As many of you could probably tell just from the trailers, the movie version of World War Z is nothing like the book. Instead of a series of interviews detailing the scientific, political, and social details of a zombie plague, this is an action-packed continuous narrative starring stay-at-home dad Brad Pitt. I was very pleased that the ethnic diversity of the original story made it into the movie. I was equally disappointed by the fact that we no longer got much of the big picture of how the world slowly reacted to the plague. Instead, Brad Pitt and his family are caught almost completely unawares by an attack of fast moving zombies that convert victims into zombies in seconds to minutes. In addition to turning almost immediately, zombies are also identifiable by their creepy white eyes. I think this eliminated a rather interesting complication from the book. Most of the changes, however, seemed like the right choice to me. Following one character throughout made me much more invested in the story and the solution to the zombie plague, while implausible, was also more clever than the brute force approach adopted in the book. Overall, this is not the book and I’m almost not sure they should have kept the name, but it was a great movie that was at least as good as the book, possibly better.
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World War Z is the story of the zombie war, told in a series of interviews with the survivors. One of my favorite things about this book was that it starts with the first infections and covers all the details you might possibly want to know about how a zombie outbreak would go down. We start by learning about what the disease is like from a medical perspective. Then we see how different countries reacted politically and eventually militarily to the outbreak. And finally, we get little snippets of how individuals survived. I loved how realistic and believable all these details made the story. I also adored the full cast narration. It was just perfect for this book. The only downside for me was the narrative style and the length of the book. The interview style narrative seemed lazy to me, with the interview questions interrupting the flow of the story and serving as an artificial mechanism to transition between different topics. Due to this narrative style and the short length of the book, I never got particularly attached to any of the characters in the story and the whole thing lacked emotional impact.