World War Zuh?

Zombie Sarge by The GurchI watched this cool flick the other night. It was about zombies, so I was pretty happy. Anytime the undead feast on human flesh I will buy a ticket to watch it…or download it. It was a good film. There was lots of action, good acting, zombies eating people, Israel, everything you’d want in a film. But as I watched Brad Pitt run around the globe trying to solve a zombie crisis, I found myself saying:

I thought this was called World War Z.

If you’ve seen the movie and read the book, then you have surely noticed the major differences between them. ‘Major differences’ being a euphemism for ‘didn’t have shit in common.’ Rambo is a more closely related interpretation of Webster’s Dictionary than the film World War Z is to its literary namesake.

If you have only seen the movie, then I’m betting you have heard all the hoopla concerning the differences and shrugged off the controversy. Since the film has been out a while, the rest of you have probably heard this all before, and are thinking ‘Wow, he really does come late to the show.’ And if you are, I’d like to remind you that at my (deeply disturbed) blog, the motto is: come for the stale pop culture references, stay for the Hobbit jokes.

The real bummer is that World War Z (the book) is so much more than a zombie book. It’s damn good and special and I was so looking forward to seeing it in film version. Its style and structure is based on Stud Terkel’s work The Good War which is a Pulitzer Prize winning oral history about World War II. World War Z (the book) has so many creative and clever aspects to it that at every page I grew more fascinated, gripped, and disturbed.

In the book, the French underground fights zombies in the canals and catacombs under Paris. There are characters like the blind Japanese gardener and the atrophied video game geek. There are lobos, the battle for Yonkers, and Paul Redeker. And then of course the pilot who bails out over a zombie infested zone and goes through a mental breakdown of sorts to get back home. And this book leaves you with the (creepy as hell) realization that there are millions of zombies still existing at the bottom of the world’s oceans.

And while World War Z (the movie) is agita-inducing fun, well done, and has a nice twist, it doesn’t share any – as in, not one – of the above mentioned clever or creepy points that the book brings forth. And for that reason, I am led to believe that this movie was made so that Brad Pitt could cash in on the title World War Z. And that sucks.

I also don’t like the precedent this utilizes. The gist being that when a company buys a book’s film rights, they can completely disregard everything that makes the book the book as long as they stay within the same extraordinarily basic theme?

I guess I am afraid of the day that I’ll see the western romantic comedy film Blood Meridian. Or maybe it’ll be A Soldier of the Great War featuring Sylvester Stallone as a disgruntled WWI vet out for revenge in Italy. Soon we’ll all flock to the theatres for The Cat in the Hat starring Garfield. I guess it couldn’t be worse than the Mike Myers version.

While you’re mulling over the future film versions of books you love, I’d like to offer my debut film for $15.99. It’s a short piece, shot while visiting my family this past summer. It’s called The Hobbit.

Any other points to bring up here?

  1. #1 by greg galeone on October 24, 2013 - 1:02 am

    “Corelli’s mandolin”-boy did they brutalize the book in that one. that was bad enough but trying to listen to Nicholas cage’s Italian accent almost put me off gnocchi for a while. I do have a feeling that studs terkel might have a problem with the film also damo.

  2. #2 by Damien Galeone on October 24, 2013 - 8:13 am

    Whoa whoa, almost put you off gnocchi? Good lord! Did you get treatment for that? Oh, how our family’s dark secrets come pouring out…

  3. #3 by Andy on October 24, 2013 - 8:09 pm

    Good God, they made a movie out of Corelli’s Mandolin??? And it stars Nick-Freaking-Cage???!!! Wow, I just…wow. I had to look it up on IMDB just to confirm that Pelagia wasn’t played by Rhea Perlman or Bette Midler. Geez, Nicholas Cage…de Bernieres’s torment of his characters is complete.

    I was originally going to come down to the comments section and make some smartass quip about Damien’s reaction to a movie made out of “Speechless,” but I think I’m just going to go cry in a corner somewhere. Thanks Dr. Galeone.

  4. #4 by Hokey Pokey Trainer on October 25, 2013 - 12:01 pm

    I knew the movie WWZ had nothing to do with the book when I first saw the trailer, and yet I went and paid for a cinema ticket. 🙁
    An ex once forced me to read “The Time Traveler’s Wife”… I regretted the book and the movie equally.

  5. #5 by The Jake on October 26, 2013 - 2:35 am

    I was going to list what I consider to be the worst movie adaptations, couldn’t think of any, and searched the ol’ internet to jog my memory.

    Apparently, I don’t watch movie adaptions of books. Or, maybe I need to read better books. Books that are so good that someone somewhere wants to make it into a movie.

    However, since my nerdiness outreaches even yours, D, I can avow that 85% of all comic book adaptaions suck cat balls.

    Jake smash.

  6. #6 by ed on October 27, 2013 - 3:14 am

    Jurassic Park. The movie was actually really fun. But the book was much more intense with the main theme being the horrifying prospect of the dinosaurs finding a way to procreate with a slowly built tension. I remember after watching the movie disappointed on one hand that they kind of gleamed over that theme and turned it into a family adventure, while on the other being in awe of the incredible special effects and not being able to take my eyes off of the screen

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