Z for Zachariah is the story of a young girl who is one of the only survivors after a terrible nuclear war. The girl is on her own, with her only companion in life being her dog. That is until a stranger finds her valley. I’m not entirely sure what age I was when I first read it but I know that it is responsible for my love of the post-apocalyptic genre. Why? Because this girl was me. She was just 16 years old in the book, which I’m sure was several years older than I was when I read it. But it was close enough for me to be able to step into her shoes and imagine I was her.
Fast forward a little less than 20 years later and they’re finally making a Z for Zachariah movie! When it was first announced I cringed. The only actor that had officially been announced at the time was Chris Pine and I just had such a hard time believing him to not only be a scientist but also be the bad guy. Chris Pine has had some fantastic roles but brainy bad guy isn’t one of them that I know of.
Fast forward a little bit more to today! I have now seen the trailer for Z for Zachariah. My concerns over Chris Pine playing a bad guy are completely out the window. He’s not the bad guy, he’s not the scientist that role is played by Chiwetel Ejiofor. So in a story that only features a young girl, a grown man, and a dog…who does Chris Pine play? The third part of a love triangle. The main character, Ann isn’t a young girl, she’s played by 25 year old Margot Robbie. Loomis, the scientist bad guy isn’t the bad guy, he’s Ann’s first love interest. They turned a powerful, compelling young adult science fiction novel into a grown up love triangle that just happens to take place in a world completely devoid of life except for them (and the dog).
Words cannot even begin to describe how badly they have ruined this story. This is…beyond anything I could have imagined levels of terrible. They Hollywood-ified the story. To be perfectly honest I’m not sure why this surprises me. I was cautious about the movie from the first moment I learned about it. But now that I’ve seen it in the flesh…it’s just so disappointing. Why did I have to be right?
All in all I’ve already made up my mind about the movie. Much like how Man of Steel was a fantastic action movie, but that one little detail of it being about Superman ruined the movie for me, Z for Zachariah looks like it could be an interesting movie. But, because it’s supposed to be Z for Zachariah it kills it for me. The idea of an end of the world love triangle? Sounds very compelling especially as the trailer to me suggests a bit of danger and violence is mixed in. It also reminds me a bit of The Stand, though only a bit. If the movie had a different name, and the characters had different names my view on the upcoming movie would be completely different. But as it stands now, I will not be going to see Z for Zachariah in the theater, nor will I pay to see it. Much like my views on the most recent Les Miserables movie which I’ve still not seen and may never.
Hollywood, if you want to do something post-apocalyptic either 1. come up with your own stories or 2. redo The Stand as a feature film…but…a long one. A trilogy even! Hollywood adores trilogies for some reason. Though if you messed that one up, oh there would be hell to pay.
If you haven’t already read Z for Zachariah I highly encourage you to do so no matter your age.