I have a big problem in that I generally read the novel version of movies before I watch the movie. Being a lover of all things zombies, of course I had to read World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks before I watched World War Z, starring Mr. Brad Jolie Pitt. If I could, I would just say that the movie sucked, and then I’d drop the mike and walk off stage. But instead, I’ll stay on this glorious internet podium and elaborate just a little more…
Compared to the book, the movie was disappointing. But, if one hadn’t read the book beforehand, I suppose it would have been okay. For those who didn’t read the book, it consists of various interviews of different people all over the globe, before, during, and after the “zombie apocalypse.”
World War Z also goes through the before, during, and after phases, but instead of the interviews, we get to see Brad Pitt go globe-trotting as he tries to figure out how the zombie infection spreads and how it can be contained. Which brings me to the biggest gripe I have about the flick: How many times can one guy cheat death? (WARNING: SPOILERS BE NEAR!)
First, Gerry (Pitt) and his family survive the initial attack in Philadelphia, then they scramble to New Jersey and escape an attack there, hopping on a UN helicopter and find themselves on a US Naval vessel in the middle of the ocean somewhere. Then he’s whisked off to South Korea with a doctor who needs to find the origin of the zombie virus. They land at a US military base and are almost immediately attacked by zombies, and the good doctor couldn’t keep his booger picker off the bang stick, and he slips, falls, and shoots himself in the process. Oy vey. The soldiers stationed at the base meet with Gerry, as well a prisoner, who tells Gerry to go to Jerusalem. So, quietly (because these zombies are practically deaf, apparently), he heads back to the plane, except his wife calls the satellite phone and the ringing of course causes yet another attack, which of course - Gerry survives.
Fast forward to Jerusalem, where there is a survivor’s refuge built behind a giant-ass wall. All is fine and dandy, until the jerks waiting to enter the refuge start chanting over a loudspeaker. Yep, you guessed it - another attack. Gerry is rushed to the airfield by Israeli military personnel - surviving unscathed - AGAIN. He hops on a passenger jet, and they’re off and away to Wales. Except that a zombie somehow makes its way onto the plane, and chaos ensues. Of course, Gerry has the brilliant idea to set off a grenade inside the plane to stop the attack and crash the plane, killing everyone and everything on board. Except for himself, (DUH) and his Israeli military escort. They make it to a WHO building, which is occupied by a three individuals, and ZOMBIES. (Of course.) Gerry figures he knows the cure, so while there he mosies on through the building, injects himself with all the glorious killer diseases of the past (small pox, bubonic plague, whatever), and waltzes through the zombie herd unscathed, even taking the time to just chill out and drink an ice-cold Pepsi Cola. He makes it to a refuge in Nova Scotia (Go Canada!), shares his knowledge, and a cure/immunization is created. The End.
I’ll also mention that the zombies in the movie are different than the book version. World War Z zombies are terrifying, just like the 28 Days Later zombies, they move fast and you “turn” quickly, and spastically. (It looks like someone having a bad seizure, rather than a slow reanimation after death.) They are more like the creatures you’d see in your typical zombie flick, or The Walking Dead. Maybe that’s why screenwriters decided to rewrite the script jack shit up a bit - they wanted something a little different than what’s stereotyped as a “normal” zombie flick. I’ll admit, zombies with speeds faster than Usain Bolt scare the piss out of me, but the film industry has been there, done that with 28 Days Later.
Max Brooks himself has said that the film has nothing to do with the book, other than the title, and he’s right. It was really disappointing to see how much it had deviated from its namesake, and I’m glad I waited for it to pop up on Netflix rather than watching it in theater or even watching it On Demand. There are even plans for two sequels in the future, so it will be interesting to see how this pans out and what angle the script will take.
Overall, I give World War Z a Bad. Read the book, ignore the movie. That is all.
You can follow Kara Evans on Twitter at @KaraEvs