Tag Archives: max brooks

SDCC 2014!

I had a great time at San Diego Comic Con.  Here are some photos from our “Zombie Myths and Misconceptions” panel, and assorted knavery.

Our panel!
Our panel!
Me making an enthusiastic point.
Me making an enthusiastic point.
Max showing great restraint as I declaim my love for Return of the Living Dead
Max showing great restraint as I declaim my love for Return of the Living Dead
We totes got mobbed afterwards
We totes got mobbed afterwards
Me with zombie academic Brendan Riley (l) and The Zombie Autopsies author Steven Schlozman (r)
Me with zombie academic Brendan Riley (l) and The Zombie Autopsies author Steven Schlozman (r)
With Daily Dead head honcho Jonathan James
With Daily Dead head honcho Jonathan James
Earlier in the day with Breathers author S.G. Browne (l) and video game designer Patrick Curry (r).
Earlier in the day with Breathers author S.G. Browne (l) and video game designer Patrick Curry (r).

 

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Zombie Myths & Misconceptions at San Diego Comic Con

ccsd

I’ll be appearing on the panel: “Zombie Myths & Misconceptions” on Friday, July 25th at 8:30pm at San Diego Comic Con.  Our group will include such zombie luminaries as Matt Mogk, Max Brooks, Steve Schlozman, and Aaron Sagers!  Stop on by!

Zombies at Comic Con 2013

I was honored to participate on the “Zombies in Popular Culture” panel at Comic Con San Diego on Thursday.  In addition to me, the panelists included Max Brooks, Matt Mogk, Steve Schlozman, Brad Voytek, Aaron Sagers, and Jonathan James.

Here are some photos.  (Click to embiggen.)

Our panel! (L-R = Aaron, Steve, Me, Max, Jonathan, Brad, Matt)
Our panel! (L-R = Aaron, Steve, Me, Max, Jonathan, Brad, Matt)
Steve and Aaron enjoy a spirited discussion while I take a picture...
Steve and Aaron enjoy a spirited discussion while I take a picture…
This zombie-proof car was on display on the main floor.
This zombie-proof car was on display on the main floor.
Zombie books seemed to be everywhere.
Zombie books seemed to be everywhere.
Zombies were in Petco Park too, apparently...
Zombies were in Petco Park too, apparently…

 

Movie Review: World War Z

WorldWarZ

Brad Pitt’s World War Z is an adaptation of the Max Brooks novel of the same name in the sense that a Japanese speed metal band’s cover of the first 20 seconds of “Should I Stay Or Should I Go?” is an “adaptation” of Combat Rock. 

Also, I liked it.

In no specific order, here are my thoughts and reactions:

  • The zombies were fast.  They were also a force of nature.  Literal waves of zombies crashed against the screen.  I had never seen this before.  The CGI wasn’t a choice.  It was necessary.  I generally don’t like fast zombies, but I respected this artistic choice.
  • The zombies were powerful.  (In an editorial in a British newspaper a few years ago, Simon Pegg quipped “Being dead shouldn’t be a superpower.”  The makers of this film respectfully beg to differ.)  Not only do these zombies run at top speed, they propel themselves across citiscapes like Batman navigating Arkham City in a video game.  Be ready to accept this.
  • The zombies were not individually memorable.  There will be no Tarman or Bub to recall.  These zombies are, rather, a force of nature.  I believe this is intended.  This may be more a disaster film than a horror film.  In fact, pains are taken NOT to show gore in many instances.  (I felt this did not only have to do with avoiding an R rating…)
  • This is the first zombie film I’ve ever seen that dealt so deeply with the relationship between a protagonist and his/her family in an outbreak.  New ground in the genre is broken with WWZ, certainly.  And nowhere is that more clear than in the relationship of the protagonist to his wife and children throughout the work.
  • Bob McKee was not consulted until the very end.  (If he was consulted at all.)  That’s to say, for the first half of the film I did not understand what the characters wanted.  Characters want things.  That is essential to good drama.  As McKee points out, 99.9% of all stories are the stories of people trying to get something they want.  Sometimes they fail and sometimes they succeed, but they always want things.  Sure, Pitt’s character and his family want not to die for the first half of the film…but that is true of virtually all characters in all works of fiction everywhere.
  • McKee comes through in the climax.  Pitt’s character clearly wants something by the end of the film.  He also understands how to get what he wants, and that it will involve a risk on his part.  He will risk his life.  (Well done, screenwriting team!!!)
  • While I liked it very much, I did not think the film was perfect.  My main criticism is that Pitt’s character is often nonsensically uncooperative, and this is never explained.  General guys are like: “C’mon, help us save the world!”  And Pitt is like: “No, sorry.  I don’t do that anymore.”  Why doesn’t he do it anymore?  Why doesn’t a zombie outbreak convince him to make an exception to this policy (at least initially)?  Such things are never explained.  Sure, there’s a tradition of the reluctant hero, but you have to give the hero a REASON to be reluctant.

In conclusion, if you like dark zombie fiction you owe it to yourself to see this film.  It avoids the pitfalls that plague so many works of zombie art.  It never overexplains or underexplains.  Brad Pitt does a very good job with the lines he is given.  (And ALMOST makes the 1990’s grunge band haircut work.)  The supporting performances are likewise solid.  The film does not insult you with a saccharine ending.  It does much very, very right.

And it is, of course, only the first attempt at a cinematic interpretation of Max Brooks.  I daresay that if we are lucky, and if the good box office numbers hold, there may yet be others to which we can look forward…

Comic Con Photos

Here are some photos from last week’s “History of the Modern Zombie” panel at Comic Con San Diego.  Thanks to everybody who came out to see us!

The panel! Left to right are Matt Mogk, Bradley Voytek, Daniel Drezner, me, Steven Schlozman, Max Brooks, and Aaron Sagers.
Steven and Aaron getting ready to go onstage.
Getting to my seat…

Me, Aaron, and Bradley after the panel.