Movie Review: World War Z

29 Jun

World War Z is the most innovative zombie book I have read (it’s not my favourite genre) but I had grave doubts over its adaption to the big screen. Billed as an oral history of the Zombie War, the book is really a collection of interviews with various people over the world as they fought the war. It provides a global perspective that works surprisingly well, all things considered.

The movie is very loosely based on the book. I say loosely because while there are a few ideas that made the transition from book to movie, much of it seems to have been made out of whole cloth. While the book showed a long and brutal fight against the zombie hordes, the movie showed us a solution that, although imperfect, gave the human race a chance to win. There are other issues; in the book, Israel survives, in the movie, Israel is overrun by the zombies. I didn’t expect them to do a perfect adaption – it would have been impossible – but if you’re a fan of the book, there are lots of niggling little details that annoy. Why not try to show the Battle of Yonkers?

Taken on its own merits, the film isn’t that bad. It starts by a sudden outbreak of zombies in a major city, with the hero and his family forced to flee as society begins to break down. (Most of the tropes from disaster movies show up within the first fifteen minutes.) Eventually, they make it to an aircraft carrier … and there the story really starts, as the hero is sent on a world tour to try to track down the source of the outbreak. Eventually, he discovers that the zombies have a very specific weakness …

There are definite moments, I should admit. The zombies are fast-moving monsters, rather than shambling cripples, and there are some genuinely touching moments between the hero and his family. There are moments when they form human (undead?) chains to break into homes (and Israel) and moments when they actively avoid certain humans …

However, when it comes to adapting a well-known book, this movie fails.

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One Response to “Movie Review: World War Z”

  1. patdailey June 29, 2013 at 5:34 am #

    OK you said “very loosely based on the book”. In reality, the only thing that that the movie and the book had in common was the title.

    To their credit, the producers tried to reproduce the narrative format of the book and decided it would not work. They had to remake most of the movie.I’m glad they did.

    I always wondered how they could make a movie about the book.It was too complex and a long narrative about the WW Z on the entire planet.

    This is a first of its kind story. Most zombie books are about small groups surviving the zombie Apocalypse. Basically survivalist stories. I love them, but. WWZ was very different and unique. I have not seen anything similar in the market, and I am a zombie lover.

    The movie is a stand alone wonder of the zombie genre. It is well made and has a very credible story line. I liked it. But, I came into the movie with having read the book. I had to get over the differences very quickly to enjoy it. the book is a great story. Just one not meant for the movies.

    Take the movie as a stand alone, a very good one. If you liked the movie and are not a zombie fan, don’t read the book. If you are a zombie fan go for it. It will enrich the experience.

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