As I stated in my review of the book World War Z I was very curious how they were going to make the movie. How do you translate an oral history of an imaginative war into a film? In my head I had the idea of a sort of documentary that followed the man who did the interviews. These pieces would be intercut with flashbacks of what the people are talking about, memories of the incidents.
Though it only took half a minute of the previews for me to realize that the documentary idea was not where they were going to go with this movie. I could tell right away that they were going to go into the action adventure genre. I was disappointed at first. The book and the movie have very little in common. The only real similarities are that the movie and the book are about handling a zombie apocalypse The UN employee in the book is trying to determine exactly what happened to cause this disaster and how it was and is still being dealt with. Where as in the movie he is in a race against time to find a cure to end the spread of the disease.
The movie doesn’t do any justice in translating the most interesting part of the book. I loved the book because of how unique and different it was, it was a first hand account of a war. A war that we could relate back to any war in our world today. It was relatable to everyone in some manner or another. It is an action adventure film, about running around trying to get to the cure that will hopefully save everyone. There are no deep emotions or an array of characters that can show just about every type of person. As I usually do I will say the book is better than the movie.
Now taking a step away from trying to review the movie in connection to the book I want to just review the movie. “World War Z” as a zombie apocalypse movie in and of itself is pretty good. It is a adventure survival film, one that does have some interesting aspects to it.
It follows the formula of many of these types of movies. Disaster strikes and it becomes a race to get somewhere safe. Then it is time to find the cure or way to stall or end the disaster. A formula we all are very familiar with and have seen many times before.
What made this movie interesting to me was first off how it started so quickly. We don’t get any character building time really, ten minutes in and we are watching the characters run for their lives. Again though the dash for life didn’t last very long, only about fifteen minutes or so. In the first forty five minutes Gerry manages to use his UN connections to get his family to a safe place.
Then we moved onto the second step of the formula and that is how to stop or stall the disaster. Gerry goes through a series of places, trying to gather all the pieces he needs. I liked this aspect. He doesn’t go one place and find everything he needs right away. He doesn’t miraculously find the cure and have to fight his way home. Instead he follows the leads that give him small pieces of information and another lead. It is like a treasure hunt, finally leading him to the ultimate goal, a very unique way to handle the whole thing.
The solution Gerry finds isn’t a magical cure. It isn’t a major military strategy that the normal person would barely understand, making it impossible to know if it would actually really work or not. I won’t give the end away, because it is interesting how everything comes together, the solution itself is pretty different as well. Though I am not entirely positive how well it would actually work.
Another aspect I liked was how nowhere was truly safe. Each location Gerry ends up in he ends up having to run for his life again and again. The reasons he gets caught or in trouble aren’t some stupid coincidences that magically happen so that he gets put into danger. He has to run all because of human ignorance or lack of care. Whether it is loud singing that attracts the zombies or simply dropping a suitcase, he always ends up coming face to face with the creatures that could kill him. It is all very believable to me, easy to see how everything can come crashing down in this exact situation. It is never actually Gerry’s fault but the fault of those around him, a situation we all understand well. We all know how difficult it is to fully control those around us especially when it comes to life and death situations.
The movie has an interesting quote about Mother Nature being a serial killer. The lead scientist (who dies in a kind of funny way) says Mother Nature is a serial killer, one out to get caught. Now the whole discussion is to foreshadow the clues that are about to be left throughout the whole movie. But it is the claim itself that I liked. Mother Nature is usually seen as a benevolent force, giving us beauty in trees or wildlife. Yes, she can be destructive but it is a majesty of power, something to be awed over.
This movie makes Mother Nature cruel and sadistic, out to kill and destroy. And many times this can be true, with the way diseases grow and become incurable. One day she will lash out at us in a way we can’t hope to ever get away from. We can’t last forever, nothing in nature does. Where as this movie doesn’t explore the repercussions on humans and their lives it does point out how little time we actually could have left. The last lines “If you can fight, fight. Be prepared for anything. Our war has just begun.” (World War Z) Explains the point well, our fight against Mother Nature is truly just beginning.
I picked up World War Z for really only one reason, zombies. The idea of a zombie apocalypse has become somewhat of a cultural phenomenon recently. We have become a culture obsessed not only with the end of the world but the idea of the un-dead taking over. There are many different takes on what life would be like if the dead decided to get up and try to eat us. I became a fan of the idea because of the show “The Walking Dead” as well as the comics. The idea of zombies is fascinating because they can range in so many ways from fast walking, somewhat thinking, to nothing but death machines.
When I actually picked up the book and read what it was really about, I was intrigued by the “an oral history of the zombie war,” tag line on the bottom. This made me buy the book right away. I knew that this was going to be different from the variety of zombie related books and stories out there right now. Right now the stories are all about one group of people or one person trying to survive in a new world where the dead walk. They are mainly stories about survival and trying to find a cure to save the world. Whereas this book was very different. This is a book that gives a fictional first hand account of what the whole ordeal was about. It isn’t from one perspective, it is from every perspective. This gives a complete overview of how this ordeal started, how it spread, how it was fought and what life is like now.
The book is broken up into a variety of parts that starts with “Warnings,” and move through pieces to the “The Great Panic” all the way until “Good-byes”. It is a play by play of what happened and how it was dealt with. “Blame,” is a detailed account of who screwed up, who didn’t say what they should have and why the epidemic got out of control. “The Great Panic,” is the point where everyone loses their minds and freaks out, where no one knows where to turn or who to trust. “Around the World, and Above,” is a take on the scale of the problem, it ranged from the darkest forests to the most populated cities. Where as “Good-Byes,” is where we get to see how life is going to move on, if it can.
The most intriguing and interesting part of this novel was the way it felt so real. The voices of the people interviewed are so true to the world we know today that sometimes you forget that this never actually happened. The panic described, the blame thrown back and forth, and the attempts to justify huge mistakes; are so true to the world we live in today that it is easy to forget this book is about a zombie war. It is so easy to sit back and see that this is how a zombie apocalypse would really play out. A cover up trying to pretend that this isn’t as bad as it seems, people running from their homes not having any idea where to truly go and the military trying to find a way to fix a problem that is without any standard seen before. If we ever come up to this problem in our real lives, reading this book could truly prepare us for what we could have to deal with.
I generally don’t book mark portions of a book. I don’t fold pages to hold passages, sometimes there are quotes I’ll keep for later use, but rarely is it whole chapters or paragraphs. I found myself turning down pages in this book though, because I wanted to remember where to find this poignant passages. Such as one passage that puts it perfectly how difficult a war like this would be to fight, “They would fight until the very end because, unlike us, every single one of them, every second of every day, was devoted to consuming all life on Earth.” (Brooks, 273). This struck a cord with me, because of how true that is. Our enemies today don’t have that, they are human, they have limitations. This one part really drove home how difficult this whole ordeal was for the characters being interviewed.
Another passage that really struck with me was at the very end where the interviewer is interviewing people about how life would move on from this point. It is a passage that proves that moving on from where the dead have risen and now walk among us, isn’t something you can just walk away from. “I’ve heard it said the Holocaust had no survivors,….that their spirit, their soul, the person that they were supposed to be, was gone forever. I’d like to think that’s not true. But if it is, then no one on Earth survived this war.” (Brooks, 340). This really hammers home the point of the whole book, an account of this war that affected everyone on every continent in every race and walk of life. There was no escaping the disaster.
I liked this book because of how real to life it seemed. You could remove the zombies and have a spine shivering account of war and the horrible effects if has on the world around us. The voices are so true to life, the way the ordeal was handled and the way it reached out and encompassed everyone and everything that was in its path, rang so clear and real. You feel for the panicked people, you understand the hopelessness of failed military strategies and you rejoice as the war comes to an end.
I am curious to see how the movie is handled. This is an oral history, full of just interviews. How do you interpret that in a film? Once it comes out on DVD I will be renting to see how true to the story it really stayed. I am curious how it will translate all these voices into a film and one cohesive story.