Tuesday, June 25, 2013

World War Z ... The Movie

How do you take a book such as World War Z with its multiple plots and heroes and villains, and turn it into a successful movie?  Simple ... throw away the entire story and write a new one.  And wouldn't you know it?  It seems to have worked.

The movie is similar to the book.  After all, there's a worldwide zombie pandemic and each nation reacts differently.  North Korea does have its secrets and rumors that one hears about but never sees.  Israel does end up being a little more successful than other countries.  And there is that one UN guy who now has a name ... Gerry Lane.

However, not even one story from the book survives (except for perhaps quick random snippets in the prelude and postlude).  There is no Battle of Yonkers, or valiant Japanese guys or Chinese submarines or chicks lost in the woods, and all those cool stories from the book.

In other words, don't go in there expecting to see your favorite story from the book, because I guarantee it's not in there.  As a fan of the book, I was a little disappointed and left with a feeling of "that's it?".

As a standalone movie, though, it does pretty well.  There's plenty of action.  For a PG-13 movie, it still successfully kindles suspense and a sense of doom.  Though I laughed a couple of times when something gory was moved off screen -- such as when one guy kills himself, it happens just as he moves off the screen.

You do end up spending the whole time with Brad Pitt, but I'm okay with that.  He had some cool parts.  I know many can't stand him (like many can't stand Tom Cruise), but I always try to turn off any dislike for the person so I can admire the craft ... and Pitt was good.

I recommend catching this one in the theater.  Stay away from the 3-D version.  They didn't pay to shoot it in 3-D, so don't pay for the glasses.  If you're not a fan of the book, you may have a better chance of enjoying the movie.  (Then go read the book.)  If you are a fan of the book, just realize up front that: yeah -- they should have called the movie some other title.

... And if you liked the movie, good news for you!  A sequel is now in the works!  Maybe they'll bring back parts of Straczynski's script, and give us some of the book.  We'll see ...

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