Saturday, April 19, 2014

World War Z: A Review

World War Z
Written by: Max Brooks
Audiobook: Read by a Full Cast
Length: 12 hrs 8 min
Publisher: Random House Audio
Language: English
May 2013
Genre: Fiction/Zombies

World War Z: The Complete Edition (Movie Tie-in Edition): An Oral History of the Zombie War is a new version of Max Brooks' episodic zombie novel. The abridged versions of the original stories are now joined with new, unabridged recordings of the episodes that were not included in the original (abridged) version of the audiobook. These additional episodes feature a star-studded cast of narrators to coincide with the upcoming release of the film.

New narrators include Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese, Spiderman star Alfred Molina, The Walking Dead creator Frank Darabont, rapper Common, Firefly star Nathan Fillion, Shaun of the Dead's Simon Pegg, and members of the casts of Star Trek, Battlestar Galactica, Heroes and more! Max Brooks will be reprising his role as The Interviewer.

The original abridged edition, released in 2006, won an Audie Award for Best Multi-Voiced Performance. Original cast members include Alan Alda, Mark Hamill, Carl & Rob Reiner, and John Turturro.

In this new classic of apocalyptic fiction that feels all too real, the Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. The documentary-style oral history records the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time.

Featuring five more hours of previously unrecorded content, this full-cast recording is read by F. Murray Abraham, Alan Alda, René Auberjonois, Becky Ann Baker, Dennis Boutsikaris, Bruce Boxleitner, Max Brooks, Nicki Clyne, Common, Denise Crosby, Frank Darabont, Dean Edwards, Mark Hamill, Nathan Fillion, Maz Jobrani, Frank Kamai, Michelle Kholos, John McElroy, Ade M’Cormack, Alfred Molina, Parminder Nagra, Ajay Naidu, Masi Oka, Steve Park, Kal Penn, Simon Pegg, Jürgen Prochnow, Carl Reiner, Rob Reiner, Henry Rollins, Jeri Ryan, Jay O. Sanders, Martin Scorsese, Paul Sorvino, David Ogden Stiers, Brian Tee, John Turturro, Eamonn Walker, Ric Young, and Waleed Zuaiter.


I really love zombies, most of you know this by now. And I love Max Brooks for writing World War Z. The great thing about World War Z is how real it feels. Similar to War of the Worlds, you can imagine that it has happened and we are now reading the history of how it all went down, survivor’s stories, and what we have done to rebuild our society once the dust has settled. While yes it is a history of the Zombie War, you can take out the zombies and insert another apocalyptic disaster quite easily. That is what makes it great.

After the horridness that was the film (damn you for not letting J. Michael Straczynski’s script stand. Damn you for ruining it) they came out with a new audio version of the book which adds about six hours more of amazing stories performed by Simon Pegg, Nathan Fillion, Jeri Ryan, Martin Scorcese and more. While it is still an abridged version of the overall book, it is completely worth your time and your money.

For those of you who have not read the book, Max Brooks compiles the history of the successful war against the zombie hordes after the government report he has written is all but cleansed of everything but the bare facts. In an effort to get a human perspective he travels the world from China to India to gather personal stories about key pints, events, and moments of World War Z. You have stories of heroism and of villainy, joy out of something so bleak and absolute tragedy. There are stories about you would do to survive and questions on if war makes you just as bad as the very thing you are fighting against. This makes the overall book feel real as if we are all survivors of the war against the undead. This isn’t about the war itself, but about those who survived and fought. It’s about their stories, a very human piece amidst the undead. We don’t get to find out how the zombies started or how they function. The zombies are just a way for the various characters to tell their stories. Of course when you add amazing stage and screen actors and voice actors into the audio version and it feels even more real and genuine. Which again makes it a total shame that the movie shares the title of the book and not really anything more.

Things I loved: This is a book for all fans. I even got my father to read it and that is saying something and he is the furthest thing from a zombie fan. The voice performances are amazing. Since I have reviewed World War Z before and the abridged audiobook, I am just going to touch on the new material. The performances continue to amaze and I really feel as if many of the actors become the characters they are reading. Nathan Fillion reads the account of Stanley MacDonald, a Canadian soldier who witnesses a horrible zombie slaughter and is suffering from some pretty bad PTSD. Dismissed by his superior officers, his tale is wracked with emotion. Nathan does an amazing job of keeping that emotion controlled, but you can hear it threatening to break. Of course I may be bias as I have loved Fillion since Two Guys, A Girl and a Pizza Place, but he really does bring the character to life.

Nicki Clynes of BSG fame reads Sharon, a young woman who witnessed such tragedy that she is perpetually a four year old. The story is so completely heart-wrenching. She does an amazing job. Kal Penn and an almost unrecognizable Simon Pegg do great jobs as well. I also liked Jeri Ryan’s story. I could go on really about the performances. While yes there are some misses, but mostly because the stories themselves are not the strongest and often bogged down by too much exposition and not enough of the human voice.

Things I didn’t love so much: Yeah I got nothing

Full Cast Credits
Max Brooks as Max Brooks
Nicki Clyne as Sharon
Bruce Boxleitner as Gavin Blaire
Simon Pegg as Grover Carlson
Brian Tee as Hyungchoi and Michael Choi
Henry Rollins as T. Sean Collins
Frank Darabont as Roy Elliot
Common as Darnell Hackworth
Kal Penn as Sardar Khan
Alfred Molina as Terry Knox
David Ogden Stiers as Bohdan Taras Kondratiuk
Nathan Fillion as Stanley MacDonald
Denise Crosby as Mary Jo Miller
Ade M’Cormack as Jacob Nyathi
Paul Sorvino as Fernando Oliveira
Parminder Nagra as Barati Palshigar
Rene Auberjonois as Andre Renard
F. Murray Abraham as Father Sergei Ryzhkov
Martin Scorsese as Breckinridge “Breck” Scott
Masi Oka as Kondo Tatsumi
Ric Young as Admiral Xu Zhicai
Jeri Ryan as Maria Zhuganova
Alan Alda as Arthur Sinclair
Carl Reiner as Jurgen Warbrunn
Jürgen Prochnow as Philip Adler
Waleed Zuiater as Saladin Kader
Dean Edwards as Joe Muhammad
Michelle Kholos as Jesika Hendricks
Maz Jobrani as Ahmed Farahnakian
Mark Hamill as Todd Wainio
Eamonn Walker as David Allen Forbes and Paul Redeker / Xolelwa Azania
Ajay Naidu as Ajay Shah
John Turturro as Serosha Garcia Alvarez
Rob Reiner as “The Whacko”
Jay O. Sanders as Bob Archer
Dennis Boutsikaris as General Travis D’Ambrosia
Becky Ann Baker as Christina Eliopolis
Steve Park as Kwang Jingshu
Frank Kamai as Nury Televadi and Tomonaga Jiro
John McElroy as Ernesto Olguin

Buy or Borrow: Buy. So worth it.

Part of: Standalone

Also Recommended: For more zombies I would recommend actually reading the full novel of World War Z by Max Brooks, The Walking Dead comic series by Robert Kirkman, and the Zombie Survival Guide also by Max Brooks. Feed by Mira Grant, Patient Zero by Jonathan Mayberry, Infected by Scott Sigler, and Rot And Ruin also by Jonathan Mayberry. Yeah zombies.

4 out of 4 happy bibliosnark bookmarks 

No comments: