World War Z

Recommend, or reminisce about, film and television

World War Z

Postby Caleb » 02 Oct 2013, 11:27

I don't want to talk about most of the movie as I thought it was a terrible movie. I actually heard that before I watched it, but my wife put it on the other day. The Israel part was a little surprising though. For those who haven't seen the movie (don't bother), the protagonist goes to Jerusalem (I can't even remember why because I was so disengaged with the film). The Israelis have built an enormous wall around the city that is keeping the zombies out. A whole lot of Palestinians are being brought into the city. There is an Israeli officer who says something about every person inside the wall is one less zombie they have to fight. I started rolling my eyeballs, thinking "here we go, typical MC line..." Then, the Palestinians start singing in celebration. This in turn attracts the zombies, who then scale the walls and the protagonist only just makes it out of Israel safely on an aeroplane. Basically, letting the Palestinians into Jerusalem screws everything up. I ended up doing a bit of a double take as I did not expect that at all.
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Re: World War Z

Postby Connor » 03 Oct 2013, 01:33

Caleb: That is somewhat surprising to see in a mainstream movie. Yet, it does remind me of some of the commentary I've heard about the sci-fi film Elysium, which was released just a few months ago. Although I haven't seen it, I've discovered that critics are curiously divided about the message of the movie: while some view it as propaganda in favor of open borders and multiculturalism, others believe that it advocates the exact opposite position.

Most film critics have sided with the former interpretation (whether approvingly or disapprovingly so) but the latter interpretation is daringly un-PC, and therefore much more interesting.

Steve Sailer falls into the latter category of critics. He wrote a short film review which, as usual, notes several interesting observations that would have completely passed by the average critic.

Here's one hint that Sailer wisely stresses: the director Neill Blomkamp is a white South African expatriate. His family fled their homeland in the wake of the post-Apartheid era. Could there be a hint of autobiography in this sci-fi thriller?
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Re: World War Z

Postby Caleb » 03 Oct 2013, 05:47

Connor: I read the Steve Sailer review when it came out (I read him every day). I think that on the surface, he is right. However, I think that the majority of people will totally miss Blomkamp's subversion and his movie will get co-opted into the mainstream narrative. I think to some extent, you have to already be switched onto concepts such as HBD or the Cathedral to notice when someone is being subversive. For other people to notice such things would mean that it was not subversive, but racist!

That's why the scene in World War Z surprised me. It was so in your face. There was no denying what it was saying.

I recently watched Spring Breakers. If that is actually a subversive comment on the state of modern American culture, I think that point would be completely missed by most people. Most people would think it was either a "cool" or "stupid" party flick, depending upon their pre-existing sensibilities. Those inclined to be political would either see it as racist (if liberal) or part of the corrosive effect of Hollywood (if conservative). Few would actually see it as a subversive comment on the effects of liberalism (if that is what it is intended to be).

That's why shows such as Jerry Springer, Cops or Judge Judy are the most conservative shows on television (I realise they're also just voyeuristic and opportunistic). I'd also throw Big Brother in there. Someone on one of those HBD blogs wrote a while back that if you want to watch a conservative show, you watch Cops because it's an endless reel of the effect of liberalism. However, most middle class, respectable conservative people won't watch Cops because it's considered gauche. Even if we could get it past the liberal media, a no holds barred portrayal of the underclass would get shot down in flames by complaints by conservatives. Imagine a scene where a woman performs a sexual favour on a drug lord and then shoots up heroin, all beside a baby with cockroaches in its nappy, and then she beats it for crying. The switchboard would light up with complaints from conservatives because they'd rather stick their heads in the sand than face up to that reality. Of course, liberals would complain too, but for other reasons.

Yet this is what we need: real, unfiltered truth. We don't need allusions that few are going to actually recognise and so that people can avoid charges of being racist, sexist, elitist, etc.
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Re: World War Z

Postby Connor » 04 Oct 2013, 06:42

Wow... I have never viewed the show Cops in that way before. I suppose you're right, though: it does indeed expose the underclass in its true form. Every once in a while, you will hear some pundit accuse the show Cops of being racist, elitist, and a whole slew of other predictable progressive insults. Yet, what you see on that show is just unadulterated footage from real life. Cops is the original "reality television" show (it began in 1989), and in many ways it remains far more "real" than the majority of shows in that genre. It is depressingly so.

I must confess that I have no interest in watching any of the shows you mentioned in your post. Maybe a better man than I can unflinchingly study them, and reach some policy conclusions.

Back to Elysium though: I agree that most people have missed the actual message of the film, but that's the part that fascinates me. Have we really reached the point where Hollywood-produced films are flashing anti-Cathedral messages before our eyes...and most of us simply don't notice?

In decades past, people used to worry about the insertion of subliminal messages in media. Perhaps these fears were misplaced. Subliminal messages would appear to be irrelevant - ineffective, even - in a world where blatant messages fly over most people's heads. In due time, the message is twisted by critics so that it fits the dominant progressive narrative, and most people don't give it another thought.

What other conservative films have we missed?
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Re: World War Z

Postby Grant » 04 Oct 2013, 09:03

Connor,
Having seen Elysium this week I have to report there is no message in the film. It began with a few interesting ideas but then descended into a violent extravaganza that could have been devised by any testosterone-driven teenage boy It was devoid of any insight or wit and became a tedious experience one had to endure. It could have been, should have been a much better product.
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Re: World War Z

Postby Jonathan » 08 Oct 2013, 19:36

Caleb wrote:Someone on one of those HBD blogs wrote a while back that if you want to watch a conservative show, you watch Cops because it's an endless reel of the effect of liberalism.


I suspect that this is an interpretation which only conservatives would share. Liberals would see an endless reel of the effect of insufficient Socialism.

Regarding World War Z, I have not watched it, but I've read a review or two, which also mentioned the Israel aspect. For that reason alone, I'm going to try to find time to watch it, even though it's hardly my usual fare. I expect I'll find it both riveting and cringeworthy at the same time, like 'You don't mess with the Zohan'.
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Re: World War Z

Postby Caleb » 09 Oct 2013, 00:58

Jonathan: You're right about how liberals would find it. My contention is though that the vast middle would still find the underclass really horrifying if they encountered them. The point is that they don't encounter them though. Obviously, at some level, they understand this, which is why they don't live in bad suburbs or send their kids to such schools. Yet at another level, they don't actually know how bad things are, or they live in a certain denial because they basically want to think the best of people. They're essentially social and optimistic in how they live life. Thus, what they don't encounter can't be that bad. Yet if put up close to it, they'd see it for what it was. Most people are quite non-ideological, but react at a very visceral level to things if just presented with them in a raw form (not filtered through the media). If you put people in a very confrontational situation, they're going to react to it, not get ideological about it. I think this is despite modern leftist indoctrination through the education system, media, etc.

As for World War Z, I really wouldn't bother watching the whole movie. It's stupid. Here is the scene. After that, it's a bunch of zombies going crazy and soldiers trying to get Brad Pitt safely out of Jerusalem.
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Re: World War Z

Postby Connor » 09 Oct 2013, 05:29

A-ha! Just when I thought this thread was over, I stumbled upon something from YouTube that fits here perfectly.

Here is Richard Spencer's review of the film World War Z, in which he expands upon what Caleb basically said in his original post. Have a look:



As someone pointed out in another thread, Richard Spencer seems to possess some rather radical views, although he does come off as an affable, ordinary guy. I was somewhat surprised to hear that he was originally an editor for The American Conservative, because that's a fairly mainstream paleoconservative publication. His current organization called The National Policy Institute appears to be much farther on the fringe (I think it's basically a White Separatist movement).

Anyway, I found the video to be surprisingly thought-provoking. I say "surprisingly" because he's discussing what is, by all accounts, a merely mediocre film (don't worry Caleb, I'm still not going to see it!).

Towards the end, he mentions something that I actually considered writing about in my previous post: popular culture's ongoing obsession with zombies. It's a cultural phenomenon that has baffled me for several years now. Why are so many people so strongly drawn to zombie-themed movies and TV shows nowadays? I've even heard of a number of live events in which people act out a "zombie apocalypse" scenario, similar to how some people reenact famous battle scenes. But why? Weren't zombies already an entirely played-out premise by, say, the year 2009? I certainly thought they were, and yet people still haven't had enough. More zombie-oriented pop culture continues to be churned out each year, and the masses continue to consume it mindlessly like...well, zombies.

Richard Spencer wonders if this trend could be a hidden collective neurosis. The zombies may actually signify the throngs of third-world intruders that have been encroaching on the Western world for the past few decades (as he says, "the rising tide of color"). I usually try not to indugle into this kind of amateur psychoanalysis, but I did find it interesting that Spencer brought up the idea, because I was contemplating the same thing.
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Re: World War Z

Postby Caleb » 10 Oct 2013, 06:24

It is an interesting analysis and quite plausible, though I am not entirely sure. 28 Days Later came out just over a decade ago. Dawn of the Dead (which, if anything, might be talking about consumerism) came out in 2004. The zombie apocalypse seems to be very much a 2000s and 2010s theme in pop-culture. It may presently be related to immigration, but did it begin that way with 28 days later? Was that really on the radar then? It seems like immigration issues have only really picked up in the past five years, approximately. Clouding this though is the general economic malaise that still hangs over much of the West. There is something of a feeling of the decline. It might be either, both, or something else, but there certainly seems to be some kind of feeling hanging over people. Zombies might just fit the bill more than other monsters or villains for reasons he pointed out in his video.

What did we have in previous decades? The 90s had aliens and vampires. The 80s had all sorts of stuff, but what really stand out for me are Mad Max and the Terminator, and a general fear of post-nuclear collapse, plus of course the massive anti-Soviet/communist action genre. There was also a lot of supernatural stuff (Poltergeist, Nightmare on Elm Street). I can't say too much about the 70s because I'm not that familiar with that decade, though I know that there were quite a lot of famous movies from that decade that were later remade or extended into franchises and they don't necessarily have much in common.
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Re: World War Z

Postby Jonathan » 10 Oct 2013, 21:42

Caleb: I quite agree with your first paragraph; but as for the second, I'm probably going to watch the movie anyway.

Connor: I always saw the zombie as the film metaphor for the suicide bomber, in the same way that movies like Independence Day and Cloverfield are metaphors for September 11th.

Caleb: It's interesting to compare the Zombie Horde to villains like the Terminator, the Vampire, or the Renegade. The Terminator is a metaphor for the dangers of runaway technology; it is a man-made Golem gone out of control. The Vampire is a metaphor for a serial rapist - a predator disguised as a normal person. He could be your neighbor or your co-worker. The Renegade (I'm thinking of the villains in Alcatraz, or Die Hard II) represents American distrust of Big Government, plus a measure of good old self-hatred. He is an American who has been corrupted, usually by the government or the power it confers.

But in all three cases society is looking inwards for its villains, not outwards. The Zombie horde is different. It is external, implacable, deadly, and submits only to superior force. It is a metaphor for the strangers who attack us for reasons we cannot comprehend, and who cannot be negotiated with.



"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains"
- Pride and Prejudice (and Zombies)
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Re: World War Z

Postby Caleb » 11 Oct 2013, 03:37

Jonathan wrote:Caleb: It's interesting to compare the Zombie Horde to villains like the Terminator, the Vampire, or the Renegade. The Terminator is a metaphor for the dangers of runaway technology; it is a man-made Golem gone out of control. The Vampire is a metaphor for a serial rapist - a predator disguised as a normal person. He could be your neighbor or your co-worker. The Renegade (I'm thinking of the villains in Alcatraz, or Die Hard II) represents American distrust of Big Government, plus a measure of good old self-hatred. He is an American who has been corrupted, usually by the government or the power it confers.


The vampire is also often (usually?) aristocratic in some way, a point made by Richard Spencer. I think that feeds into something, though your interpretation also makes sense.

The renegade is interesting because in a lot of 80s action movies, the protagonist battles renegades, but he is often a renegade himself. He is both insider and outsider. I think this ties in with the American foundational myth of being a patriot trying to protect the system/culture/nation whilst simultaneously being against big government. This has long and deep roots reaching back not just decades (e.g. cowboys) but centuries. Pretty much every American action hero ever has been like this.

But in all three cases society is looking inwards for its villains, not outwards. The Zombie horde is different. It is external, implacable, deadly, and submits only to superior force. It is a metaphor for the strangers who attack us for reasons we cannot comprehend, and who cannot be negotiated with.


Zombies are definitely outsiders. Part of this phenomenon is political correctness. In the past, you could actually have a foreign enemy in a movie. Russians were an obvious one, as were Germans, and occasionally other random guys such as Arabs. Brits with RP accents scheming to take over America have always been a reliable trope (no doubt dating back to independence and the War of 1812), and they're perhaps one of the last few acceptable ethnic enemies. Frankly, I'm surprised that the two Taken movies got away with what they did, though perhaps Albanians are seen as basically white (despite being Muslim). These days, there's no way you could have a Mexican, Chinese or Arab enemy in a movie. The last one you could perhaps get away with, but you'd need at least one major character who was also an Arab who was a good guy, plus a large number of anonymous extras who were also "good" so that the one bad guy wouldn't represent them.
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Re: World War Z

Postby Elliott » 12 Oct 2013, 23:58

Just to point out that the 1970s "bad guy" in movies tended to be slasher flicks - unstoppable, unthinking berserk brutes like Leatherface in The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Mike Myers in Halloween and indeed the shark in Jaws - or natural disasters like earthquakes and so on.
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