Tuesday, September 24, 2013

The Z is for Zombie

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 Runner 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.


  1. "...if you’re not going to make a good adaptation, at least try to make a good movie."

    Well said.

    (I'm still shuddering over the thought of using humans as zombie bait. Holy cow!)

  2. Not only is Blade Runner considered a good movie, it's considered one of the cornerstone movies of modern sci-fi. No Blade Runner, no Matrix. No Blade Runner, no Minority Report. No Blade Runner, no... well, all sorts of movies owe their tone and look to Blade Runner.


    I haven't read World War Z nor have I seen the movie. I do want to read the book, though, but I want to see the movie first.

  3. I'd heard the book is nothing like the book, but after reading what the book is about and some reviews, it doesn't sound very exciting or engaging.
    World War Z was a pedestrian movie. It wasn't really even a zombie movie. The Walking Dead has more gore that that movie did.

  4. I don't do zombies, so I never planned on seeing the movie anyway. I can see why they wouldn't use some random interview guy for the movie. The audience needs someone to root for. But they probably could have...

    Ah well. One more movie I don't have to feel bad about missing.

  5. I don't like zombies much either, so I wouldn't have gone for this movie to begin with.

  6. Blade Runner is awesome.

    I've heard bad things about this movie. I usually prefer the book.

  7. I didn't read the book, but we did just see the movie. It was okay. The only book to movie adaptation I've seen in the last several years that I approved of was I Am Number Four. Granted, Hunger Games didn't do too bad. *shrugs*

  8. At least someone stood up and said World War Z wasn't all that good. It had what I called the "John Cusack effect" from the movie 2012: everywhere John Cusack went, something bad happened. Ditto for Brad Pitt in World War Z. The Israelis should never have let him in.


Please validate me.