the zombie saw: World War Z

Saturday, 13 July 2013

Now, I've ranted about this movie before, waaaay before it even came out, when I'd found out about the changes that had been made since its first conception as a script.  I was actually pleasantly surprised by the result.  Be warned, there are spoilers ahead.

Don't get me wrong, you should not go into watching it expecting it to be like the book.  It's not really like that book, which was what was so disappointing to me when I first heard about the major differences.  The charm of Max Brooks' World War Z is the fact that it isn't 'just another zombie story'.  It's clever and it has depth and thought at a level that very few other authors ever seem to try and delve into.

The film, for a start, does not even involve the zombies as described in World War Z's accompanying The Zombie Survival Guide.  They are not slow.  They don't have a sixth sense that attracts them to humans.  Instead, they're sprinters and are only really frightening in that they were capable of building walls out of themselves, piling themselves up in frenzied attempts to get at their targets.  This really wasn't particularly scary at the start.

But then it started to get clever.  Some of them seemed to have a kind of group structure, with some behaving differently to the others, acting as sentries that call the others to 'arms'.  The way the virus behaved and the chink its armor was nothing like the book; the movie zombies do not bother to attack those who are already fatally ill and infected with some kind of disease that will - in whatever amount of time - eventually kill them.  They target only the healthy in order to better spread the disease.  While interesting, I suppose, I'm not too sure about this but eh, whatever.  It was clearly one of those things that was 'necessary' to make Brad Pitt's character look like a hero and make an end to the war seem like it had a more immediate, achievable end.

It had hints of its source material from time to time.  The reasons described for Israel's fast reaction to the outbreaks and rumours were reminiscent of the amount of thought Brooks had clearly put into modern and historical politics and warfare.

At the end of the day, it isn't the book, but it is still an enjoyable movie on its own.  It was tense and exciting and although there were a couple of moments in which the entire theatre was chuckling (chatter-toothed WHO zombie anyone?), there were moments that were serious edge-of-your-seat stuff.  Despite what I thought, I actually really liked it and I hope they make the sequels that they were talking about (as long as Segen is still in them, because every sequel needs a badass female Israeli soldier).

Just don't expect it to be the same as the book.  In fact, just disassociate it from the book entirely.

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