This review is full of spoilers. Its purpose is to evaluate the movie’s approach to Zombies, primarily involving the nature of the disease and strategies to combat the disease.
Firstly, the movie was actually pretty good. And I say this as someone who read the book years ago. The book in itself was excellent and deserved the praise it received. Although the Zombie Survival Guide by Max Brooks was a different kind of book from World War Z (so it really is difficult to give a side-by-side comparison), World War Z was probably the better book by a mile and a half. Now on to the movie. The movie is definitely different from the book. The book was set years after the end of the war while the movie is set at its very beginning. In the book, there is no cure, no silver bullet… just our own creativity, resourcefulness and the will to survive. In the movie, although there is no cure per se, there is a silver bullet of sorts in infecting the human being with a curable terminal illness which renders humans invisible to Zombies. So in that sense, it is not a true prequel. The movie itself was a near complete whitewash but that’s pretty much what you come to expect of movies, so hardly a surprise.
The nature of the disease was certainly interesting. Fast acting (except with the cases in Korea), and apparently no chance of recovery once bitten. The fact that the disease would want to spread through healthy hosts was probably the smartest part of the movie. The Zombies’ ability to run and jump was certainly different. As far as the Zombie Combat Command (ZOCOM) knows, Zombies cannot run. They cannot jump. They cannot use their hands and feet in unison to climb things such as ladders and will generally fall once or twice while going up a flight of stairs. As far as functions that take place near and in the brain (such as the senses of smell and hearing), the Zombie does very well, but below the neck, the Zombie is very much a handicapped creature. The best intelligence on Zombies has led the Zombie Combat Command to believe that the transformation from human to Zombie may not be very violent from the perspective of a third person. The best analogy would be that it would almost be like watching someone get drunk right before your eyes. It is very easy to confuse it with something else. This is how the Zombie surprises and multiplies quickly. It is confused for a number of things. A rapidly changing, and far more violent Zombie, however, is what makes a better movie.
Strategies taken by various governments were quite creative. First place, North Korea. Pulling out all the teeth within twenty four hours. Now that is incredible, and somehow for North Korea, completely believable. Number two, whichever country that was which used nukes. Third place, Israel, though the idea that a tenth man’s voice regarding a once off radio transmission from India about Zombies would result in a wall being built around their whole country (as they said) or a whole city (as seen in the movie) seems completely unrealistic. But if you’re going to put a wall around a city, it better be a double wall. The strategy of using sea based platforms as a center for command and control made a lot of sense. The use of terminal illnesses to trick Zombies was very clever and original.
Overall the movie was not a disaster like predicted, rather it was quite good. But it certainly raises the question, what if Zombies can run and jump. The good news is the Zombie Combat Command does not believe Zombies can. The very things that make it so hard to kill, the fact that it does not need lungs to breathe, the fact that it does not need a heart to stay alive, also make it a rather ungainly creature.