Book: World War Z

"World War Z"

We survived the zombie apocalypse, but how many of us are still haunted by that terrible time? We have (temporarily?) defeated the living dead, but at what cost? Told in the haunting and riveting voices of the men and women who witnessed the horror firsthand, World War Z is the only record of the plague years.

I can’t believe I never wrote about World War Z before. The book, I mean. Then again, I don’t think this blog existed back when I first got my hands on the book. Heck, I can’t even find my book now. I had to buy a new one so I could read it again.

On the fourth go, the book is still as emotionally powerful as it was the first time I read it. On the one hand, this makes me appreciate the film version more, because it really diverted from the source material; but at the same time, I can’t believe the producers would waste so much of World War Z‘s potential at a gut-wrenching creature feature. In the literal and figurative sense.

Reading the book again, I am reminded of the reason why my interest in zombie fiction started. I’m a confessed coward. Biohazard scared the shit out of me when it came out. I was in grade school then. The old Dawn of the Dead gave me nightmares. But World War Z made me a zombie fan. This was the book that made me realize zombie stories are not stories about zombies. Zombie fiction is about the people left behind.

I wish I saw more of this in the film version of World War Z. The people. The human factor. How we took back our world from the brink of a zombie apocalypse. Instead of having Brad Pitt’s character going around the world looking for a miracle cure/answer. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I still give the film good marks even in hindsight, but I can’t help but wish. You know?

I have a dream that somewhere down the line, an enterprising wannabe would develop World War Z into a mini-series. For HBO maybe. A documentary of how people fought back. Of how people were during the zombie wars. Maybe the book’s author, Max Brooks, could do it himself? I don’t know. I’m wishing.

Because I feel really, really bad that so much of the heart-wrenching stories in the book never got told.

At the very least, I hope the people who watched the movie would get interested in reading the book. Seriously.

Read the book.

Movie: World War Z

"World War Z"

The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop a pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.” — (C) Paramount

It really helps to lower expectations when watching movies you’ve been looking forward to. Then again, it helps even more when the adaptation spins off a story that you’re not familiar with. It doesn’t invite comparisons.

That said, when I heard about World War Z being turned into a book, I was skeptical. I loved the format of the novel. I loved how it was vignettes set upon a post-apocalyptic future where people are hopeful, but more wary. Turned into a movie, I was expecting something akin to a documentary.

And then Brad Pitt and a big budget came into the picture.

Obviously, a documentary wouldn’t fare well in theaters as much as a blockbuster-formula movie would. So from the post-World War Z setting, the action was transplanted into the time when the plague was just beginning, but already spreading at an incredible speed.

It’s not perfect, but it succeeds at one thing: it’s compelling.

In the movie, we follow Brad Pitt’s character as he goes from country to country in search for an answer, any answer, to what people can do about the zombie plague. I found it odd that they chose to change the location of patient zero, but it wasn’t a jarring change. Just odd. The country they chose to move patient zero to still fit the profile of the original locale. Overpopulated.

The only thing I have against the new locale is its land coverage. I mean, the original locale was huge. It makes sense that the plague started slow and escalated. The new locale they chose for patient zero is known for being… cramped. The plague would have spread faster. No country would’ve been able to have prepared itself.

Well, except North Korea. And they kept that part from the book.

I’m not a fan of how they solved the zombie problem too. But that doesn’t take away from my overall enjoyment of the film, so I guess it’s not a major qualm for me. What’s important is that, even after getting annoyed at the number of ads that preceded the movie, I enjoyed it. And I didn’t feel like I wasted the money I spent on the movie ticket.

So well done, World War Z.

Now, I’m going to read the book again because I still like it better. Ha ha.

Before I completely go though, I have to raise this concern: why are SM Cinemas showing ads before they start airing the film you go in for? We’ve already paid for the film with our ticket, why do we have to pay for it again by watching the ads?