Several months ago I posted this blog which extolled my dread for the (then upcoming) World War Z movie. Today I finally watched the movie, and so I would like to follow up with my initial pre-disappointment in the adaptation.
My initial impression on the function of the zombies was a little overboard. They were fast, which I thought was dumb and not canon with the book, but we’ve seen fast zombies in movies before (I’m thinking 28 Days Later and the Dawn of the Dead remake here) so it wasn’t really too much of a leap. My impression that the zombies may have some kind of cognitive brain function was incorrect, which I was glad of. The zombie lore that the movie seemed to follow, though, seemed plucked out of thin air basically, not drawn from the source material they had sitting smack in front of them.
Which leads me to the plot. Let’s get this straight, this was not a movie adaptation of the very fantastic book World War Z. This was a movie about zombies that happened to be called World War Z. There was no social commentary. No somewhat barbaric seeming Redeker Plan. No lobos. No China. No social reform. The only part of the plot that seemed to be lifted from the book was Israel’s closing off of the country, and they even wrecked that too. The important thing in the book was that Israel gave up Jerusalem in order to close their borders, essentially ending the seemingly endless conflict and becoming one of the top powers in the New World. This was completely abandoned in the movie, instead turning Israel into the fools who thought their walls were strong enough.
I was impressed that it didn’t seem to lean as much on the “The World Is In Immediate Danger and Only The Heroes Of the Goddmaned Best Country Ever The USA Can Save It” trope as I had initially expected. It was instead, “The World Is In Immediate Danger and Only The Heroes Of the Goddmaned Best Union of Countries Ever the UN Can Save It”. No mention of any country that wasn’t in the UN. No success of Cuba. No mention of China at all. Slight mention of North Korea but not at all in the way the book stated.
And finally the ending, which was lifted from (spoiler) The War of the Worlds? Or something? It certainly wasn’t taken from the source material. It was again, plucked from thin air, instead of the completely coherent and reasonable end to the War in the book.
In summation: World War Z was a fairly enjoyable romp of a zombie film that did not at all carry the message or meaning that World War Z the book did. I was right and I wish I wasn’t.