By November 27, 2010 1 Comments Read More →

Reading the Screen: World War Z

world-war-zUnless you’ve been dead the last few months, you probably know that Max Brooks’ rather brilliant novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War (2006) is being made into a movie.

Directed by Marc Forster (Finding Neverland, Stranger than Fiction, and the unfairly maligned Quantum of Solace), the movie stars Brad Pitt (no relation), so it’s guaranteed to get plenty of attention in the entertainment media.

But here’s my concern. The novel has the structure of a typical oral history: the story is told in pieces, through interviews with the survivors of the decade-old zombie uprising. This isn’t your usual zombie story, and if you cut out the talking heads and make the movie a straightforward horror flick, you rob it of its uniqueness.

Come to think of it — and Carlos Orellana mentions this in his Booklist review of the book — World War Z’s episodic structure might be better suited to television than the big screen. The book is like a Ken Burns documentary, or what Band of Brothers might have been if there were more interview segments in each episode.

On the other hand Forster is an imaginative director, and he’s made some excellent movies. I figure we can trust him to do the book the way it needs to be done.

Your thoughts?



About the Author:

David Pitt lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia. In addition to reviewing for Booklist, he writes a monthly column about paperback fiction and nonfiction for the Winnipeg Free Press. He has contributed to The Booklist Reader since 2010.

1 Comment on "Reading the Screen: World War Z"

Trackback | Comments RSS Feed

  1.' Fan Boy says:

    It has to be done in documentary style or it isn’t “World War Z”, otherwise it’s just another installment of “Resident Evil”.

Post a Comment