Reading the Screen: World War Z
Posted by: David Pitt
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.