I don’t normally do movie reviews, usually because by the time I get around to seeing a movie it’s the 3AM show on TNT- but with World War Z I made an exception. The book is such a favorite of mine that I’ve bought it 3 times- I talk the book up to people, lend it to them to read, they keep it, and I lose patience and just go buy another copy. Next time I get it on Kindle.
Max Brooks’ book World War Z is to zombie fans what the Golden Corral chocolate fountain is to fat people. The fact that the book is so good is made obvious by the fact that they tried to make a bazillion dollar movie based on it. But if you are watching the movie and thinking “This is nothing like the book” then you are spot on. As best as I can tell the only similarities are the name of the movie and the name of the main character. The rest? Hollywood rewrites. Saying this movie is based on the book is like making a movie based on the Bible and having Noah build a Trans Am to escape a forrest fire, merging Moses, Samson, and Judas into one character and forgetting to mention Jesus altogether.
However, as summertime movie fare World War Z is fantastic. If you are looking for a zombie film to cut your teeth on or to introduce a newb to the genre I highly recommend it. Brad gets to be Brad, the zombies are scary enough without being gory, and the movie ends on an upbeat note. Exactly what you want from an action/adventure to beat the heat.
My only real complaint versus the movie is the lack of character development outside of Pitt’s character. Brooks was excellent at making you feel for his characters to the point that the zombie stuff was secondary, a plot device that provided a setting. The closest comparison in the movie was the captain in South Korea, and Brooks’ book is full of these- honorable people fighting against an impossible enemy they don’t fully understand and sacrificing themselves for the hope that those that come after will overcome and prevail. Pitt’s movie missed the chance to aspire to something better.
To sum up- go see it. Don’t read the book if you haven’t and enjoy the CGI. Later, read Max Brooks’ vision and be in awe of the greatest “book that’ll never be a movie” ever. And let me know what they should change the title of the movie to. I vote for…
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