Monday, 13 January 2014

World War Z: Read it or Watch it?

It is not that often that I watch a movie and then read the book, (The Hunger Games Trilogy was another read inspired by the movie) however I enjoyed the Zombie Flick so much, reading the book seemed like the next logical move.

'World War Z', by experienced 'Zombie author' Max Brooks, is almost unrecognisable as the inspiration for the movie.
Oddly enough, this is not a bad thing for the reader, rather it allows them  to experience 'World War Z' from a different, yet completely absorbing, angle.

Book vs Movie; how both come out on top:

  • Watch the movie to see Brad Pitt. There I said it, I just love looking at the man and as a bonus he is a rather fine actor.
  • The book is narrated 15 years after the end of 'World War Z'; where a series of key interviews have taken place to determine the political and cultural failings that allowed the near extinction of the human race. While this might sound dry, it is actually fascinating. In the absence of actual Zombies, Brooks leaves the reader with the feeling that society is teetering on the edge of disaster.
  • Fantastic use of CGI leaves you gasping in scenes of mass chaos as the Zombies take hold (literally.... with their teeth). Refreshingly though, while the movie is scary it is not excessively gory (how that was managed in a Zombie movie I will never know).
  • Personal stories told to a nearly invisible narrator make the book version of 'WWZ' seem dreadfully real. Stories of government misinformation, inaction and intentional genocide mixed in with personal heroism and in some cases dumb luck hit home hard.
  • The movie does have some clever links to the book, without providing a spoiler, the Israel approach being the most obvious of these. The book is clever and the movie draws on enough detail to seem clever too. The floating sanctuaries, the variation in national responses all seem logical enough to be real.
If I had to choose I would say this: 

The book is better as an intriguing and unique look at the Zombie apocalypse, focusing less on gore (though there is plenty of that) and more on the human response. 
The movies is better for sharing the experience, as I did with my significant other, eyes glued to the screen, shuffling a bit closer with each passing scene.

So all in all, good news! Feel free to read the book and watch the movie in any order, you won't be disappointed!

Both the book and the movie can be purchased through via the following link:

'World War Z'

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