Posted by HumanityPlague (251 posts) -

I've seen a few movie reviews of World War Z saying that a true adaptation wouldn't work, or at least wouldn't work in a film setting. I don't believe that.

Assume, for the moment that the movie is going to be 2 hours long (give or take), which is pretty standard, minus credits/title sequence. Also assume that every story in the book could be broken down into 5 to 10 minute long short films (with some time for the interviewer sections), with one or two parts being longer.

Here's how you do a World War Z movie:

Part 1 -- Warnings:

1. Do the Chinese section (where the infection started)

2. Possibly do the Brazil organ story (but not necessarily needed)

3. Do the Israel story (where Israel builds a wall), and possibly combine with the Palestine story

(10-15 minutes, give or take)

Part 2 -- Blame:

1. Do the "Wacko" story and the Grover Carlson story (show initial response of America)

2. Do the Montana story also (might not be needed, but could introduce the Phalanx stuff)

(10 minutes)

Part 3 -- The Great Panic:

1. Do the India, Barbados, and first Denver, Colorado bits. Possibly do the Russian story, but not entirely needed. The Denver bits take up more time, due to their complexity

(25 minutes, give or take, possibly 30)

Part 4 -- Turning the Tide:

1. Do the Redeker plan stuff (South Africa), and possibly the Canada story

(10 to 20 minutes, depending on Canada story)

Part 5 -- Home Front USA:

1. Do New Mexico (Arthur Sinclair), the 2nd Wacko story, and possibly the Malibu story, but not needed

(10 to 20 minutes)

Part 6 -- Around the World and Above:

1. Federated States of Micronesia (Radio Free Earth)

2. Cuba

3. Australia

4. Chile

(let's say 30 minutes for all 4? These could probably be trimmed up a bit)

Part 7 -- Total War:

1. Denver Colorado Pt. 2

2. Quebec

3. Denver Colorado Pt. 3

(Quebec isn't needed, per se, but both Denver stories are critical, let's say 30 minutes, but only 25 for just Denver 2 and 3)

Part 8 -- Goodbyes

3-5 minutes of everyone in the story giving their conclusion speech.

Total run time? On the conservative side, 125 minutes, or 2 hours and 5 minutes (that's with every low value assumed). Possibly 130, with interviewer parts included. If you assume a longer running time it's 160 minutes or 2 hours and 40 minutes. That time might be a tad long, but certainly doable (look at the Hobbit or Dark Knight Rises for examples).

So, YES, World War Z (as written) could be adapted just fine into a movie. Brad Pitt just wanted a passion project and in doing so, has ruined a perfectly good book.

#1 Posted by HerpDerp (133 posts) -

@humanityplague: So, did you end up watching it? I came back earlier from it, and I guess because it was a 'prequel' it seemed pretty bare bones compared to the book. However, in a world where zombie movies are consistently terrible, I really liked it.

#2 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7099 posts) -

So, YES, World War Z (as written) could be adapted just fine into a movie. Brad Pitt just wanted a passion project and in doing so, has ruined a perfectly good book.

I have read that he wanted to make a much more faithful adaptation of the book but could not find a studio to support such a project. The first quote I saw from him about the movie was that he really wanted to do the book justice.

#3 Posted by Capum15 (4930 posts) -

I would love it to be a miniseries, not a movie. That way all the chapters and sections could be fleshed out. Like...Band of Brothers, The Pacific, etc.

#4 Posted by TheHT (11521 posts) -

That sounds like a movie packed so tightly with stuff. Unless some of the stories are lulls and others are more intense.

Kinda makes me want to read the book now, knowing that it really is a world war thing. I think in my head I had it mixed up with that Zombie Suvival Guide.

#5 Posted by MariachiMacabre (7099 posts) -

@theht said:

That sounds like a movie packed so tightly with stuff. Unless some of the stories are lulls and others are more intense.

Kinda makes me want to read the book now, knowing that it really is a world war thing. I think in my head I had it mixed up with that Zombie Suvival Guide.

Same author, to be fair. And yeah, read the book. It's a great read.

#6 Posted by Capum15 (4930 posts) -

@theht said:

That sounds like a movie packed so tightly with stuff. Unless some of the stories are lulls and others are more intense.

Kinda makes me want to read the book now, knowing that it really is a world war thing. I think in my head I had it mixed up with that Zombie Suvival Guide.

Same author, to be fair. And yeah, read the book. It's a great read.

I agree with this man, you should read the book. It does a great job of giving multiple views of an apocalypse, from the start to the end.

#7 Posted by YoThatLimp (1924 posts) -

@humanityplague said:

So, YES, World War Z (as written) could be adapted just fine into a movie. Brad Pitt just wanted a passion project and in doing so, has ruined a perfectly good book.

I have read that he wanted to make a much more faithful adaptation of the book but could not find a studio to support such a project. The first quote I saw from him about the movie was that he really wanted to do the book justice.

He literally could have funded the movie himself. The book would have made an awesome documentary styled movie.

#8 Posted by Dylabaloo (1549 posts) -

I would LOVE a HBO series.

#9 Posted by Cameron (603 posts) -

That movie would be confusing and very difficult to market. Short film collections don't traditionally do well at the box office and it would cost a lot of money to make some of the scenes from the book. It might be a better movie for the fans of the book, but it would be a confusing mess for the average movie goer.

I do agree that it would have been interesting as an HBO miniseries. That would give them time to develop each story and allow people who haven't read the book to understand the characters and settings.

#10 Posted by dudeglove (8018 posts) -

It works super well as an audio book, I can't imagine it working as an actual film, at least not something Hollywood would bankroll.

#11 Posted by caesius6 (191 posts) -

@cameron said:

That movie would be confusing and very difficult to market. Short film collections don't traditionally do well at the box office and it would cost a lot of money to make some of the scenes from the book. It might be a better movie for the fans of the book, but it would be a confusing mess for the average movie goer.

I do agree that it would have been interesting as an HBO miniseries. That would give them time to develop each story and allow people who haven't read the book to understand the characters and settings.

Exactly my thoughts. It's perfect for mini/webseries type narrative, but in a feature film, it would too convoluted. Many people would wonder why they are seeing many of the bits and pieces and parts they are seeing.

Grab a handful of directors next time there's a strike and have them create this in a web only mini series and it would be the shit.

#12 Edited by OneManX (1693 posts) -

I would LOVE a HBO series.

World War Z would be the PERFECT TV adaption, no joke, full stop.