Crown Publishing/Plan B Entertainment

There seems to be a lot of excitement about this summer’s zombie movie, World War Z. Brad Pitt’s company, Plan B Entertainment, produced the movie, which meant that Brad Pitt would obviously star in it.

What does this mean?

  1. Zombie films are getting more respect in Hollywood.
  2. Brad Pitt is not quite ready to wear a cape and become a super-hero.
  3. Brad Pitt has so much money that throwing around $200 million to make a zombie movie because his kid likes zombie movies is akin to a birthday present.

It really could be any or all three. To fans of Max Brooks’ novel, World War Z, this film could make sure any inkling of respect loses all credibility.

In the book, the narrator is, for all intent and purpose, Max Brooks himself, accumulating the story of how the world entered and survived the zombie apocalypse. The story was built around interviews with people who saw the best and worst in humanity during different stages of the zombie plague: 1) the beginning 2) the survival 3) the rebuilding.

By setting up the book in this fashion, Max Brooks created one of the most expansive zombie stories ever told. Take The Walking Dead story-line, and expand it across the entire planet. Then, you will have something close to how epic the book World War Z was.

The book also plays as a metaphor of survival, a literary “we will endure” chant that still echoes with me. Even in the face of seemingly supernatural, extinction-starting disaster for the human race, World War Z shows time and again that there is always a way to survive, endure, and rebuild. As long as we are alive, there is hope. Put this human instinct of survival up against war, starvation, nuclear bombings, religious strife, and economic issues. At the end of the day, it’s not as horrible as battling zombies for survival. And these people in the book did it. If they could survive swarms of undead with no purpose put to eat the skin and muscle from your bones, we can survive losing cell-phone reception for a half hour.

With Brad Pitt, it seems that the story of journalism that shows how humanity survived is fast-tracked into an action movie about how Brad Pitt found the cure for zombies. Or cancer. Or AIDS. Replace the disease, and it makes just as much sense as the previews for this movie. Instead of recording what had happened to the real heroes of World War Z, the survivors, Brad Pitt is all of those heroes.

Brad Pitt learning how to run like Nicholas Cage? Probably.

Brad Pitt the scientist? Probably.

Brad Pitt driving a tank? Probably.

Brad Pitt saving a platoon of soldiers with his knowledge of firearms? Probably.

Brad Pitt single-handedly making Israelis and Palestinians lay down their hate and embrace each other for the greater good? Probably.

Instead of Max Brooks, the eager recorder of history, we have Gerry Lane (played by Brad Pitt), a United Nations employee that is in a race against time (because obviously a zombie outbreak around the world can be settled in 2-3 hours) to come up with a cure for becoming a zombie. Besides shooting them in the head.

In the book, planes are down, ports are crammed with overrun ships, and cities are on lock-down, but apparently such issues can’t stop Brad Pitt. He goes from New York, to India, to probably South Africa and China. I’m sure he may stop by North Korea, one of the most chilling chapters of the book. Unfortunately, it will probably be condensed into a 2 minute cut-scene with Brad Pitt exclaiming, “There’s no one here.”


We will see how far Brad Pitt can get in 90 days. Maybe his next film will pit him against a giant asteroid headed towards earth.

By Pat Emmel

Patrick began collecting a library of VHS tapes, DVDs, and CDs when he was young, and continues to build a library that could easily double as a video store and/or a revitalized Tower Records.