World War Z (the film)

I reviewed the Max Brooks bestselling zombie horror in September last year, and made the following remark about the film:

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (Max Brooks) was the zombie book I couldn’t be bothered reading, mostly because the trailer for the film left me a bit underwhelmed. (I have still not seen the film, having had it described to me as ‘Globetrotting Brad Pitt’, so any advice as to whether it is worth my time would be greatly appreciated.)

Having (finally) seen the film, I am disappointed to say that I stand by my earlier ‘meh’ stance, although I think ‘globetrotting Brad Pitt’ is perhaps a bit too harsh. I knew the film would not be faithful to the novel, but this is not even remotely the same story. The theme is not the same, the characters are not the same, and even the zombies are a different type of monster (think 28 days later zombies rather than shambling hordes). The elements I thought were excellent in the book (the social commentary and all-so-human failings including ineptitude, greed and selfishness) were ignored in the film (action, action and more action, plus Brad Pitt being a bit too stoic in the face of flesh-eating monsters). It is a pity, because a more faithful adaptation could have been fantastic. A social satire, District 9 kind of film. As it is, World War Z is a perfectly adequate zombie film feeling like a thoroughly wasted opportunity.

wwz_brad_pitt(Brad Pitt looking mournfully at the world burning)

World War Z is a good reminder not to underestimate your audience. The book does not, and is all the stronger for it. The film does, and I fully expect it to age as quickly as its special effects.

4 thoughts on “World War Z (the film)

  1. Totally agree with you. I’m not even sure why they used the same title, because there was so little similarity between the book and movie. It could have been a really interesting, entertaining movie if they’d used more of the source material. What a shame. 🙁

    1. Too true. The book is great, the film is… enjoyable, I suppose, but also quite forgettable. If they had only done what ‘The Girl with all the Gifts’ did, i.e. let Brooks write the screenplay, I’m sure it would have been a completely different story. It honestly feels like WWZ was the last leg of the recent zombie craze, which would be a shame because I do like zombies as both monster and metaphor.

      1. Me, too. There were some okay to good zombie movies made in this iteration, but nothing that grabbed my attention and stayed with me like “28 Days Later.” Here’s hoping that Universal’s reboot of its monster franchise produces a memorable zombie movie or two!

        1. Agreed – fingers crossed for the Dark Universe. Don’t know if they have any zombies lined up yet, but since they’re shaking up the classics, we may just be lucky.

Leave a Reply to mhjohnsen Cancel reply