The book World War Z: an Oral History of the Zombie War was a somewhat fresh take on the “zombie apocalypse” genre, which was already feeling tired 5 plus years ago when the book came out. When Brad Pitt’s production company optioned the Zach Brooks novel, there was cautious optimism but also a lot of talk about the book’s alleged unfilmability.
World War Z uses the conceit of being a Studs Terkel style oral history of a truly global war against zombies. It takes the form of a series of interviews with characters in different locations all over the world who had very different and completely unrelated experiences during the recently ended war. Hence, it has none of the structure that one typically associates with a mainstream feature film. There’s no protagonist, really, and certainly no hero.
The closest thing to either is the narrator putting together the oral history, but you never really learn anything about him. There’s no goal-oriented narrative that takes place over a defined time frame. It’s basically just a bunch of unrelated vignettes recounted as flashbacks. Now that a second, longer trailer for the movie has been released, it’s clear that Brad Pitt and company have dealt with all these thorny problems by simply throwing the book out altogether:
So there you have it. Brad Pitt, who I believe is about 75 years old now, still looks like he’s 30 because he has that Benjamin Button disease, which is why he was a natural to play the lead in the Benjamin Button movie.
He’s married to the woman from the American remake of The Killing that no one liked. There’s a global zombie apocalypse going on, but the zombies don’t move slow like in the book but move super fast like the ones in “28 Days Later” (which George Romero says means they aren’t even “really” zombies!) which will drive zombie nerds crazy. Brad Pitt is the one man who can stop the zombie apocalypse! Fidelity to source material isn’t always virtue when making a movie, but it really looks like this has taken away everything that made the story distinctive to begin with. It’s just another zombie apocalypse story and at some point the public has to start getting tired of those, right?