World War Z – Will The Film Of The Book Work?

4 Apr

It’s release has already been delayed by six months but finally a full length trailer is available and we can start to get an idea of what the movie version of World War Z will be like. Now the question on everyone’s lips is quite simple: will it work?

In my opinion, this will depend on three things. Firstly, how it reflects the book on which it’s based. From the trailer, it’s quite clear this is not a faithful film of the original book and I strongly suspect that Max Brooks fans who go to the cinema thinking this is what they’ll see will come away disappointed. In particular, those expecting to see their favourite vignettes from the book immortalised on the big screen may be left feeling a little cheated when they find they’re not there. Instead, the trailer suggests that rather than being a film of the book, this movie is a film set in the same world as the book. It’s a small but important distinction. This doesn’t mean it will necessarily be a bad film, and you could argue a film that was completely faithful to the book would have been both impossible to make and be too incoherent, but it does mean it might not be quite what some are expecting. If you can get this crucial distinction into your head before you see the movie, I suspect you’re much more likely to enjoy it.

Secondly, what type of film it is. Again this is clear from the trailer: this is not a traditional zombie flick. Instead, it’s a thriller-action movie with zombies. This means if you go in expecting to see the next 28 Days Later or Dawn Of The Dead, you may well come out wanting your money back. However, when viewed from the perspective of a thriller-action movie with zombies in it, it looks like it might be a rather good one. From the trailer, the scene where Brad Pitt is being pick up from a roof by a helicopter as the zombies stream towards him looks particularly effective and there’s a nice scene set on a plane which really grabbed my attention.

Finally, will the film be a success at the box office? Undoubtedly this film will bring in a humongous amount of money since it’s going to be the summer blockbuster for 2013. A lot of this money will come not from zombie fans but instead from audiences who are going to see it for the action sequences and because it stars Brad Pitt. This is likely to bring zombie films even further into the mainstream, just as The Walking Dead has done in television and the book World War Z has done in publishing. This, in my opinion, can only be a good thing for zombie fans as it will mean that all the Hollywood studios will be scrambling around to have their own zombie-based hit.

So will it work? Based on the latest trailer, for those looking for a thriller-action movie that features zombies and who are not big fans of the book it looks like the answer will almost certainly be a resounding yes! However, I suspect some dedicated zombie fans (particularly big fans of book) and those who prefer traditional zombie films and horror movies will leave feeling a little disappointed. This is not because it’s a bad movie but rather because it’s not the movie they thought and hoped it was going to be. This means the key to enjoying World War Z will be the attitude you take with you into the cinema when you go to see it. Expect an action-thriller set in the same world as the book and not the book brought faithfully to life or another 28 Days Later.

At this stage, I should admit a vested interest. Part of this movie was filmed in my native Glasgow (standing in for Pittsburgh, which in turn is standing in for Yonkers – as in The Battle for Yonkers – which is all a bit confusing but you’d never be able to tell from the footage) and I’m looking forward to seeing it transformed into an American city on the large screen. I’ll also be watching eagerly to see if I can spot any one I recognise – and specifically myself! You see, I was lucky enough to find myself working as an extra on the Glasgow set and it was this that finally made me pluck up the courage to sit down and write my debut novel, For Those In Peril On The Sea. I’d had the idea for this boat-based zombie-type story floating around in my head for a while and to pass the time I told a few of my fellow extras about it – there was a lot of standing around waiting for someone to shout action interspersed with brief periods of running from zombies and we had to talk about something. Their responses were sufficiently encouraging to make me think I should stop prevaricating and just write it. And so, my fledgling career as a zombie author began …

From the author of For Those In Peril On The Sea, a tale of post-apocalyptic survival in a world where zombie-like infected rule the land and all the last few human survivors can do is stay on their boats and try to survive. Now available in print and as a Kindle ebook. Click here or visit to find out more. To download a preview of the first three chapters, click here.

To read the Foreword Clarion Review of For Those In Peril On The Sea (where it scored five stars out of five) click here.

3 Responses to “World War Z – Will The Film Of The Book Work?”

  1. 40 Fit In The Mitt 04/04/2013 at 15:39 #

    I hope the Movie is as good as the book! I am really looking forward to seeing this movie…

    • cmdrysdale 04/04/2013 at 17:50 #

      I’m really looking forward to it too. I think it will be good (well at least I’m keeping my fingers crossed!!), just quite different from the book. I guess only time will tell though …


  1. World War Z – Does The Film Of The Book Work? | Colin M. Drysdale - 21/06/2013

    […] while ago, I posted an article here about whether the movie of Max Brook’s World War Z would work or not. Now, the long-awaited day is finally here (exactly six months to the day from its original release […]

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