Warning – This review may contain spoilers or information not immediately obvious from the trailers.
Like many people when I read the book I was caught up by the all the stories of before, during, and after the zombie apocalypse. The individual stories, the psychological, political, and societal reactions from the characters brought a feeling of how real and terrible the breakdown of society would be.
When I saw the movie I immediately recognized that a lot of that had been taken out in order to create a fast paced action movie. It reminded me of the movie 2012. In that movie you follow a family as they race from one disaster to another trying to escape the destruction of the Earth. World War Z felt very similar. Instead of seeing many accounts across the entire world we follow one man, Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), and his family while he goes from one disaster to another looking for a solution to the zombie problem.
In the book there isn’t a cure (although there are stories around people claiming to have them). Subsequently the book is about survival. When the book ends societies and the Earth as a whole are forever changed because of the apocalypse. In the movie things are obviously going to be different, but I get the feeling not in the same way.
Everyone everywhere has been talking about how the movie has nothing in common with the book except for the title. Here are some of the things that are in fact the same.
- Both have zombies.
- Israel abandons some disputed territories and builds a wall around their protected zones.
- The initial outbreak area is in East Asia.
- Major cities fall with people trying to flee to the sea.
Here are some things I think the movie does a poor job of explaining or takes too far.
- From infection to becoming zombified is super fast sometimes and really slow or non-existent other times. Once that stuff is in your blood it shouldn’t take long for it to latch onto your soul.
- The portrayal of how bad the teeth are in England (it is too horrifying).
- The zombies working together to overcome barriers.
- Zombies are attracted to some sounds, but not other sounds (like sounds made by other Zombies). These zombies are apparently smart enough to distinguish sounds by their origin (even when it is a pop can knocked over by a human that ultimately bursts open).
Overall I felt it was a decent enough zombie action movie. The one question both the book and the movie fail to answer is: If these zombies have unlimited energy why doesn’t anyone think to trap them in giant mount wheel that turns a turbine and get unlimited energy forever? You’d just need a guy or two standing behind a secure window to entice the zombies to move towards you. Think people! Think!