Do you remember the lead up to John Carter? How most people had a big problem with the marketing but many held a faint glimmer of hope that remained until the first reel ran in theaters opening weekend. Yeah, World War Z wishes it was generating that kind of reaction.
Basically, all of the worst parts of the bible would be an upgrade over the current approval rating of the upcoming PG-13 zombie epic. The stench of the film has been brewing for years, delays and behind the scenes instability have not provided any faith of a good adaptation of a book that is already hard to envision in cinemas. The problem is the structure of the book, it is an oral history not a linear narrative, and no one understands how a Brad Pitt saves the world film was the best that could be done.
So consensus is the film will be a terrible, no good, very bad adaptation and the best we are hoping for is a fun diversion wearing a WWZ pelt for warmth. Of course this leads to all the bitching and moaning about how the film’s existence is an affront to the loyal book fans who deserve better. Well cool your jets book worms and hipster wanna bes, there is a silver lining to this story and it alone more than justifies the looming horror of the upcoming film.
The original World War z book’s structure might not lend itself to an obvious film, but what it does lend itself to is audio drama. Back when the book first released an abridged version came out in audio form with a full cast of stellar actors. This audio book ended up only being about 6 hours, but with Mark Hamill, Alan Alda, two different Reiners and many more, the cut down version of World War Z was easily the most gripping and accessible. Due largely to the arrival of a big screen adaptation some genius somewhere came up with an idea to extend the audio drama version including hours of new audio detailing the great zombie war.
The extended version might not be 100% unabridged, but it is twice as long and now features the majority of the book done in the same brilliant style as the original. Bringing in new vocal heavyweights that include Nathan Fillion, Martin Scorsese, Mel Brooks, Bruce Boxleitner, Common, Simon Pegg, Alfred Molina, Kal Penn, Jeri Ryan and Frank Darabont. So many exciting new names bringing their unique audible stylings makes this already the 15th best audio book of all time (behind only the 7 Jim Dale and the 7 Stephen Fry Harry Potter audio books).
The fact that money was paid to expand the original audio book in such a seamless and star-studded way more than makes up for the fact that they money came from the marketing budget of what is likely to be a contender for this year’s razzies. In a time of reboots, remakes, and adaptations, it is important to look at the larger, lasting impact of these films have on the larger pop culture presence of the franchise. Considering the film has facilitated the existence of an audio recording of Martin Scorsese as a pharmaceutical exec who manufactured a placebo vaccine for the zombie virus, there is more than enough awesomeness to offset what ever steaming turd Brad Pitt and company have in store for us later this summer.
The extended version of World War Z is available now for your listening pleasure. Make sure your version is over 12 hours long because the original 2007 version is still very popular and still very available.