Say what you will about World War Z‘s faithfulness to the novel (seriously, go nuts. Comments are fun), but you can’t deny that the adaptation was a pretty big deal. With two young kids, I don’t get a lot of chances to go to the movies these days, so I was depending on the community for a volunteer review. Instead, I got a whole bunch of them. And they’re awesome. Read on.
So, the greatest zombie novel ever written has been turned into a major Hollywood movie and you can’t wait to see it – Let me stop you right there.
This is not the World War Z we all know and love, its not even closely aligned in my opinion. Shame on you Mr Hollywood Producer for buying the rights to the book just so we’d all turn up (like zombies) to watch Brad Pitt in a zombie movie – I don’t blame Max Brooks, I’d sell my soul the first chance I had!
I implore you to leave the any thoughts of the book at the door, heck why not make up a new name for the movie yourself, because I firmly believe that this movie is the one of the best “running zombie” movies I have ever seen. Okay, its lacking in gore, the zombies do this comical teeth chatter thing and its more action/disaster than horror. However it’s a fresh new take on a zombie rising blended with grounded characters and enough jumpy bits to keep you entertained for the full 116 minutes.
I can’t speak about this movie highly enough, and trust me as a hardcore fan of the book I was firmly ready to slap it down the first chance I had.
The Oatmeal ran a comic that sums World War Z up quite well.
The book and the movie are both called World War Z, and that’s almost all they have in common. With that out of the way, let’s look at the movie as a zombie movie with an unfortunate title.
The zombies are fast, feral, ferocious, and plentiful on a scale never seen before. The CGI zombie hordes are sometimes a bit odd-looking (watch a trailer to see if it will distract you; it didn’t really bother me, but a friend of mine was rather annoyed by it), but the movie itself is quite a good zombie flick.
The introduction gets you freaked out right away. You are rooting for Mr. Pitt’s character as he is trying to help find a cure, and the actors all put in great performances. There is a bit of a mystery regarding the cause of the outbreak and a rather innovative idea about how humans can get themselves on a more equal footing with the hordes. The movie ends on a satisfying but open-ended conclusion, setting everything up nicely for a sequel.
TL, DR: If you want a summer blockbuster with zombies in it, this is a great movie and worth seeing on the big screen. If you want a faithful recreation of the amazingly awesome book of the same name, avoid this like the zombie plague.
World War Z: A quick, and hopefully spoiler free review by Wom-bat.
Like many people who kept up with the making of World War Z, I knew going in that there would be a lot of changes. What I didn’t expect, was that it would have almost nothing to do with the book. I think one scene is taken from the source. Well, not the actual scene, more like something that happens to Brad Pitt’s character as a result of that scene. I didn’t even remember the scene from the book, a friend reminded me of it. Sorry for being vague, but I did promise to go spoiler free. So when you get right down to it, I can sum up the movie in one line.
World War Z the movie, is not World War Z the book.
That said, World War Z the movie isn’t all that bad for a PG-13 rated zombie flick. The basic premise is that Brad Pitt is asked, okay, maybe more like blackmailed, into going out into the zombie infested world to find the source of the plague. And does he find it? Okay, one spoiler, no, he doesn’t. But you probably guessed that on your own since everything these days HAS to be a franchise. But it does have a moderately acceptable chapter ending, which I won’t spoil, since for me it was one of the better sequences in the film, and manages to introduce something new to the zombie genre, maybe two things. As movies go, it has some decent action sequences, a couple moments of good suspense (I liked the third act), and the not a lot of the obligatory “Are they really that stupid” moments. Brad Pitt’s character isn’t just shooting his way through everything, he is actually thinking things through and figuring out the rules.
One more thing, I didn’t mind the fast moving zombies with a seemingly hive mentality. Though different from the book, they worked for me. Though if they really do have a hive mentality, why is that? Was the zombie plague man made? Is there a supernatural element? Are alien space bees controlling them? For me, exploring that little fact could make for an interesting sequel.
Final thoughts, and forgive the potential repetition. World War Z is not a bad zombie flick, and it’s a flick, not a movie. It has moments where we almost see the potential this movie had (again, the third act), but generally falls short. And much like the American Godzilla flick (the first one, not the one currently in production) calling it World War Z is more of a insult to the source material, than a selling point. Calling it “28 Days Earlier” would have been a more appropriate title.
So yeah, good for a matinee, or a rental, but if you paid full price, you probably wasted your money.
I’ll start by saying I am a big fan of the book this is “based” on. My wife and I have both read the book and in discussions we suggested that the book with its fragmented narrative style would be best made into a high budget TV mini series (Game of Thrones, Band of Brothers) as opposed to feature length movie. When they announced they were going to make this into a movie I was intrigued to see how they were going to pull it off. After watching the first teaser trailer and seeing the zombies behavior I took the preconceived ideas from the book and general zombie lore and got rid of them from my head, it was obviously going to be loosely linked through title and genre only. This allowed me to go into the movie with an open mind and watch it from a fresh perspective, because it really doesn’t link to the book or a zombie purist perspective at all.
I found the movie to be a very good disease outbreak film. It had some awesomely worked scenes, the initial city outbreak and the Israel quarantine breach arcs are great in depicting the chaos and panic that would ensue and show how messed up everything would become. The scenes in the disease lab have good tension and a lot of this is due to some quirky little zombie behaviors they introduced in this movie. There is a fresh perspective in what they did with the zombies and it is actually pretty cool, rather than being “hungry” zombies that consume the prey, they are literally a plague spreader… so all they do is bite, infect and move onto the next victim, and when no more victims are present (or noticed) then the zombie goes dormant and just mopes around until roused by uninfected presence. I guess they did this for a couple reasons, firstly so the gore level was kept down therefore lower censor rating and more audience, and secondly so Brad Pitt can provide a “solution” to the problem at hand. The effect is a new take on the classic zombie and coupled with the ultra speed, its brings a new meaning to “zombie swarm”.
Overall I enjoyed this movie a lot for what it was, zombie purist – no, the book – no, but for what it was – yes, the good sequences really outweighed the bad, and it even had zombies on a plane! The ending was the weakest part of the whole movie, but that is a bug bear of mine with a lot of films now days so is not limited to World War Z, it seems to be a Hollywood issue. I also spotted a bunch of fun little references to the genre, Max Brooks, Dawn of the Dead, and Zombieland were the main ones I noticed.
Captain Pigheart’s Thoughts:
“So they’ve ruined Max Brooks’ excellent book collating survivor stories. It really is a very good book and would have been fantastic if adapted into a TV series where each 3 hour episode was one of the stories. Oh well – let’s move on.
So they’ve ruined Max Brooks’ excellent book collating survivor stories; instead replacing it with a generic zombie apocalypse with a few nods and locations to the source material (e.g. Israel is in it and there are scenes on boats). What it does have is suspense – lots of it. Surprisingly they manage to maintain that despite the 15 (PG-13) rating and without on-screen deaths and precious little blood (aiming for 12A?). Through a few great scenes (arriving at the air force base in dead of night, and later leaving it) and some remarkably contrived scenes (if you don’t laugh at the last bit in Wales you either haven’t seen enough films or have become overly invested in Brad Pitt’s survival) they get genuine tension, mixed up with the laughs that you need and some frightening mass crowd scenes (pity about the rubbery Count Dooku people).
I’d have preferred slow zombies and for the filmmakers to resist that urge to explain everything – it doesn’t matter where the rabies variant came from – the film should be about survival, not winning. It’s also very obvious that they had a nightmare shoot and re-shot a ton of it later. The Israeli soldier lady is a great character but typically neglected – they even have her lose a hand to stop her being better than a man (a nasty trend in Hollywood). That might sound a bit mean, but I did enjoy the film. I just won’t remember it.
I’d like to begin with this statement: I did not expect the movie to be anything like the book. I read most of World War Z by Max Brooks several months ago and enjoyed it immensely. I do, however, have a strict rule about things that make me cry: they must be destroyed with extreme prejudice! Since it was a library book, I just returned it instead. It was awesome, creative, and moving all at once. So again, I will say that I did not expect the movie to be like to book. With that said, here we go!
World War Z starring Brad Pitt is a definite must see. Although the movie takes a few strokes from book, it works as a standalone work of great zombie action. Like, the novel, Pitt plays a UN journalist but rather than recording the events for reporting, he is on a mission to find Subject Zero in order to find a cure. To help elevate the tension, Pitt’s character, Gerry Lane, has a wife and children that are awaiting his return. I really enjoyed the plot, action and tone of the movie. There was the perfect combination of narrative, explosions, chaos and drama to keep me entertained for the entire two hour run-time. I actually felt that the climax and reveal came a bit too quickly and could have easily gone at least another 30-40 minutes and not been a drag to the audience. I was actually holding my breath while the family snuck through the apartment building and again at the WHO research facility. I will also give props to the producers and screenwriters for using a few elements of the novel but it was obvious that it was only a starting point and not and direct adaptation.
Overall, I greatly enjoyed the film for being so tense and entertaining but also want to emphasize that this is not an adaptation of the novel. If you walk in with this in mind, you should enjoy the biting, ripping, tearing and climbing zombies as much as I did.
I love the fact that we all seem to agree that it is not the book! And I’m gutted I didn’t think of the “28 Days Earlier” tag, good call Wom-Bat!
Yes indeed; that was a good line.
Agreed. Great way to sum it up.
OK so I think the main theme here is that the movie is NOT the book. lol
Hah, that’s the impression I got too.
I will go see it soon hopefully.
I’d like to as well, but odds are I’ll be waiting for RedBox.
It really is worth the matinee price. Some of the scenes are just great on the big screen.
The price isn’t really the issue, it’s the opportunity. Two working parents with full-time-plus jobs and two young kids leaves precious little time to go the movies at this point.
duh! I’d be happy to babysit. =)
Awesome! Let me know the next time you’re in Michigan and I’ll take you up on that offer.
ach forgot to send you my tuppence worth! silly me. Pretty much agree with the opinions of those that did…..as a stand alone film it was good, as a tie-in with World War Z…nope….didn’t work.
It’s like calling your film ‘Titanic’ and setting it on a plane……(just because they are both modes of transport doesnt make it the same thing) 😀
I’m sorry I missed your thoughts on this one, Dex.
So we pretty much all say the same thing… good movie, so go see it! I went with some mates who weren’t really feeling it when they went in, and now they are some of the biggest promoters of it now we have seen it.
That’s pretty much what I’m hearing across the board, which really surprises me. I didn’t have a whole lot of desire to see if before, but now I do.
Thanks for posting my review Dave. I really enjoyed seeing the community consensus emerge. Let’s do this more!
Still need to check this out, might do that this weekend.