Wednesday, August 14, 2013

{Book vs. Movie} World War Z

Wednesday, August 14, 2013 with No comments

For those of you who have not yet had the chance to both read the book and watch the movie, I am just going to start off by saying that World War Z, the novel, and World War Z, the motion picture, both tell completely different stories. They do share a few aspects in common (like the fact that there are zombies, and that a more global, rather than local, perspective is shown), but for the most part I felt as though they were two separate and distinct depictions of the same Zombie War.

The Book
In his novel, Max Brooks plays the part of a traveling journalist, journeying through a world that is just starting to piece itself back together during the aftermath of a long and tedious zombie war. He is collecting accounts of the war from several key players, who range anywhere from the Vice President of the United States to a young otaku from Kyoto, in an effort to share their stories with the rest of the world.

Overall, I felt as though I were reading through actual accounts from an actual war - it had a very realistic feel to it. It helped that all of the stories, while very different, were told in similar tones, since they were all told to the same narrator: Max Brooks, journalist (who I pictured as Brad Pitt while reading, since, hey - it's my mind and I can imagine who I want, hehe). My favorite was the story of Tomonaga Ijiro, a blind man who decided to ride out the zombie apocalypse in the wilderness of Japan, armed only with a shovel (seriously bad-ass!).

I also loved that I got introduced to some aspects of a zombie apocalypse that would never have crossed my mind before, such as quislings: humans who have become so psychologically broken that they themselves start acting like zombies and eating flesh, despite still being living beings.

The Movie
In the film, instead of Max Brooks: Journalist, we have Gerry Lane: Former UN Investigator & Proud Papa (Brad Pitt!). Hoping to leave his UN glory days behind him in an effort to spend more time with his family, Gerry Lane is pretty much blackmailed into returning to his former position after the zombie outbreak occurs (his family is offered a safe place to stay on a Navy Airship in exchange for his cooperation). Thus, Mr. Lane makes his way across the globe, trying to find out where exactly the zombie outbreak originated, and if there is a cure for it. (A big job for just one man, really. He must have been an insanely talented investigator in his heyday.)

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While the book focused a lot on the politics and military strategies of the war, the movie was more about the action and drama that occurred during Gerry Lane's "Race for the Cure." Yes, political and war strategies were depicted, but only as a backdrop that tied-in with Gerry's adventures. In short, the film played out as if it was one of the many accounts featured in the Max Brooks novel, rather than a depiction of the novel as a whole. Apparently they're making this film a trilogy, so I'll have to wait and see how it all plays out.

The Scoreboard

Action: I think the book actually moved slowly, whereas the movie was chocked-full of amazing zombie scenes.  Book - 2.5/5   Movie - 4/5
Story: The book featured many strong accounts that tied together to successfully show humanity's effort to survive a zombie apocalypse. The movie showed one man's journey to find the answers necessary to survive the war. Book - 4.5/5   Movie - 3/5
Characters: There were many interesting characters featured in the novel, but I didn't feel like I learned anything about the characters in the movie. Book - 4/5   Movie - 2/5

The Verdict

There are so many differences between the book and the movie that it felt like they were totally unrelated. In most cases it's easier to have a clear winner, but in this instance I enjoyed both the characters & stories of the novel, and the zombie action & effects of the movie. I think they're both worth checking out!


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