Brad Pitt's 'World War Z' Has Fans in an Uproar


If you're anything like me, you've been geeked for MONTHS about the upcoming film adaptation of Max Brooks' brilliant 2006 novel, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. Well, great news, fellow fans of the undead: Paramount Pictures has just announced that it has set a release date of December 21, 2012. ALSO, not only is Brad Pitt the leading man, but World War Z will also feature Joel Kinnaman from The Killing (AKA "the one redeeming aspect of that otherwise horrible show") and Breaking Bad's Bryan Cranston.

And now for the bad news: the synopsis released by Paramount sounds nothing like the book. Basically, it sounds like their adaption formula went like this: take a book with a cult-like fanbase, and change the EXACT THING ABOUT THE BOOK THAT MADE IT AWESOME.

Here's the synopsis, as described in Paramount's official press release:

The story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself. (Mireille) Enos plays Gerry's wife Karen Lane; (Daniella) Kertesz is his comrade in arms, Segen.

Right. So instead of the completely unique angle of setting the story after the zombie wars, with a character who was traveling the world to interview survivors of the zombie apocalypse in order to understand exactly how it happened—we have Brad Pitt in a "race against time."

The book was about collecting the stories and experiences of those who survived the attacks, and it was less about the shambling undead and more about the people, and how the wars affected society around the globe. Even if you think zombies are silly, this is one of those books that transcends the horror genre and becomes not only profoundly scary, but emotionally devastating. It's a story about how the human population responds to a global emergency on a political, social, and personal level—with all the heroism and cowardice that implies.

I suppose it's possible the synopsis was poorly written or comes off as misleading, but it sure sounds to me like Paramount just took a few of the best battle scenes from the book and shoved Pitt into their midst. Looking ruggedly handsome and issuing forth some dryly humorous lines, no doubt.

As Peter Hall at wrote,

Paramount's World War Z is not Max Brooks' World War Z. As anyone who has read (and no doubt subsequently fallen in love with) the latter, it's about an agent of the UN's Postwar Commission who goes around the world to interview survivors of the zombie apocalypse in order to understand exactly how it happened. He's just a researcher trying to unearth facts that the UN might not want to get out whilst making sense of this big, bloody, global brain-eating mess. He is NOT an employee "in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic." He's not even a little bit of that. Not even a fraction.


All right, now that I've done my required freaking out about the press release, I'm still holding out hope that the movie—even with its many annoying deviations—will manage to bring that sense of large-scale human crisis to the big screen, instead of focusing on a few dramatic battles. It may even be a hopeful sign that the film has been rated PG-13, because that means it can't be a splatterfest.

Also, they're still filming. Who knows, maybe producers are listening to fans' reactions to the synopsis right now. In which case: HEY ASSHOLES, MAKE IT MORE LIKE THAT AWESOME BOOK YOU BOUGHT.

Have you read World War Z? What do you think about the film version's description?

Image via Amazon



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nonmember avatar brittany

dis is blowing my mind!lol

tis.u... tis.unnatural

This is so frustrating! The book is excellent, for exactly the reasons you listed. It actually goes into the possible emotional, social and political ramifications of any sort of world-wide event and it sounds like the movie is ignoring that. I'll probably see the movie when it's in the theater, but I'm pretty sure it's going to piss me off.

Payton Irwin

I'm so disappointed =(

I freakin' love that book and don't want anyone messing up the movie. I think if the movie stayed more true to the book, it could have a larger impact than yet another chop-off-their-heads zombie movie. Don't get me wrong -- I love the zombie genre. But the book has so much more to offer!


Marilyn C. Cole

I totally agree that the gathering info after the fact was a HUGE appeal of the book, but I also can kind of see the perspective of writers/creators not wanting the whole movie to be done in flashbacks. The awesome way each of the chapters had a different perspective and a different character was amazing in novel form, but might seem a bit repetitive as a movie. So many different location changes with new subtitles about where we are. It does make me sick how afraid of a unique storytelling mechanism a big movie studio is, though, and I'm just hoping, like you, they still do justice to the global and social aspects to SOME degree, at least.

Amanda Bryie

Hmmm...I see that no one else has noticed yet. The release date is December 21, 2012? As in, end-of-the-world-as-we-know-it December 21, 2012? Just seems a little off to me.

Aside from that, I will be deeply disappointed if the story does run along the outline that the film company released. It just makes it another zombie movie that we'll all watch, and then forget. The book is memorable. The movie should be memorable. I think, with all the books that have recently become movies, that the film companies are taking too much creative license. They are killing what made the books so special. (Anyone seen the Harry Potter movies beginning with "Book 3"? Too much creative license.) When it tanks, they have only theirselves to blame.

William Bonney

Huh?  If you have the money and the inclination to buy this crap (the book or the movie), then you are  already a zombie!  I also noticed they are trying to jump on the Mayan apocalypse date.

Stephanie Goodell Palmateer

I loved this book!  I was excited for a different kind of zombie movie and was wondering how accurately they would be bale to portray it on the big screen...apparently, not at all. I'm bummed.

PoeDu... PoeDunkMae

Am I the only one having trouble seeing Brad Pitt and the same movie???

nonmember avatar OPH

If they blow it with this movie (and it sure sounds like they're well on their way), I'm never going to the movies again. I just can't take the heartbreak any more. (And yes, I'm talking about Twilight. WHAT OF IT.)

Ann Knowles

I understad your frustration, I get very annoyed when Hollywood completely deviates from the book (Queen of the Damned for example) however 'World War Z' is in no way unique in being set AFTER the appocalypse and dealing with the ramifications on society and on the survivors. Carrie Ryan's 'Forrest of Hands and Teeth' also does this. Very grown up take on the whole zombie thing, and chilling without being a gore fest. :)
 OMG according to IMDB they are making it into a movie too. How badly will the masacre it, I wonder :(

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