Posted in Monday Mayhem

A World War Z Sequel

The 2013 zombie film World War Z raked in truckloads of cash at the box office. I don’t know about anyone else, but I’m ready for a sequel. For my Monday Mayhem series, let’s talk about this for a few minutes and see if we can make any sense of wanting to have a sequel hit another blockbuster season.

World War Z Wallpaper
World War Z Wallpaper

Call this a wish list. I suppose this is my wish list of what I would like to see in the next World War Z installment. However, I’ll have to stop short of presenting other wish lists for sequels to the films Dawn of the Dead and Night of the Living Dead. I’ll leave these for another time. Right now, I want to jump in to the heart of the zombie saga based on the bestselling novel by Max Brooks.

When I speak with my friends about World War Z, they say the film is a great action movie. I agree. The film certainly knows how to pack a knockout with its vast array of visual and sound effects. I can’t get over how incredible it looks and sounds whenever I sit down to watch the thing. I don’t think this undead flick can ever bore me.

Yet, what can the sequel deliver that the first movie didn’t? The first movie contains the change a human goes through when the virus enters the bloodstream. It also features a number of battles between humans and zombies, not readily seen in other movies. The sheer magnitude of the choreographed sequences leaves me to want more. And the best part about the movie is the little moments when the audience falls for the subtle trap that nothing will happen to our hero if there is dead silence on the screen. That fallacy quickly disappears soon after watching the movie for the first time. The scares come fast, and they come frequently.

So what would the sequel need to do to keep the audience interest from waning? It would need something never tried before.

World War Z
World War Z

I would love to see a subplot where a naval ship by the coast suddenly turns into an undead barge where people would have to defend themselves against a breakout of the virus. Since the boat would be a closed environment, confined to the water or the high seas, the people trapped wouldn’t have much choice other than to fight or run. Given there wouldn’t be that many places to run, the entire subplot would yield a pivotal dramatic beat akin to the plane scene in the first movie.

The other thing I would enjoy watching in a World War Z sequel would be a battle between the zombies and the humans in a wooded area, much like the film Gladiator. With the humans having only a short supply of ammo to contend with, every shot would count. Why not have a scene where humans could defend themselves with farming equipment fashioned as swords. Have you seen a scythe? Imagine the damage a tool like that could do on the undead population. Worrying about ammo would be so outdated. A whole range of weapons exists in a barn. Have you seen the ending to the film Twister?

Lastly, no sequel would be complete without new characters. This is where Brad Pitt himself could fall by a new strain of the zombie virus, but he’d have enough sense to quarantine himself before the full effect of the infection kicked in.

Actually, after thinking about it, maybe that’s not such a good idea after all. The film wouldn’t have anywhere to go after that little debacle, unless it happened in the end and proves to be a cliffhanger for a subsequent film.

Maybe?

BUY IT NOW!

What do you think a World War Z sequel should look like? Should Brad Pitt once again lead the cast?

Posted in Freedom Friday

Going to the Movies

Today is the day. Today is World War Z day. If you don’t know by now, this weekend will either make or break the zombie genre with the film’s take at the box office. I haven’t been this excited for a film premier since the first Transformers came out. When I think about it, I’ve had some interesting movie going experiences in my life. I might as well share them with you for my Freedom Friday series.

Jurassic Park
Jurassic Park

Jurassic Park—I wrote about Dr. Ellie Sattler for my Women Who Wow Wednesday this week, and I think it fitting if you knew what it took to see this movie in the theater. Mind you, 1993 was not that long ago, and we were pretty modern back then. We had the big 70mm screens with THX certified sound systems. Toronto, especially, had a handful of awesome theaters this size to fit capacity crowds. It was at this time my wife and I wanted to see it. Well, I wanted to see it bad and she tagged along, although ultimately she enjoyed it too.

Opening weekend, we decided on the theater we wanted to go, you know, big screen, big sound, and it sold out. Also, during those days, there was no such thing as advanced ticket buying, at least not for that theater. Second week, sold out again. Unbelievable. Everyone was talking about this movie and I couldn’t even get in to see it. Third week, you got it, sold out. And when I say sold out, I mean all shows for that day, gone. Forth week, I decided to be aggressive and went in on my lunch hour to see if I could get tickets for a late evening show. The woman said she couldn’t do it. No advance sales. I pleaded with her almost to the point of getting on my knees. Nope, couldn’t do it. I was about to leave sporting downtrodden shoulders. Well, I guess I was tenacious enough. She gave in. Two tickets for the five o’clock showing. I took them without so much as a quibble. A question gnawed at my brain. I asked her what the big deal was with the movie. She simply said, “Once you see it, you’ll have your answer.”

The Dark Knight's Joker
The Dark Knight’s Joker

The Dark Knight—When Heath Ledger passed away five years ago last January, an aura of solemnity and secrecy surrounded the final preparations of this film’s release. In the months following, seeing the first images of The Joker on the posters and trailers made the film’s anticipated premier eerie. I know I had all I could do but wonder what happened. My wife had made it clear, she did not want any part of it. I understood. It was somewhat creepy seeing Ledger on the big screen knowing he wasn’t with us anymore.

Opening weekend, I hopped into my car, headed to the theater, parked and headed inside. Our town’s theater is one of those big twelve-theater complexes with the latest and greatest technology. We currently have this UltraAVX addition with reserved seating, giant wall-to-wall screen, immersive sound, digital projection, rocker chairs, you know, the works. Five years ago, although we had the big screen, it was hard getting in to see these juggernaut movies. So, unless I got there real early, and bought a ticket in advance, I would have to rely on God’s good graces to finding a seat in the theater. It didn’t help that I arrived late. Anyway, I end up at the ticket booth, and I asked for a seat for the seven o’clock showing of The Dark Knight. I remember this because I still have the stub. The woman looked at me, looked at her computer screen and said, “Honey, there are only two seats available. You’ll be lucky if you find one right at the very front.” I told her I’d take my chances.

By this time, I’m having all this stuff go through my head of being stuck in the front, which will later result in a neck injury ‘cause I wanted to see a popular movie I didn’t adequately plan for. Whatever happens, I thought, I’ll take it like a man. I walk in. Packed. Oh, gosh, now what? The ticket agent said there were two seats available. I begin my search in the front rows, to the evil stares of those who got there early. I know, I know. I should I have gotten here earlier. Relax already. I’ll be out of your way in a minute. I then scan the entire theater from the side. I can’t believe I can’t find the seats. I felt like an idiot. The trailers were about to start and I can hear the thoughts of the audience saying, goof, standing in the aisle, you’re outta luck.

The first trailer started and there, right in the center of the audience, right in the middle of the theater, the seat appeared. Is that free? Really? I walk to the aisle where the seat rested and motioned to those next to it if it was really free. I don’t quite remember how I did it. All I remember is a lady nodding at me. I made my way through the crowded aisle and took my seat. If the woman next to me didn’t know better, my grin from one ear to ear almost freakishly made me look like The Joker. And there I sat, the best seat in the house, smack-dab in the heart of the theater watching The Joker get into the van, and that eerie single note hanging there, introducing the film.

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen
Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen

Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen—Still with me? I’ll make this story short. I had wanted to see this movie for a while in the theater, but didn’t feel like paying full price for it. Yeah, I caught some of the reviews indicating it lacked a little something the original had. So the most I’d pay is for a matinee performance, which I did catch. The funny part about this story is what happened during the movie while it played. As a preamble to this recounting, the skies were dark and it was just right for a good ol’ fashioned thunderstorm.

Well, here I sat in the theater enjoying the movie when all of a sudden, in between the explosions on the screen, a massive rumbling rattled all of us from our seats. That did not come from the screen. Then another rumbling accompanied by a crack from up high startled us. We were only a few, but during some of the screen’s massive explosions, a low murmur went through the audience. Right then, the film stopped and the auxiliary emergency lights turned on. Another earthquake-like tremor echoed just above my ears. We all looked at each other. The rain started. It pounded hard on the roof. We heard the whole thing as if it were THX audio. The whole thing lasted fifteen minutes, but it was entertaining talking with the folks in the theater while all this chaos happened outside. It felt like a camaraderie had come of the event.

Once the storm settled, the emergency lights turned off, and the movie whirred back into existence.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Have you had any weird things happen to you when you were in the theater?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

World War Z

Friday is the day. Friday, World War Z hits theaters. Friday is the reckoning. If the film does well, we will see such a deluge of zombie stories flood the market, the likes of which we’ve never seen. If it crashes and burns, which I hope it doesn’t, zombie storytellers should run for cover, for the end is nigh. Monday Mayhem—World War Z—the music.

Zombie Stampede
Zombie Stampede

Anyone familiar with score music will know Marco Beltrami rocks the scene with incredibly powerful renditions of tension inducing bravado. All that means is he’s the go-to guy for heavy, heart-thumping themes. The other side of the composer, he produces some of the most poignant, emotion-filled melodies for the big screen. His quiet, eerie sounds he chooses to incorporate in the compositions drives his films to new levels of suspense and terror.

Tomorrow, the score releases in stores and retail outlets everywhere. What do I expect? I’m hoping a Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines whoopin’. I’m hoping when I put on my Sennheiser headphones, the walls outside will shake. Imagine a constant pounding with ear-splitting crescendos and breathtaking silences. We’re talking about Second Coming music without relent. Yet, I’m also hoping, in Beltrami’s inimitable style, beautiful, sweeping phrases, majestic and victorious in breath, to herald the dawn of the zombie apocalypse.

I’m getting shivers run up my spine thinking about it.

Zombie Climb
Zombie Climb

Beltrami’s also responsible for the rhythmic I, Robot score. The constant tapping heard is a trademark Beltrami sound sucking the listener into the vortex of his design. Shrilling flutes and reverberating brass counterpoints, clanging anvils, he has it all.

But the score I believe most likely will have the greatest influence on World War Z is Underworld: Evolution. Imagine armies of zombies marching on a city while heavy timpani pummels in the background, a grand piano repeats the same phrase in its lower register, and syncopated strings push against the blaring of a lone trumpet. More? Add emergency sirens and real skulls he brought into the recording studio. That’s cool. That’s Beltrami. That’s probably why he’s the composer commissioned for the film.

Zombie Panorama
Zombie Panorama

World War Z is a landmark event. No other time in film history will a blockbuster of such sheer scope and magnitude affect an entire genre upon release. This is Hollywood’s attempt at making zombies in vogue, injecting them into the mainstream for all to see.

Let’s hope the public’s ready. The Walking Dead ushered in a new generation of zombie fan, where it was cool again to like dead things crawling in the night. The media’s also having its heyday with TV series and movies parading zombies in the open. Entertainment such as In the Flesh and Warm Bodies has made stars of dead people.

If this film works, history will remember Brad Pitt as a visionary, willing to take risks, never afraid of the outcome of such gambles. Max Brooks’ novels will fly off the shelf, and no one will ever look back.

Bring it on, Beltrami. Let’s see what you got.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Are you going to see World War Z? Is music to a movie as important as the story?

Posted in Monday Mayhem

Zombie Sightings

Life guarantees two things: death and taxes. Neither of which present a viable option of escape. I’d like to add a third to the mix: zombies. Everywhere we turn nowadays, zombies have the rule of the roost. They’re in movies, books, magazines, radio, TV, everyday chit-chat. Hard to avoid, really. If I didn’t know better, I’d say a conspiracy’s afoot.

World War Z
World War Z

Let’s have a look at where we can find zombies in the upcoming months. Oh, and I don’t have to mention this is my Monday Mayhem post, do I? Didn’t think so.

World War Z—If industry experts are right, this movie will either be extremely successful or fail miserably. I’m hoping the former rather than the latter. Based on the book by Max Brooks and staring Brad Pitt, this film’s about a full-blown zombie apocalypse. I don’t want to describe any more of it so as not to give anything away, but the promotional material sure makes this film look exciting.

The Walking DeadCurrently filming Season 4 for an October 2013 premier, the show is about a group of apocalypse survivors who search for a safe haven from evil. The evil being zombies. Although no one ever utters the word zombie, labels such as Roamers, Walkers, Lamebrains, and Geeks make for good replacements. More than your typical zombie show, The Walking Dead is more about friendship and survival. Every episode tries each friendship further and further in a refining fire. The audience watches this in awe, wondering how much can the characters take. Through the yelling, screaming, betrayals and hatred, the survivors carry on, stronger, more determined to accomplish their goal of finding safety away from the Walkers.

The Zombie Run—Actors dressed as zombies chase participants in a 5K (3.1 mile) run or sorts. The entire course features thematic elements of a zombie apocalypse (helicopters, flipped cars, fog machines, etc.). Boyhood buddies and race organizers Andrew Hudis and David Feinman came up with the idea when Hudis told Feinman he runs fastest when being chased. From there the idea took off (pun intended). Proceeds go to Active Heroes, a charity that aids veterans, active duty military, and families. A portion also goes to local charities of the host city.

Humans vs. Zombies—The rage sweeping college campuses everywhere. Students describe it as the most elaborate game of tag anyone’s ever played. Awesome, as some have said. How does it work? Two Original Zombies go up against about 150 humans. Armed with marshmallows, balled-up socks, and Nerf guns, the humans try to take out the zombies. Upon first inspection, a great disparity exists in numbers. However, that soon changes when one learns the zombies have a big advantage. After sitting out for fifteen minutes, the zombies can attack again. As this happens, the proportionate ratio of zombies to humans grows. The game seems like something I would have played in college.

Humans vs. Zombies (Photo credit: http://brittonpeele.com)
Humans vs. Zombies (Photo credit: http://brittonpeele.com)

Ads—And you’ll probably encounter a few advertisements on TV with zombies in them. I’m not going to list the ones I have found. Sufficient is the fact you can go on YouTube and search for them with the keywords: Zombie Ads. Prepare to laugh and be informed.

Comics and Magazines—Zombie magazines are not new. I found an issue of Modern Zombie Magazine that goes back to May 1943. But here are just a few more titles to brighten up your day: Zombiepolitan, Zombie Weekly, Zombie Magazine, Meat: Zombies Are People Too, SFX Zombies, Zombies: An Illustrated History of the Undead, Zombie Pulp, Tales of the Zombie, Two-Fisted Zombies, and many, many more!

Anyway, I only provided a small list of where you can find zombies in the next little while. I’m sure you can find them in many more places on your own.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Are you looking forward to any upcoming zombie-themed events you’d like to share?