In an attempt to capitalize on the current popularity of the zombie genre in the wake of the smash hit TV show The Walking Dead, a film adaptation of the influential Max Brooks zombie novel World War Z was made in 2013 -- an adaptation that would go on to earn an impressive $450 million at the box office.
Despite the movie's financial success, older zombie fans dismissed it as child-friendly. It was as safe as it could get; some fans of the book thought it was an outright disgrace. Now that the second World War Z is back on track with Brad Pitt courting David Fincher to helm the sequel, here are some changes a fan of the old-school zombie scene would like to see in a blockbuster zombie movie with lots of potential.
Get an R Rating
World War Z is technically a zombie movie but what separates it from the pack is its lack of gore. For a movie about a world being overrun by undead cannibals, there was no blood to be seen.
I'm not saying that random shots of people being torn in half would have improved World War Z, but more gore would have made a bland movie entertaining and added a semblance of dread. The majority of the zombie scenes were made on computers, making the undead hordes resemble the ones that attack you in Left 4 Dead when some idiot accidentally shoots the orange car.
In doing so, World War Z was as engaging as watching someone play a video game: it's nice to look at but you're never sucked into the action. It's hard to fear for Brad Pitt's life when you know that the watered-down zombies aren't merely fake, they're effectively harmless since the most damage they do is run over people in a stampede and break walls.
If World War Z Part 2 wants to be an engaging zombie apocalypse, it should first acknowledge the genre's bloody roots and be fearless when it comes to depicting just how brutal a zombie onslaught would be. Blood may not guarantee a movie awards and critical acclaim but it can go a long way in amplifying tension and stakes.
Stick to the Source Material
World War Z takes a different approach to the zombie apocalypse by viewing it from a global perspective, showing how society at large would react to an undead epidemic. Its film adaptation focuses on Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) - a character who never even appears in the book.
The movie was so different from the book that author Max Brooks admitted during a ComicCon guest appearance that he didn't care about what he was seeing when he watched World War Z.
The movie and the book really don't have a lot in common. They got a great title!... and I specifically thought I would hate it because it was so different from the book but what shocked me was it was exactly because it was so different from the book that I didn't hate it because it was just somebody else's movie. It had nothing to do with me, so I was completely emotionally divorced from what I was seeing on the screen.
Instead of following one of the book's many protagonists or going through the original plan of showing Gerry as a journalist obersving a world recovering from the zombie outbreak, World War Z opted to depict Gerry as a generic blockbuster hero with no personality outside of loving his family. Not only was this a waste of the source material's expansive scope, it was a missed opportunity for World War Z to bring in a larger and more relevant social commentary rarely addressed in zombie movies.
If World War Z focused on one man's family, World War Z 2 should broaden the perspective to a worldwide scale and incorporate more of the book's themes instead of following a cliched plot about family and love conquering all odds. Gerry should take in the horrors the world went through during the zombie epidemic, not float through it, casually downing a Pepsi before a chase scene.
Zombie Pandemic: The History, and an analysis of World War Z
'World War Z 2' Confirmed - Will It Be Successful?
World War Z Is Ripped Apart in New Honest Trailers Video
Make a Zombie Movie, Not a Disaster Movie
There are many theories as to why World War Z differed so much from its source material, with some blaming the reshoots or the aforementioned lack of gore. but it can all be traced to one fact: World War Z is not a zombie movie, but a disaster movie.
Just like the natural disasters in the film 2012, the zombie attacks in World War Z are triggered by the main character's presence. No matter how devastating the ongoing catastrophe may be, said main character will always outrun it in the nick of time by virtue of being the protagonist. Add in the main character's priority of loving his family despite, holding the fates of millions, with few consequences in this supposed moral dilemma, and World War Z has more in common with 2012 than with the book.
World War Z Part 2 needs to live up to its source material's legacy by toning down the visual spectacle and focus on the human element that made the book stand out. This may result in a slower and more somber zombie blockbuster but it will also result in a more emotional and human experience.
Given that zombies are tragic monsters that used to be human and that the survivors are just regular people stuck in a nightmarish situation, World War Z Part 2 could do itself a favor by populating its world with actual human characters instead of plot devices for Brad Pitt to bump into before showing off what mad action skills he's got when he fights the zombies.