Wednesday, April 10, 2013

This is not the Z War we were looking for

This is not the Z War we were looking for. Not that I can predict that the film version of World War Z will be bad. I just can’t tell if it is my instincts or the snob in me that is predicting the film will be bad. But lets just say it’s me being a snob. As with any loved book, initial reaction to it being adapted for film is excitement. Then the apprehension sets in. How are they going to turn this into a movie? So lets talk about the book.

It is sort of the sequel to The Zombie Survival Guide, also by Max Brooks. Although the survival guide is just that, a survival guide. World War Z: An Oral History Of The Zombie War takes the form of a series of short stories. It’s Brooks acting interviewing survivors of the 10-year zombie war. It’s an excellent book. Zombies may be the focus, but it also comments on politics and social issues and norms in different countries and cultures. Max brooks did a lot of research and it shows in his book. Any one of the survivor accounts could be a movie all by itself. So obviously a lot was going to be condensed and sacrificed. But then…

Fast, swarming zombie hordes? Where the book took a logical view of a fictional phenomenon, the movie seems to have become a more traditional zombie flick with some action thrown in. The previews have not given me much to be excited about. And no offense to Brad Pitt, but saying “We chose to be more dynamic in that we wanted to base all of this on science” doesn’t inspire any more confidence. I’m not sure how zombies that “move like ants” or “swarm like bees” are more scientific than the traditional slow moving zombie. And as "good" as the swarm looks, it still looks like CGI.

But instead of ranting about what will be, I’d rather suggest something that could be. I want a World War Z TV series. Or at least a miniseries. Yes, I know, we already have The Walking Dead. But World War Z is a different animal. In a way, it would even complimentary to The Walking Dead. We get to see different people, from different cultures, in different parts of the world trying to survive a zombie apocalypse. Each story could be told over 1 to possibly even 3 episodes. If someone wanted to be really ambitious, every season could be a different story based each survivor interview. It would do the book a whole lot more justice than a single PG-13 film could. Will the movie show us the tale of a rogue Chinese nuclear submarine full of sailors and families? Will it give us the creeping suspense of divers hunting zombies in catacombs under Paris in dark, murky water? Is it even going to hint at a platoon on the American plains summoning the undead to slaughter by blasting Iron Maiden’s, The Trooper? Something tells me no.

But the movie could still be good. If it is I’ll probably enjoy it. But it still won’t be the adaptation that I want to see.

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