Well, I finally got around to watching World War Z
last weekend, so spoilers ahoy if you haven’t seen it
yet but still want to. It has already been reviewed by more articulate people
than I (who also saw the movie when it actually came out, thus making the
reviews actually useful), so I’m not going to go into much depth about it.
Suffice to say it was a very standard action film with characters that weren’t
realized enough to be compelling and despite being a zombie movie, wasn’t
really scary. Honestly, reading the news about its troubled production was way
more entertaining than the resulting film.
The real point I want to get into is how it was a very poor
adaptation of the book, like adaptation in name only. The book is about
societal collapse and eventually, its reconstruction. It’s accepted that the zombie
plague can’t be cured, can’t be prevented, and is always fatal. Conventional
methods of warfare are ineffective. Ruthless, amoral methods end up being the
only way to survive, from cannibalism to using humans as zombie bait.
The movie shows none
of that, except maybe the plague being incurable. Zombies are unstoppable
excepting headshots, like in the book, but there is never any modification of
tactics beyond that “infect yourself with a curable disease and then the
zombies won’t want you” thing. Even though I would think that the rotting undead
wouldn’t be that picky. Seeing as they’re dead.
But that’s beside the point. The movie is weak. The societal
upheaval is replaced with a man searching for clues about the disease so he can
reunite with his family. Granted, the original framing of WORLD WAR Z had no
main character (except maybe the guy conducting the interviews), but still.
They could have come up with something better than the weaksauce
every-action-movie-ever plot they had. They didn’t try to make a WORLD WAR Z
movie (or they tried and failed…miserably). They made a zombie movie with World War Z
as its title.
Finally, I would like to point out that just because this movie
of a book was bad doesn’t mean all book-movies are bad, even the ones that are
bad adaptations. The original version of Blade
is hardly the adaptation of Do
Androids Dream of Electric Sheep
? but most consider it a good movie in its
own right. So if you’re not going to make a good adaptation, at least try to
make a good movie.