World War Z Reimagined As A Ken Burns Documentary

By Brent McKnight | 7 years ago

Paramount’s zombie film World War Z was a better time than many of us expected it to be, but as a faithful adaptation of Max Brooks’ best-selling novel, it left something to be desired. The book is framed as a document of survival and perseverance, and, unlike the movie, takes place after the conclusion of the zombie wars. Framed as a collection of survivor’s tales collected by a journalist, the narrative reads very much like a volume of short stories. The changes make sense from a film-making perspective, because it’s hard to make a reporter talking to people exciting, but the changes left fans of the source material wanting something more.

The folks over at Film School Rejects noticed something about source material. The story in the book resembles the type of intense, in-depth documentary favored by filmmaker Ken Burns, whose works like The Civil War and The National Parks serve as standards of the genre. So they turned to a friend named Sleepy Skunk, and the above video is the result.

It really is an excellent fit, and the two styles mix together well. The way Sleepy Skunk frames the story, with readings from Brooks’ text over sepia-tinged stills from Marc Forsters’s (Quantum of Solace) film, is a close tonal match. In many ways, this is the feel you get when you read the book, of people recounting their experiences, and using historical texts to tell a story, rather than relying on action and Brad Pitt running from walking corpses all over the world.

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