After reading a well written horror novel, there should be certain images, or portraits, that stick in your mind for months, or even years after you finish reading the book. These portraits can all be different from one person to the other. The shoot-out at Yonkers, a blind Japanese man beheading zombies with a Katana, a young girl being shielded from the sight of her parent’s death, etc. Its these scenes that habitually engrain themselves in our heads and create portraits; ones that tie all our emotional responses, towards a novel, together.
What made ‘World War Z’ such an amazingly, stellar horror novel, is that it is, basically, a collection of narratives set in chronological order. And it is these narratives that allows the entire book to be comprised of portraits. The reader was never overburdened with the intense characterization of one person or another. There was no prolonged discourse to a plot that bogged down readers from getting to the next chapter. In fact, there was no linear plot to the story other than the organization of each ‘interview’, so it freed the reader in allowing them more imagination in creating memorable moments (or portraits).
When I had, first, heard that there was to be a movie adaptation of Max Brooks’ horror masterpiece, ‘World War Z’, it may have been the first time in my adult existence that I inadvertently squealed with joy. That joy quickly turned to woe as a screenplay synopsis began to circulate the internet a little over a year ago. When IMDB confirmed my deepest disdain, I began the long emotional trek from “I need to see this” to “’F’ this in the ‘A’”.
The plot for the novel…
“a full fledged world takeover by zombies as a journalist crosses the globe gathering first-hand accounts of how the undead overtook mankind.”
…Sounds pretty awesome, right? Yes it does!
The plot for the movie adaptation…
“a U.N. worker who races against time, traveling the world in an effort to stop an attack of zombies that could destroy humanity once and for all.”
…doesn’t sound bad either, but it’s not the story.
Of course, why would they want to stick to the source material? That would be professional courtesy, and take longer to adapt into a screenplay. And if we know anything about the majority of Hollywood, whatever takes longer in pre-production, costs more money; and that’s just not worth it.
I am an avid fan of most reading genres, and I believe that a book is usually better than its cinematic counterpart, but I understand that there is only so much that can be translated from page to screen; that the ‘plot’ has to be fluid and flexible to the possibility of change. For example; The Game of Thrones series(A song of Ice and Fire), written by George R. Martin (for those who have read it), skipped entire characters and their corresponding storylines to fit a budget and keep the story as simple as they could, without taking the continuity of the novels too far away.
What they did with World Ward Z, is completely change the concept of the story, right down to its fundamentals. It is no longer a grouping of tales that show what mankind would go through in its darkest struggle for survival. What do we have now? A tale about one man with the entire weight of this apocalypse resting solely on his shoulders as he saves humanity. The concept of this story does not sound bad, and actually could stand alone on its own merit…just call it something else, because one thing is for sure, they are not making World War Z , no matter what the title is.
I get it, Brad Pitt is starring as Gerry Lane a UN Official (supposed to be the journalist doing the interviews, but whatever), and he can’t just be in the movie for minute glimpses between stories when we meet the new interviewee. How will we get all the co-eds to come see it?…no, he needs to be in the forefront of every turn and twist in the entire movie. And to make matters worse, in recent online stories, Brad Pitt and Director Marc Forster had a falling out, and won’t even speak to each other; instead, they communicate through intermediaries. This drops my hopes even more, as they have been scheduled for reshoots lasting through September. They may be shooting for a World War Z caliber movie, but it seems like they might get something more along the lines of The Day After Tomorrow.
Will I see this movie? I would like to think that I have the integrity to stand by my libelous bashing and refrain from watching something that desecrates an American Horror masterpiece. But, like most horror fans, I love zombies, and “eat” up every chance I get to watch the undead munch on some brains.
What do you guys think? (please, any and all opinions are welcome)