Wednesday, September 4, 2013

Print vs. Screen: World War Z

Killing two zombies with one bullet in this review. Get it? Like birds and a stone, except zombies? Cause 2-in-1 review.....about zombies? Get it? Zombies? Ha ha.....Yep....I'm killin' it.

I know a few people who have read and loved World War Z and had added it to my ever growing to-read list. When I heard it was being made into a movie I was even more excited about it. The preview for the movie was thrilling. It looked like a very good story. And I noticed that the zombies in the movie were the worst kind (super fast) and knew that they would thoroughly freak me out, which is always fun. So this made me move the book closer to the top of my to-read list (not that it really matters cause I usually add things on top when I find another really good book) since I would rather read books before I see the tv or movie versions.

I should probably pause here and mention my slight paranoia when it comes to a zombie apocalypse (or any apocalypse, really). Every now and then I catch myself thinking, "But what if a zombie virus does spread? What will I do? Could I survive? Could I protect my kid?" And then I seriously think of a plan of action, just in case. This only lasts about 5-10 minutes and then I laugh at myself and go about my day because zombies aren't real. Right? Right? Do I have enough materials to board up all of our windows? It hasn't become a serious problem yet. I mean, I'm not an apocalypse prepper or survivalist. (Even though I have totally given that a good 5 minute thought a time or two.) But every now and then I look through our cabinets and guesstimate how long we could make it on the food that we have. My friends, of course, laugh at me and one bought me The Zombie Survival Guide, also by Max Brooks, as a joke for my birthday.

I don't really think that zombies would ever become a real life problem, but I also believe that most anything is possible. There are many weird viruses and shit that could possibly result in crazy, zombie-like characteristics, but I don't think it's probable. Still, it makes zombie movies, tv shows, and books very scary and exciting for me.

So I finally started reading World War Z about 2 weeks ago. wasn't what I thought it was going to be. It begins with the narrator telling us about the state of the world and why. Then he explains that the book is a collection of interviews he conducted as a UN Investigator during the Zombie War. Each chapter is an interview with a different person. There are few questions so as not interrupt each person's account too often.

My problem was losing focus on the story that it was telling. It felt like I was really reading an interview about a zombie apocalypse, which I'm sure a lot of people would like. It would make the entire thing seem more real. But for me, I kept visualizing the guy sitting and talking with each person. I had a hard time visualizing the story they were telling. And as I read a book I usually have a movie version in my head the whole time. I like being able to see it all.

So I kinda gave up on the book and read something else. I tried again a couple days ago, but still couldn't get into it. I'm not sure if I will ever finish it even though I really wanted to. Again, this is just my preference on writing style. I thought that the story itself (what I read of it) was really very interesting.

I knew from the preview that the movie had to have more action than the book. And I didn't think it would have as much sitting and talking either. I mean, it's a movie. They always add more excitement. So I wasn't too afraid that I would be bored to death with it. Mainly because of the crazy fast zombies.

So I finally watched World War Z yesterday. And it did not disappoint (other than Brad Pitt's tragic hair. Just. No.) It was very fast paced and the mannerisms of the zombies, even in their dormant state, were super creepy. I stayed tense and worried for everyone throughout the movie. I cared about the characters, even the smaller ones, and was relieved when people would reach safety.

In this version of a zombie apocalypse, the virus starts and spreads pretty quickly from one country to the next but not many people are taking it seriously because "Zombies? Really?". Gerry Lane (main character and former UN investigator) and his family are caught in a traffic jam and sudden outbreak in Philadelphia. They manage to barely escape and are, eventually, rescued and taken to an aircraft carrier where loads of other survivors have been evacuated to. The guy in charge forces asks him to assist in finding the origin of the virus and a cure. So he goes with a small military team to find clues on where the virus originated. The movie follows him on this mission. You meet other people that play smaller roles but you find yourself hoping for their safety and being grateful for the part they played in helping Gerry.

The solution to the zombie virus is interesting as well. I don't think I've read a book or saw a movie with a similar solution. I'm not going to claim that it's completely original though. Seems like someone out there has had a similar idea. It wasn't immediately obvious to me but I found myself finding clues as Gerry did and putting it together.

So, when it comes to World War Z book versus the movie, I'd have to say the movie was better. The book is usually better or I like both equally for different reasons. This is a rare occasion for me. It comes down to my inability to focus because of the way the book was written. (It's not you, Max Brooks. It's me) That against the action and intensity of the movie it's really not much of a contest.

I will recommend both movie and book to everyone who is into zombie apocalypse stories. For those that don't have my problems with type of writing I'm sure you will find it entertaining. I'm still hoping to one day make it through the book.

Have you you read World War Z or seen the movie? Which one do you like better?


  1. I saw the movie but have not read the book. My husband is a huge zombie fan and has read the book - he didn't like the movie because it was so different. He said it was basically a completely different experience that they threw the name of a famous book on to get more people in to watch it. But whatever. :) I'm the opposite of you - I like to see the movie first, so I can enjoy it (since they usually are worse). I still haven't read this book, but I've heard good things. I think I'll still give it a try. But it's good to know that it may be boring!

    1. Your husband is right. It is a totally different experience than the book. I couldn't imagine watching a movie with just a guy interviewing people and then their flashbacks of their experience. It might have been ok. I don't know. I still haven't read any more of the book. Maybe it was interesting further into it. I'm pretty easy to please when it comes to movies or tv shows based on books. They have to change a bit for better flow or to add excitement.
      Lol I have to read the books first because sometimes it bothers me more when the books are different. I don't understand it myself. I guess I'm just more judgy on books. Totally unfair and backwards, I know.
      I will eventually try to read World War Z again, but it won't be any time soon. Let me know if you read it.
      Thanks for commenting!

      (This is my nth try at this comment. The others fell into some internet black hole or something. Be thankful. My first reply was more lengthy or probably boring.)

    2. Yeah, I'm not in any rush to get to it. Maybe one day, when all other options have been taken.