I took myself to see World War Z on Monday. Do you ever do that? Just take yourself to see a movie? It’s great! You should definitely try it. And you might as well try it with World War Z because it’s much better than I expected! It is, as I told my friend Max yesterday, a “fun see.” (We then talked about having a movie review show called Fun See Or No See. So if you are a TV network, hit us up on FaceTime.) I’m not saying that World War Z is perfect, because no one is saying that, because it’s not perfect. For example: after spending 100 billion dollars on it, and hiring 17 different screenwriters, and shooting multiple endings, the fact remains that one of the main characters is named Terry and one of the main characters is named Gerry. Ha ha. Ha ha, World War Z. Whoops! Also I think it is crazy that the movie is two hours long and not a single character says “World War Zeez nuts.” Big mistake. If they had, then the movie would be perfect. But like I said, it’s a fun see! The big action sequences are very big and crazy and dramatic and exciting and scary, and even the notorious ending that they rewrote and reshot at the 111111th hour, which would suggest a disaster of a movie, because usually the ending is the thing you’re building up to the whole time, even that was totally passable. Just a fun see all around.

Except for this one part. There is this one part in the movie that I have been thinking about since I saw it. It’s the part where World War Z is anti-semitic.

So, OK, in World War Z, Brad Pitt is making pancakes and no one even puts their dishes in the sink because it is a simpler time, before the zombie outbreak. (After the zombie outbreak, people will be even less concerned about dishes, though. So whatever.) There are reports on the news that there is a zombie outbreak, but no one is too worried about it, until 10 minutes later when the zombie outbreak hits downtown Philadelphia. (It is never clear why zombies are already on the news but there’s also no real concern about the zombies. Like, you’re watching the news. Get worried. Also later in the movie, when Brad Pitt discovers a way to fight the zombies, they show another news report that is explaining to people how to protect themselves, and it includes a lot of b-roll footage of medicine in a medicine factory, which is VERY funny to me. Like, billions of people die but it is still important to collect b-roll footage and edit it into our emergency news broadcasts to keep things visually stimulating.) ANYWAY, it turns out that Brad Pitt used to be an investigator for the UN Security Council, whatever that means, and now they want him to investigate the zombie virus. This adventure eventually takes him to South Korea, Israel, and Wales. It’s the Israel part that I want to talk about.

The actual Israel part is fine. It’s the part where all the zombies make a big zombie pile to scale that wall. You’ve seen that part. It’s a good part! Very scary part! There’s a real Argo moment, too, when Brad Pitt finally gets onto the commercial airline and the zombies are chasing him down the runway and it’s like, will they get out of Israel in time or will the zombies capture and interrogate them?! But OK: before that part. Before that part Brad Pitt is in South Korea, right? And he’s gathering intel at this army base. The soldiers are pretty helpful, but then this raving lunatic in a jail cell starts muttering something. The soldiers tell Brad Pitt to ignore this idiot, even though a) the idiot will prove to have incredibly valuable information that will lead Brad Pitt to the next exciting chapter of his adventure, and b) this makes the character very problematic because either he is a stupid raving lunatic OR he has some much-needed information, but they never explain where he got his information when he has ostensibly been in jail the whole time, and also why he is in jail in South Korea anyways. I hate this character. He is too confusing. Also: he is anti-semitic.

You see, this guy, the jail guy, starts going on and on about how Jerusalem is the only city to survive the Apocalypse because someone warned Israel and they built a wall around the city before the attack even started. Uhhhhhhhhhh. Guys? Guys? This movie is make believe, right? Which means that we can do anything that we want. So do we really need to casually invoke this?

Resolved question. LOL.

I’m just saying: be careful? Once Brad Pitt goes to Israel, he meets someone who kind of explains why the Jews are so cautious, or whatever, and there is a beautiful Israeli soldier who becomes one of the heroes of the movie. And yet. AND YET!

Incidentally, my friend Andrew read the book last weekend so that he wouldn’t have to see the movie? Which I told him makes no sense because it’s a much bigger time investment. And he didn’t like the book, and he never cared about the movie anyways. Sometimes I don’t totally understand how my friend Andrew’s brain works BUT SO Andrew read the book and he said that in the book, the way they beat the zombies is that Brad Pitt goes to South Africa and meets an apartheid-era general who had mapped out a plan for exterminating all of the black people if they ever tried to rise up, and Brad Pitt uses this plan to defeat the zombies!!!!!!!!!! GAHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!!!!!!! I have not read the book, so maybe I am getting things mixed up, and boy I sure hope so. Please tell me I’m all mixed up about that because HOLY MOLY.

Anyway: World War Z is pretty fun except for the part where it claims that the Jews were told to stay home on Zombie/11. #FunSee

Comments (34)
  1. World War Z is clearly the Columbus, or even Magellan, of its time.

  2. Original version of World War Z: Paula Deen as the apartheid general, zombies are defeated by hosting global plantation-themed events, zombies too offended to carry on.

  3. I really liked the book. I thought it did a really good job of exploring how, in such a crisis, people will be assholes, and being kind might not = being smart. Like, it took its premise seriously and explored how there are no good solutions, but you still have to do something, so hope it’s the least shitty solution. There totally are problems, to be sure. But if I only liked things that have NO problems, I would only ever read ikea instructions.

    I have not seen the movie though, and cannot speak for that.

  4. I haven’t seen the movie yet but if that’s true it would be truly puzzling considering that World War Z was written by Max Brooks, son of Mel Brooks.

  5. I get the discomfort, but does this plot element actually invoke that 9/11 myth? It’s not saying the Israeli government knew what was happening and didn’t tell the rest of the world, just that that one guy had the responsibility to act on a rumor even though it sounded ludicrous. How he put the plan in motion to build a gigantic wall I’m not sure—maybe I didn’t understand the movie. Also, it’s not like they just walled off the place—they were letting the uninfected inside.

    • Yeah, that’s how I took it. I remember one part in the book, when shit is going down, a Palestinian thinks he’s about to be shot by some Israeli troops, but it turns out they’re shooting at other Israelis and it’s really confusing until he realizes that the other Israelis are zombies and that the Israeli soldiers are saving his life. Anyway, the book is really good!

    • I didn’t see the movie, but I think they’re playing on the fact that there is a real wall in Israel that is considered a violation of international law. I guess it’s like a “how do you like them apples, Hague” moment.

    • I remember from the book that Israel builds a wall around itself once they know about the zombies in other places, so I can definitely see one possible being that one of the 17(!) screen writers is an antisemitic 9/11 truther OR is just hipster ironic about the antisemitic branch of the 9/11 truthers and was like, “Yeah, I’m gonna turn this shit into a metaphor! This crazy guy knows all cliche is going to a whole new level!” because you do not have that many people writing a movie if every single one of them is great and smart and not a jerk.

      But it could also be a total mish mash of edits accidentally turning into that as a coincidence, because see 17 writers.

  6. My take on the antisemitic CIA prisoner guy who has ripped out all his teeth was that this was an instance of Pitt sorting out crazy from crazy-but-worth-noticing. The soldiers say the guy is crazy (b/c, it’s implied, he’s a raving antisemite who has ripped out all his teeth and admires DPRK for doing the same) and not to talk to him, but Gerry/Pitt is all “sometimes crazy people do pay close attention to things.” So Gerry/Pitt doesn’t believe the 9/11 story, or the DPRK story but thinks “Well, it is true that Israel has some counter-terrorism experience that might be valuable here…” and follows up.

  7. “Short answer: no, with an if. Long answer: yes, with a but.”

  8. As far as the end goes, I liked the laboratory sequence, but after that the movie just kind of ends without much fanfare and with some pretty lame voiceover resolution. It’s also a bit weird to have the slowest thriller sequence as the climax of the film.

  9. The book is a terrible mishmash of Max Brook’s bizarre political and pop culture fetishes(blind monks are awesome! Adam Sandler movies! Transformers!). In addition to that apartheid part, which does happen, there is definitely a part where he waxes on and on about how important it is to have an island for all the smart people to go and be safe while all the BIG STUPID JOCKS die horribly outside because they were NOT IMPORTANT ENOUGH to save.

    Also he is bizarrely pro-Cuba. And there’s a part where zombies beat tanks because generals are stubborn. Generals might be stubborn, but there’s no fucking way a zombie is setting a tank on fire!

    The book is terrible, basically. It might not be terrible by the standards of zombie books or fan fiction, but by the standards of books with professionally made binding, ugh.

  10. I was a little unnerved by the zombie wearing the yarmulke who only said, “Oy my sciatica!”

  11. I’m glad Gabe called this bc it was creeping out that the reviews hadn’t. Oh, well, except this piece of verbal garbage in London’s ‘Evening Standard’:

    “There’s one interesting idea – involving Jewish Israelis, conspiracy theories and isolationism – that creates a pleasing ambiguity (it’s possible to read the film as both pro- and anti- Zionist).”

    Mmm, very pleasing!

    Moving on, the film was a bit confusing but it seemed almost like Brad DID NOT KNOW that Israel was safe until the crazy man with no teeth on a South Korean army base told him. Would this not be common knowledge?

  12. “What? You’re such a big zombie now that you couldn’t call your mother? What am I, chopped brains?”

  13. I thought it was because of the “rule of the tenth man” that they built the wall. How do you guys come up with this stuff?

  14. I don’t remember the book too well because world war y would I but it was fine if you want to read a zombie book but really as a movie it could only be done as a faux documentary with either no stars or everybody is a star doing cameos like those movies about where everyone is a non famous people played by a famous people.Anyway from what I remember they beat the zombies when some guy who goes mad afterwards because his plan works figures out zombies eat people so they can use people as bait.

  15. if anyone would know how to defend themselves against angry uprisings it would be israel as they have been crushing palestinian resistance for decades. but yeah, the jail cell guy was very dodgy, but then so was the israeli guy brad pitt met upon arrival who gave the audience a completely one sided brief history of israel. and why were there no palestinian flags anywhere? it’s set in jerusalem’s old city, there are thousands of palestinians there. annoyed me that the film managed to be anti-both sides, but sadly much more overtly anti-palestinian. (surprise surprise)

  16. basically the movie was one big hot mess. a fun-at-times and scary-at-times hot mess but still a fucking hot mess.

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