The Zombie Rights Campaign Blog

‘World War Z’ Movie? Well, More Like ‘World War Z Lite’

We’ve given the Zombie Rights ally lots of updates on the unfortunate production of the, ahem, adaptation of Max Brooks’ infamous hate novel ‘World War Z’ into a big Hollywood blockbuster here on the ZRC blog.

However, what would you say if I told you that all that money, and all that Anti-Zombie violence on screen, was going not to actually bring to life the at-least-interestingly-constructed ‘World War Z’, with its intricate retrospective plotlines and social commentary, but rather to produce simply yet another ‘Zombie Apocalypse’ story?

What if, for those who actually like ‘World War Z’, the movie was instead substituting a cheap imitation?

Well, prepare yourselves, because that seems to be the case:

“Z” has been highly anticipated by fans of the novel, and filming has already begun in Glasgow, Scotland. The film has already begun to trend online, but some aren’t going to happy with the leaked details they’ve found. According to reports, filmmakers have had a bit of a hard time in adapting the book for the screen, so they are ditching main plot points from the novel all together. Instead of taking place like in the novel after the gruesome Zombie Wars, the movie will take place during the outbreak.

Fans of the book have reacted negatively online since hearing of the idea of a not-perfectly adapted movie version.

Leave it to CBS to fail to notice the significance of changing a literary work from the past to the present tense; I guess they didn’t teach that one in hack journalism school. I mean, seriously; ‘World War Z’ has a subtitle: ‘An Oral History of the Zombie War’.

His-to-ry, CBS. It’s actually kind of important to, well, everything about the literary structure and design of the book, as much as we hate it here at the ZRC.

It can’t be a history set in present tense.

See, CBS, Max Brooks’ schtick is to write apocalyptic fiction as a sort of very sardonic social commentary. His ‘Zombie Survival Guide’ is a riff on survival guides in general as well as military histories; earlier this year he wrote an Anti-Zombie take on Climate Change, while ‘World War Z’ touches on everything from the Two-State Solution in Israel to social trends on most inhabited continents, organ trafficking, the Three Gorges Dam and so on. It’s not a traditional novel, perhaps why it’s described as, yes, a History (albeit a fake and hateful one). The actual book is laid out as a series of vignettes arranged by a fictional narrator trying to make sense of a messy and apocalyptic war (which we all know could have been avoided with the help of groups like ours).

Apparently this non-traditional narrative was too hard to adapt into a movie Hollywood could market to teenagers with disposable income, so rather than try, they’ve abandoned the attempt entirely:

Despite boasting the automatic cash-spewing plot of a zombie apocalypse, Max Brooks’ World War Z seemed an unlikely candidate for adaptation because of the way it strove to be unlike all other zombie apocalypse tales—seeking instead to understand who these zombies were and why they were apocalypsing, and examining its after-effects on society from a historical or even philosophical perspective.


So Paramount seems to have found a way around that in its Brad Pitt-starring, Marc Foster-directed version: Make a typical zombie movie anyway.

According to the studio’s recently released synopsis, World War Z now “revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.” Because why go to the trouble of casting Brad Pitt if you’re just going to have him interviewing people?

Now, the ZRC takes issue with the idea that Brooks has attempted at all to understand the *Zombie* perspective on all this; he hates Zombies passionately and with a blind fervor. But otherwise, yes, the Onion’s take seems to be fairly on the ball. Paramount doesn’t think a movie that involves a lot of talking and thinking would sell, and that a dumbed down, gory end of the world action movie would fare better.

To play Devil’s Advocate here, Transformers 3 made $347 million in the United States alone this year. They may have a point.

Nevertheless, the implication is clear: ‘World War Z’, the brooding, intellectual, philosophical polemic against Zombies (as well as against Living complacency) will not be on the big screen. Instead, a flashier and far shallower story, featuring yet another action hero dashing from set piece to set piece will be on offer next year.

Because what the world needs is yet another violent action movie, let alone an Anti-Zombie one.

We’re appalled here at the ZRC. First, because we see a ton of *precisely* that sort of movie and by the gods we’re sick of them. Second, because as evil as ‘World War Z’ is, it’s a shame to see well-crafted propaganda reduced to.. whatever this has become.

And third, of course, because Paramount may be right, and this strategy may succeed beyond our darkest fears, fomenting a revival of Anti-Zombie sentiment in the low information voter crowd for years to come.

It’s a dark day, and unusually, the news is bad for Zombie Allies and Anti-Zombie Zealots alike.

About The Author

The role of 'Administrator' will be played tonight by John Sears, currently serving as President of The Zombie Rights Campaign.


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