Official WORLD WAR Z Synopsis Reveals Key Difference between the Movie and the Book

by     Posted 2 years, 347 days ago

world-war-z-movie-set-photos-brad-pitt-slice-01

I accept that film adaptations of books will be different.  They have to be and they should be.  However, it’s wise to retain the core concept of the book otherwise the studio is just paying for the name and hoping they’ll sucker in soon-to-be-disappointed fans of the novel.  That appears to be the case with the adaptation of Max Brooks’ World War Z.  The plot of the book takes place after a zombie apocalypse and has a researcher for the UN going around the world to determine the cause.  A mock documentary style would probably work best since the novel has multiple points of view.  I can understand the need to whittle down the movie to a single POV especially when that POV is from a character played by Brad Pitt.

But the official synopsis Paramount just released for the film shows that Paramount has gone far beyond that alteration.  Hit the jump for the synopsis and my reaction.  The movie also stars Mireille Enos, Anthony Mackie, James Badge Dale, and Bryan Cranston.  World War Z is due out December 21, 2012.

world-war-z-book-cover-01Here’s the synopsis Paramount just released for the film:

“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.  Enos plays Gerry’s wife Karen Lane; Kertesz is his comrade in arms, Segen.”

This isn’t a total surprise.  In March we reported that Paramount was trying to find a partner to co-finance a PG-13 tentpole flick that was originally scheduled for June 2012.  The studio eventually got the money for their big action movie and that’s what World War Z will be.  Setting aside the question of what a PG-13 zombie movie even looks like (although considering what The Walking Dead gets away with, who knows). Fans will wonder why even bother calling the movie “World War Z” and the answer is what I told you above: because Paramount wanted the name.  They also didn’t anyone else to make the movie.

While Paramount’s World War Z is unwisely dumping what made the novel so popular, that doesn’t mean the movie will be bad.  Getting Marc Forster, the guy behind Quantum of Solace, The Kite Runner, and the acclaimed and astoundingly mediocre Finding Neverland), to direct is why the movie will probably be bad.




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  • Dan

    Since when did Collider get so annoyingly opinionated. I come to read film news, not be barraged by a writer’s bias’s. Just give me the news, a little back ground information and move on. No need to say ‘this and this is happening…and this is why it’ll suck!!!’ Go back to reporting and leave the slanted jargon unwritten.

    • Brenno

      Golberg’s the worst of em too. Lost count of the number of times he has a tidbit of news and then spends the rest of article slaughtering something that i actually liked. Strong biased opinion is strong.

  • titan3

    disappointed if this is where the movie is heading, but I always thought the book would be very hard to adapt as is. Perhaps it could have been some sort of ‘found footage’ movie like Cloverfield to have worked.

  • JLC

    The flashback structure of the novel was used primarily to string together a bunch of set pieces. Ultimately, it was those set pieces, such as the Battle of Yonkers and the scenes in the Chinese submarine, that made the novel so great.

    I’m a little concerned that this new structure will stretch credibility in putting Brad Pitt in all of those scenarios. But if they figure out a way, as long as the set pieces remain largely the same, the movie could still be good.

    The PG-13 rating is another matter, however.

  • turk 189

    They dropped the J. Michael Straczynski, which was a paint-by-numbers translation of the novel and go ahead with the Black Hawk Down meets Night of the Living Dead approach.

    EPIC FAIL.

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  • JoJo

    Who cares?

  • RickC

    What a shame. The book is a frightening and simultaneously hilarious (as well as engaging) account of various accounts as the zombie apocolypse progressed – specifically how it was put down. It attacks the way governments treat their people, the way people treat each other, the things we have to do to survive, etc.

    This just sounds like a luke-warm zombie movie. Like “Outbreak” meets “Dawn of the Dead.” Real shame, they could have done so much with it.

  • James

    Dammit! My excitement for this film just dropped tremendously.

  • murdernexxus

    Movies are never the same as the book….is everyone just realizing this??? cry about something important ya bunch of nerd babies…hahaha…..ill watch this movie for sure

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  • Tom

    So Mr. Goldberg, is there a reason behind why you need to color all your stories with opinions that are irrelevant?

  • plainview

    MATT GOLDBERG!, you didn’t like Stranger Than Fiction? Marc Forster directed that TOO! it would be nice if you do your job as a journalist and actually list the films that audiences will recognize as “hey, i like that movie. that was fun” but NO!!! to make your ANOTHER cynic comment strong, you have to put the films that makes your comment… well– strong.

    Quantum of Solace. “oh yeah the Bad bond flick. i mean, Casino Royale was a masterpiece, Quantum is garbage”.

    The Kite Runner. “an oscar bait movie that makes the word “oscar bait” a terrible name.

    Finding Neverland. “astoundingly mediocre”

    come on, Finding Neverland was atleast good. why do you have to be so cynic?. a lot of collider readers are noticing it man. LIGHTEN UP! “the movie will probably be bad”, GOD MAN!

  • jymmymack

    Forster also did Monster’s Ball. But it’s more humorous and clever to slam his other films without mentioning the well-received ones (even though Finding Neverland WAS well-received). Honestly, of all the directors to bitch about, you choose Forster. The guy hasn’t even made a bad movie. Mediocre? A couple. Inventive? Several. Everybody makes some lackluster flicks. Want me to name all the bad films/not-well-received films Spielberg has done? Coen Brothers? The reason “Schlinders’s List” will be bad is that the guy who did “1941″, “Always”, and “Hook” is directing it. The reason “No Country for Old Men” will be bad is because the guys who did “Intolerable Cruelty” and “The Ladykillers”are doing it. Grow up Peter Pan. Count Chocula.

  • FincherFan

    Is it possible for a blogger to be fired? If so, for the love of God please fire Matt Goldberg. I have said it before in previous articles and I will say it again; he gives Collider.com a bad name.

    • Wladi

      100 % agree… >=(

  • Wladi

    golderg u r such a douche…

  • Better

    Why is it that I can immediately tell Goldberg wrote the article a sentence in because of how pompous and stupidly opinionated it is. I’m starting to just skip stuff with his name in it because I don’t want to deal with it. You are so negative man, lighten up.

  • dedwards1592

    What I just read: “Blah blah blah my name’s Matt Goldberg and my opinions make me feel like I matter.” Get over yourself Matt. Just report the damn news. Quit bringing down movies that people are actually INTERESTED in seeing. This site gets increasingly pretentious with every new post from you. Frosty needs to write more articles. At least he sounds like he enjoys what he does. You, on the other hand, I cannot say the same.

  • zodd

    Matt is only stating the truth. Anyways this movie will suck, a damn shame. :(

  • wev

    This has EPIC FAIL all over it…the article to (although he is right)

    Big big shame, such an amazing book. Probably impossible to translate to film without changing ELEMENTS of the story to help it work as a film but this sounds a bit bad, then again the masses of the main stream who haven’t read it wont know any different. Will still see it still as its zombies and hopefully they do take some of the battles from the book and as long as the film is epic in its scale and scope like the book then all might be forgiven.

    Please step in Max Brooks

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  • Oliver

    Where is the info in that arcticle ? What´s the big deviation from the novel ? That they have a principal character ? Doesn´t mean there won´t be several POV´s. As is, the article is just a POS.
    And Marc Forster is a master, with QOS being the most political bond-movie ever. Guess that didn´t go down well in US. Some didn´t get it, some did´nt like it. Still a milestone.

    • Zach

      The big deviation comes from this part:

      “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. Enos plays Gerry’s wife Karen Lane; Kertesz is his comrade in arms, Segen.”

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  • mrsimian

    Stop haranging Goldberg!! He states an opinion, yes, he also says “that doesn’t mean it will be bad”. If anyone sounds like a douche, its you negative dick heads!! I agree whole heartedly; if you’re going to pay for the rights to a book, at least try to tell some of the story. I found the book so engaging, and I find it disrespectful to the author, Max Brooks to stray so far from his well crafted novel. So shut up you whiners!!

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  • DSATHeDRiZZLe

    They should have tried to stick closer to the book format and done a trilogy…more than enough material for three movies…and they would have made more money…

    This movie will still be cool more than likley, but it won’t have anything to do with the book besides the name…another example of wasted potential…

  • Pithyoneliner

    I gotta say I’m with Goldberg. Telling him not to express an opinion is pretty frikkin dumb – any review is an opinion! MG is quite legitimately raising concerns from the perspective of someone who has read the book, I’m guessing the other commentators have not

    The news from the WWZ camp is massively worrying. When BP optioned the movie I was excited that it was being made, and that it would have a decent budget. But…

    Brad Pitt trying to stop the zombie apocalypse??? Sacrilege – the book is written in the past tense, the zombie war has happened – that is the whole point of the story. There is no HERO in WWZ.

    They have the wrong director, Forster’s never done an epic, The Kite Runner was OK – I’ll give him that, but if he puts a single fu**ing car chase in WWZ… was Peter Jackson busy (hobbit – I know, I’d have waited)? Ridley Scott?

    There is no chapter set in Philadelphia… what the hell are they doing? Will the ‘Battle of Yonkers’ become the ‘Battle of Philly’?

    This is all very worrying, they are dicking around with awesome source material….

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  • ryan

    I don’t know why everyone’s bashing this guy? He made a point that this movie is going to suck ass, its NOTHING like the book, all paramount did was hire a guy who wrote a script showed it to max brooks who sold the name based on the script HE saw, then paramount fired the screen writer and wrote a bullshit plot and slapped a pg13 rating on it so they could sucker the fans into going to this abomination and the money lost on the true fans not going is going to be made from the teenagers who probably never read the book, and they did this so no other studio could use the name and actually make a good adaptation, if I was brooks I’d sue just like king did with the lawn mower man. Hollywood needs to learn, hell if they were smart they would have done a series on hbo to challenge the walking dead which would have given room to be pretty much 100% faithful to the books seeing as how the story is pretty much ALL READY WRITTEN FOR THEM

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  • kbrown2225

    The way the narrative in World War Z was written it would make it nearly impossible to turn it into a feature length film. It was a series of individual vignettes being told after the war. How can that be a movie? I series of flashbacks with Brad Pitt interviewing people? Some changes had to be made because books and films are different storytelling mediums.

    It seems that all they are doing is putting the portaganist at the sight of the stories as opposed to him hearing the stories secondhand after the war. It actually makes sense to change it this way to allow for a film format and still stay close to the books storyline.

    The PG-13 question if disturbing. Most PG-13 horror films are worthless teenageer pablum.

    • Ted

      “The way the narrative in World War Z was written it would make it nearly impossible to turn it into a feature length film. It was a series of individual vignettes being told after the war. How can that be a movie? I series of flashbacks with Brad Pitt interviewing people”
      …..hmmm…Interview With A Vampire anyone?
      Worked great for that movie….
      I also had high hopes, which are slowly, effectively, one by one being dashed..not so much bc of the director, but the pg13 thing and the synopsis being do different from the book ( as a side note, I did not think the original function of the narrator was to “determine a cause,” but just to document statistics to understand the entire conflict – which then turned into a compilation of anecdotes which had been stricken from the technical report but that the narrator thought were important to tell…)

  • James

    Guys come on, Who cares. It’s only a movie. Who cares if it’s a different script it will probably end up being amazing. So stop ranting on a movie that hasn’t come out idiots.

    • Ted

      Then it’s a different movie entirely…the problem comes from fans who love the source material and wanted to see THAT come to life…a diff movie is cool too, but they don’t to a) promise a movie based on a beloved book, then say “just kidding” and b) make it so another studio will not be able to produce an actual representation of the source material…
      That’s lbasically saying “hey, this movie is going to be based on World War Z, but only in the way that it has zombies and nothing else…and you’re going to have to keep waiting btw”

  • HIP OP

    BEWARE! this latest piece of ‘agenda friendly’ predictive
    programming from CFR ‘on board’ members —Brangelina.

    FACT IS neither zombies or even the Mid East is going to be
    the kick off for the coming ‘agenda very friendly’ World War III.

    FACT IS —–it WILL BE around 2020 ——–in KOREA,

    FACT IS —it will see the sinking of the US fleet in another ‘surprise’
    a la Pearl Harbor. —It will also lead to the surrender of what’s left
    of American sovereignty to a ‘new world security order’

    FACT IS —-EUGENICS —’very –very friendly’ RED China’s to be
    elevated to ‘Model for the World’ and ‘World Enforcer’.

    FACT IS —neither sports —nor porn —–nor rectum ‘bennies’
    can save you.

    FACT IS ——-that’s the way it’s planned to be. . .

  • HIP OP

    BEWARE! this latest piece of \’agenda friendly\’ predictive
    programming from CFR \’on board\’ members —Brangelina.

    FACT IS neither zombies or even the Mid East is going to be
    the kick off for the coming \’agenda very friendly\’ World War III.

    FACT IS —–it WILL BE around 2020 ——–in KOREA,

    FACT IS —it will see the sinking of the US fleet in another \’surprise\’
    a la Pearl Harbor. —It will also lead to the surrender of what\’s left
    of American sovereignty to a \’new world security order\’

    FACT IS —-EUGENICS —\’very –very friendly\’ RED China\’s to be
    elevated to \’Model for the World\’ and \’World Enforcer\’.

    FACT IS —neither sports —nor porn —–nor rectum \’bennies\’
    can save you.

    FACT IS ——-that\’s the way it\’s planned to be. . .

  • Lord Vader

    Okay, so I’m left in a quandary after seeing the trailer, do I go to the theater and actually pay an exhorbitant sum of money to see digitally-created people tripping over each other, or do I wait until the video comes out, rent it (after stopping by the liquor store)? I’m leaning towards renting it because I’m tired of seeing a character walk past three machine guns and not pick one up and then say to another character later on, “I don’t know if we’re going to make it this time.”

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