…Just don’t call it World War Z

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I was/still am very excited about the movie World War Z.  I got so excited, in fact, that I wanted to read through the book before I actually got to see the movie.  The book was enthralling and was really able to pull me in.  Max Brooks did a stellar job of delving into what this our world would likely be like if a zombie apocalypse were to occur in real life.  It almost feels cheesy saying that last sentence.  Almost as if you talked to any random fan of The Walking Dead:

Faux Nerd Guy: “Yeah, maaaan.  That’s what it would be like.  It really puts things into a, like, perspective.” [proceeds to not getting laid]

Brooks just grabs onto more than a landscape and the shoot em’ up aspect of a this type of fictional catastrophe.  He delves into what is taking place globally, politically, and personally with each character.  With a move that almost reminds me (slightly) of George R.R. Martin, each section (or chapter) of the book is told from a different character perspective and is being compiled by one guy who is interviewing these people for an official commission report for the government after all the events have taken place.  I won’t dig too deep into the the actual story but you get a good idea, through flashbacks of what happened.  I will say that what takes place in the book is great and worthy of reading.

The problem that I have with the movie actually being called World War Z is that it’s “solution” at the end actually negates the things that happen in the book.  The movie is essentially a prequel to the book overall and gives you a good live view of “The Great Panic” as it is referred to in the book.  You also get the benefit of a hunky Brad “I-can-do-anything” Pitt.  It falls short in a few places but you can see why, through Hollywood “research” and focus groups, they would change things to hold our shitty American attention spans.  The big one that I kept looking at was the fact that all of the infected are always running and jumping in a very sped up way.  Not so much in the book.  That’s just one example out of a few and I’m not here to point out disparities between the two all day. I just know that if I’m Max Brooks (I’m not), I can’t see being too thrilled about having my great fiction novel attached to what amounts to a completely different movie with clever references to my book.  Call it “Tyler Durden Tricks the Zombies” or anything but World War Z.  I think that a person can see this movie after reading the book and get satisfaction as long as you tell yourself that this is a different experience and a different story altogether (and I’m not going to get to see all the cool weapons and crazy shit that I read about in the book).  Likewise, You can see the movie and then read the book and get just as much satisfaction because it goes deep and is very smart.  I would have definitely voted for the book to be made into an HBO series based on the accounts of these characters in the book with Brooks as the one in charge of the writing.  I would think though that it would end up being more like a show on history or discovery channel seeing that the man gives real lectures about the zombie apocalypse in actuality.

Fun Fact: Max Brooks is the son of comedic genius Mel Brooks.

In short:  The book….Read it.  The movie….See it.

-Lopez

*edit* I read this article about Max Brooks and it gives a pretty good idea of his thoughts on the movie.