Book to Movie Review–World War Z

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World War Z
Summary (from United Nations employee Gerry Lane traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments, and threatening to destroy humanity itself.

World War Z by Max Brooks Book Review

Book to Movie Review:
I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed by a movie in my entire life. This is one of those situations where the movie differed greatly from the book, but before I begin, I will say that I was completely expecting the movie to be different based on the previews. While I am comparing the two, I didn’t ONLY hate the movie because it was different. The differences were just bad.

I loved World War Z by Max Brooks SO much that it hurts to see it morphed into this absolutely terrible and utterly forgettable movie. A book with scenes that I remember vividly that still manage to give me chills shouldn’t have a forgettable movie attached to it.

World War Z by Max Brooks was filled with everything any zombie horror lover would enjoy. Everything. It was so deliciously intelligent, gory, horrifying, bone chilling, and amazing. It had aspects about surviving the zombie apocalypse on just about every level you could imagine, which made it so smart and so appealing. From individual survival to the military to entire countries, Max Brooks is a zombie literary genius. So how on earth did the movie manage to miss nearly everything that made World War Z amazing?

The movie had a completely different plot, which was to be expected. Instead of happening after the aftermath of World War Z, it started from the beginning and followed one man instead of one man interviewing other people. However, Gerry Lane was able to fly to various places and hear different stories during the zombie outbreak, which made it possible for him to hear some stories from all over the world or see them happen in front of him. I understood the change in plot and I could have liked it. I wish I connected more with Gerry, but I had more issues with the nature of the zombies themselves and the overall atmosphere of the apocalypse itself than I did with this change.

While the outbreak was believed to be some form of rabies in both book and movie, the behavior of the zombies was weird in the movie. They weren’t traditional zombies. I don’t know if perhaps they were changed into fast moving weird creatures to be unique, but if so, it didn’t work out because it made the entire movie ridiculous. Everyone in the theater laughed at the zombies in virtually every scene because, and this is especially true when they were alone, they were not at all horrifying. The theater laughed quite a bit in all the scenes in the World Health Organization building. The zombies sounded like velociraptors from Jurassic Park instead of moaning like terrifying and haunting zombies should moan. All of the terror from the novel was lost when the zombies were ridiculous. One scene in particular should have been creepy and terrifying as Gerry was backed into a corner, but the behavior of the zombie had everyone cracking jokes and laughing, making the situation awkward. The hopelessness and moments where we’re supposed to wonder what on earth the protagonist will do next was gone the moment the zombie made us laugh.

The plot became just another unforgettable action or horror movie plot with a smart protagonist that somehow saves the world. While the ultimate solution was intelligent and interesting, it wasn’t enough to make up for the lack of everything that makes a zombie movie what it should be. I feel like the movie tried too hard to be an action movie with an outbreak that just happened to be zombies and changed too much of the simple things about zombies that make zombies terrifying. And I hate to say that because I consider Max Brooks such a zombie genius! Of all the things World War Z could have failed on, failing on zombies themselves is so sad.

I feel like World War Z was trying to set itself apart, but ended up failing because it did it wrong. Had the movie stayed truer to the book, not necessarily in terms of the timeline, but at least the majority of the scenes and the atmosphere of a zombie horror, it would have been nothing short of amazing. And knowing this only makes me even more disappointed. How can something so amazing be turned into this movie? The book oozed with horror, moments of hopelessness, fear, desperation, etc, and the movie missed all of these areas somehow and made itself unforgettable in the end.

Bottom Line: Do not let this movie represent the book. Also, it wasn't gory enough. Or zombie enough, actually. Actually, just go read the book and forget the movie happened.