the average piece of junk is probably more meaningful than our criticism designating it so.”  -Anton Ego, Ratatouille

Peace out,


Lucien’s Review: The Dark Knight Rises

The Dark Knight RisesI know what you’re thinking – “What the hell?!  Why is this being put up now?  That movie has been out for a dog’s age!”  Well, let me tell you.  I kept meaning to see this movie in theaters.  I really did.  But every time I made a plan to see it, it fell apart.  The first person I wanted to see this movie with, something went down between her and I (to which I still have NO idea what, what it’s impact has been, or if our friendship even exists anymore), and that plan went to shit.  The next person I tried to go see it with, she had to bail on me also.  And the last person, some shit went wrong with my car.  Basically, it was a giant cluster-fuck of problems, culminating in me never getting to see this movie in theaters.

But I was still hyped to see it.  I decided to wait.  See it on DVD.  I knew that I was getting a new TV, which is awesome, and was dirt-cheap too.  I knew that I would be getting the best quality I could get for my money.  I was pretty stoked, and I didn’t have a problem with seeing it at home, aside from the fact that I knew that I was going to want to talk to somebody about this movie after it was done, and I am all alone here at the dorms, so yeah, that was out.  My life kind of sucks.

Anyway, it finally came out on DVD, and I bought it the first day it came out.  I came back to my dorm room, threw in the DVD, and watched it for the first time.  Now, coming on the heels of Inception, and being the third of a trilogy, nobody knew exactly what to expect from this movie.  Up front – it’s not as good as The Dark Knight.  I think we all knew that was going to be the case.  That movie hit such a dramatic, emotional, thematic high that it was just impossible to recreate that.  The incredible performances of Heath Ledger and Michael Caine were just amazing.  That was a high that this movie could never hit, and thankfully, it didn’t try.

Don’t get me wrong, this is no slouch.  Not at all.  This movie is, like all Nolan movies, very, very smart.  He likes to make this movies intelligent.  I will say that this movie was about as subtle as a speeding train.  For real, it hits hard, it hits big, it does what normal films do in a final of a trilogy.

So, what parts did I like?  Well, the biggest thing I liked, like The Dark Knight, is the villain.  Tom Hardy’s portrayal of Bane is just awesome.  He is such a badass in this movie.  Not only is he a badass, but he knows it.  The scene in the sewer, where he is beating the shit out of Batman, and lecturing him about his own shortcomings, both as a hero and a man, is just great.  This guy didn’t sound very imposing, but his presence was something else.  This was what Batman should have been (Bale did the same voice for Batman that he did in the previous movies.  Ugh…) – imposing, but not having to try.  You felt threatened by Bane, just from his presence.  The scene where they are invading the stock exchange, and the man says to him –

There’s no money here!

To which Bane replies –

Oh really?  Then what are you people doing here?

Is just so bad ass!  You love this guy.  I thought he was a great character.  The other character I really enjoyed was Catwoman.  Anne Hathaway was great in this role.  She’s one of those actresses where a lot of how good or bad her performance is comes from who is directing her.  And thankfully, it was really good in this case.  She was amazing.  Sassy, smart, deeper than she looks and also pretty badass, it was a lot of fun to watch.

What don’t I like?  Well, for one thing, there are a lot of elements that were not developed enough.  I think that is because this film was already long, and they just didn’t want to make it any longer.  The relationship between Bruce Wayne and Tahlia Al Ghul was incredibly rushed.  You still felt some connection, but it wasn’t nearly as much.  I also was pissed that they have Jonathan Crane, Scarecrow, back in this movie, and he has like 5 MINUTES of screen time!  Dammit, no!  I wanted to see him in action again!  I wanted to see his prowess, his badass manipulation of fear.  Talk about making this series go full circle.  That would have been perfect!  It’s nit-picking, but yeah, I think it’s a good point.

But don’t get me wrong, this is a great film.  A big question that came up was which is better – The Avengers or The Dark Knight Rises.  Honestly…I’m torn.  The Avengers was a LOT of fun to watch.  I hate half of those characters, and I loved watching that movie, and part of that was because that movie was very good at making fun of itself and how goofy some of those characters were.  But I also love this movie, because the acting is rock-solid, the plot is just great, the themes of corruption, wealth and the how destructive it can be to society are there.  But it wasn’t as strong as I was hoping, and the ending left me feeling a little…bored, I guess.  So yeah, I don’t know.  It’s close.  Really close.

As the end of a trilogy, it is good.  It is not a bad stretch of the imagination.  I am sure I don’t need to tell you all to see it.  You already have.

Final Verdict:
8 out of 10

Peace out,


The World War Z Movie is Going to SUCK!

I don’t know how many of you know this, because I haven’t done a Top 10 or 20 book list (which is forthcoming), but one of my favorite books of all time is World War Z.  When I first heard about this book, I was more than a little skeptical.  The zombie genre is so over-saturated.  Granted, there are sometimes some very good works that come from that, like the original Dawn of the Dead, or the incredible TV series The Walking Dead.  But, for the most part, all the comes from this genre is junk.  Cliche, boring junk.  But I had heard of the author of this book, Max Brooks, before.  The Zombie Survival Guide was a book that was funny, surprisingly informative, and actually pretty smart.  Brooks showed off his talent for doing a lot of research.  I had a feeling that a novel about a worldwide epidemic of the undead would do the same.

World War Z novel coverAnd he didn’t disappoint.  World War Z was an incredibly deep book, told from over a dozen perspectives.  From the first outbreaks of the undead in China, where a lone doctor is trying to understand, to when America and the rest of the world falls into panic, to a man who was an Apartheid monster saving the human race from destruction, using some of the most deplorable means possible.  It was a book that was about more than the undead.  In fact, they were more like a prop for the infinitely more meaty aspect – the people.  This book was about people.  Told from the perspective of a journalist after the whole war is over, he gets interviews with various people who were involved.  Each character felt real.  Even if their part was incredibly brief, the author was able to give a lot of insight into culture, human nature, and how things would really happen if such an event occurred.

I just love how realistic this story felt.  From the corrupt and laziness of America’s government nearly damning this country, to the world of a Japanese otaku who is having to face the world for the first time, at the most deadly of times.  You felt like these were people who you could meet in the real world.  The research that Brooks did for this book was beyond impressive.  It was astounding.  Such a book could, and rightfully should have been turned into an amazing movie.  But that is not what we got.

World War Z film posterFrom the moment that I saw the first trailer for this movie (linked here), I knew that it was going to suck.  The very first moment.  Because for one thing – it threw out the ENTIRE narrative structure of the novel!  The journalist is gone.  Instead, it is replaced.  It is replaced by yet-another of these stories about a man and his family, trying to survive.  Yes, because we needed ANOTHER one of these stories, didn’t we?!  War of the Worlds, I Am Legend, and probably a good 40% of modern horror films haven’t given that to us, have they?!  So yeah, they have thrown out the entire narrative structure that helped make this world seem real and believable.

Next, there are hardly any perspectives.  Now look, I fully understand that a film couldn’t have done nearly all the perspectives from the novel.  Not unless it was going to be 12 hours long.  I get that, and I accept that.  But I saw hardly any.  It looked like they had brief clips to other places, as if to remind us that this is a world-wide thing.  They have made this story smaller, so much smaller, and they have made it a blockbuster.  For real, this has all the elements of a summer blockbuster.  There are lots of explosions, lots of action, and lots of special effects.  This isn’t what the book about, you Hollywood jackasses!  Talk about having no understanding of the source material!  This book was about people.  It was about humanity, and its potential twilight.  It was about the world, and how it dealt with a crisis.  This was about how good and evil truly were perspective, as a man who is believe to be sharing a pantheon in the deepest parts of Hell is the one who saves the world, by making a plan so wretched that it involves feeding people to the undead.

Oh, and that’s another thing – this movie clearly has the undead as the key central figure.  In this book, while they were the ever-present threat, they really weren’t the focus, as they shouldn’t be.  This is about humanity.  It’s an oral history.  In the book, the undead were a shambling, seemingly unstoppable enemy, who never stopped, never tired and never showed a bit of fear.  In the film, they took a page from the remake of Dawn of the Dead, and made the zombies able to run.  Why?  Is the idea that something that slowly overtakes us just not threatening?  Oh, wait, I know, it’s because slow-moving zombies don’t make for a very good summer blockbuster.  Rotten bastards!

This is what Hollywood does.  It takes what’s cool and makes it into shit.  They took Dracula, and turned his legacy and lore into Edward Cullen.  They took a dark and gothic serial killer story, and turned it into an American remake with the same name.  They have taken young adult series after young adult series and turned them into shitty blockbusters (The Golden Compass, Eragon, The Last Airbender.  Need I go on?).  You take what is good, and turn it into what sucks.  You people fucking suck!  Are you just not rich enough?!  Obviously not, because you keep putting out shit like this!

I love this book so much.  It is an amazing novel.  I recommend all of you read it.  But please, DO NOT see this movie!  That is an order!  Don’t give these people the satisfaction of knowing that they could rape this novel!  I half-expected to see “in 3D” at the end of the trailer.

Please, stand up for good cinema.  This book could have made a great movie.  But it hasn’t, and that does hurt me a little.

Until next time, a passage from the novel,

Sure, we were unprepared, our tools, our training, everything I just talked about, all one class-A, gold-standard clusterfuck, but the weapon that really failed wasn’t something that rolled off an assembly line. It’s as old as…I don’t know, I guess as old as war. It’s fear, dude, just fear and you don’t have to be Sun freakin Tzu to know that real fighting isn’t about killing or even hurting the other guy, it’s about scaring him enough to call it a day… “Shock and Awe”? Perfect name, “Shock and Awe”! But what if the enemy can’t be shocked and awed? Not just won’t, but biologically can’t! That’s what happened that day outside New York City, that’s the failure that almost lost us the whole damn war. The fact that we couldn’t shock and awe Zack boomeranged right back in our faces and actually allowed Zack to shock and awe us! They’re not afraid! No matter what we do, no matter how many we kill, they will never, ever be afraid!

Peace out,