World War Z ... why writers should go

I'm going to start this with a big disclaimer. I have not read Max Brooks's WORLD WAR Z, which is a favorite book of my writing pal Cat Patrick.

This might be why I liked the movie. I wasn't comparing it to anything I loved. What's more, I walked away from it thinking about how I could use it to improve my own writing: the movie is a case study in making things worse for your character. 

The premise, in case you're unfamiliar with the story: A virus breaks out, and people infected rapidly turn into relentless flesh-eaters bent on biting all the humans they can find. The fate of the world hangs on one UN investigator's ability to find the cause and the cure. Brad Pitt is that UN investigator with the mysteriously troubled past, which is the only reason that concept isn't slightly hilarious.

Still. Making things sufficiently hard on characters can be a real challenge. We like our protagonists. We don't want them to suffer ... not reaThis hair would totally get in his eyes in chase scenes. Also? At one point he stopped to put on this scarf. COME ON. Zombies are attacking and the man in charge of saving us accessorizes like he's from 2005?lly. But this is what makes for good stories, and what made World War Z a decent thriller. Things kept getting worse for poor Brad Pitt, so bad that I soon forgot to be annoyed at his stupid Dutch boy haircut [SPOILER ALERT: it's really stupid hair].

So as summer entertainment goes, the movie makes for a fun diversion. Pitt is a good actor, as is the woman who plays his wife, Mireille Enos, whom you should watch in the AMC TV show "The Killing."

Alas, there are logical issues with the story that would give your inner Vulcan much torment. To reveal them would spoil certain things about the plot. But if you want to complain about them afterward with me, do drop a line, because I am always up for that.

And by all means, if you want an adrenaline drip to go with your bucket of popcorn, by all means check this movie out. It's relentless with the action. But if you'd rather a bit more depth with your zombies, my sources say you should stick with the book. And then for dessert, check out Sean Beaudoin's rude zombie opus, THE INFECTS. You'll never look at a bucket of chicken the same way again.