If you've never read WWZ, essentially it is written from Brooks' (fictional) perspective as if the zombie apocalypse has already happened, and now he is traveling around the world to get the testimonies of survivors. Why did I 5-star it? The novel has a tone that is so rational and well-detailed, I couldn't help but find myself thinking I was reading nonfiction at various points in the book. Brooks creates a post-zombie world so chillingly realistic, you will find yourself sleeping with a baseball bat under your pillow by day's end.
After finishing the book, rumors were just ramping up that it was going to be made into a movie. I was SO EXCITED. How could anyone screw this up? Zombies were MADE for Hollywood!
Then I saw the first trailer.
And wailed despondently.
For a while, I said I wasn't even going to watch the Brad Pitt movie adaptation. I could tell from the trailer that it was a total abortion of the book's premise, and didn't want to bear witness to such an atrocity. However, as with most things that I say I will never do (except read 50 Shades of Gray, I STILL WILL NEVER DO THAT), I watched it. Last week, in fact.
So here's my last word on World War Z: book vs. movie.
In the movie, Brad Pitt stars as a former UN employee who is called upon to help stop the zombie apocalypse soon after it begins. So yes, the very premise is different: we are in the midst of the zombie attack, not reporting from after it. And Pitt's character is not wandering the world, gathering witness testimony, but instead is jet-setting around the world trying to find a cure for the zombie disease before humankind dies off. There's lots of zombies and blood and death and screaming and zombies. And more zombies. (They're actually pretty terrifying zoms, I'll say that.)
In the end, my feeling was this: if I knew nothing about the book, the movie would have been pretty decent. The zombies were scary, the action was good, the ending was kind of cool and I didn't see it coming. Compared to the book: it's a totally different world, and my initial reaction was to be mad about that. I can't stand when an author's work is obliterated after Hollywood buys the rights.
HOWEVER. I can at least see why Hollywood made the changes that it did. Having the movie take place during the apocalypse (vs after) is an obvious plus for the audience, because it's an excuse for non-stop action (vs flashbacks to the action, which is what the Brooks novel would require). And making Pitt's character a bit more invested in the plot was necessary for a big-screen version as well. They did at least attempt to have some vague connection to the novel, in the sense that Pitt's character travels the world and gets a lot of different perspectives on the outbreak (just for an entirely different reason than the novel did). I appreciated the common theme there.
Final verdict? As a movie, World War Z kept me entertained. If I hadn't read the book, I would have loved it. BUT, I did read the book, and even though I understand why Hollywood made the changes that it did, I still can't completely get over the fact that Brooks' work was basically dismantled. (Are you kidding? I can't handle it when the character's hair color is different in a movie vs a book, let alone the entire plot premise.)
Readers, what say you? Have you both read and watched World War Z? What did you think? If you've only read it (or watched it), will you be seeking out the other version to compare?