It’s showdown time- This time in the rink: World War Z.
The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time.World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years.
Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War.
In WWZ, it isn’t so much a fiction book as a collection of historical stories about individuals involved with the zombie outbreak years after it happened. I couldn’t tell how many years after the outbreak it was supposed to be- perhaps you weren’t supposed to know, or perhaps I just missed it- but it seemed like it must have been quite some time, because things were more or less “normal” at the time of the interviews.
I loved how real this book seemed. It appears that I like fiction books masquerading as reality (see The Princess Bride). Some of the accounts seemed so real, I almost had to look out my own window to see if perhaps there were zombies lurking about out there. So, all in all, you really can’t beat this book for realism, universe immersion, and awesomeness.
The movie made the story more personal. It combined many of the accounts from the book into a kind of cohesive story. The main character, Gerry Lane, is a UN investigator who is tasked with finding the source of the outbreak (alone, and apparently, for a completely arbitrary reason). He travels around the globe in search of answers, and of course, eventually finding a way to stop the madness.
I saw the movie of WWZ before I read the book. I had always meant to read WWZ and the Zombie Survival Guide, but I never got around to it. At any rate, when I saw the movie, I thought it was pretty fun. I liked the main character, I liked his travels around the world, and I liked the idea behind the story (what they took from the book).
What I didn’t like about the movie were glaring stupidity errors. For instance, there is a Harvard “epidemic expert” who dies while still on the plane during their first investigation trip. He isn’t even eaten by zombies, but shoots himself after tripping. Seriously? I also didn’t like the resolution of the zombie problem. For some reason, in order to find the cure, they have to travel through a zombie-infested medical facility, like the movie is Half-Life or something. Dumb.
In the book, there was more time to discover personal stories and give the picture of the events as a whole, much like you would find after a real global-scale event. I really liked that. I read that Max Brooks structured his “interviews” around real-life stories from WWII. I think that is what gives the book such a realistic feel.
I’m not sure how to answer this question. To me, they are almost entirely different stories. I liked the movie, because it was a typical fast-paced zombie story filled with stupid human antics and of course, startling zombies. However, it wasn’t anything like the book, aside from a few vague similarities. So, to say that you should or shouldn’t watch it is kind of difficult. I recommend watching it if you life zombie movies, but if you are looking for a movie that accurately portrays the feeling of the book, this isn’t it.