World War Z Spoiler Warning.
Imagine turning on the evening news to see an army of the undead swarming through Cairo's Tahir Square, or attacking bikini clad party goers on Beirut's beaches, or feasting off Tel Aviv commuters trapped in rush hour traffic. If Brad Pitt's 2013 summer blockbuster World War Z is in anyway faithful to the original book, we may see such scenarios.
Although the movie adaptation is going through a highly publicized development hell due to creative differences amongst the production team, the source material has already established itself as a classic piece of contemporary fiction. What sets the novel apart from most other sci-fi 'end of the world' books is that extended segments are set in the Middle East, or more accurately in Palestine and Israel. It also goes on to detailing the impact of a zombie apocalypse on the wider region in addition to Pakistan, India and the rest of the planet.
Judging by the trailer, the cinematic adaptation of Max Brook's social and political satire World War Z, promises to be 'the zombie movie, to end all zombie movies.' And although I just made up that catch phrase for the sake of this blog post, the movie's marketing team should really consider using it as a tagline. The scope of World War Z is epic and global in nature and not only charts how the zombie apocalypse started, but also how the living eventually defeated the dead. So what is in store for our part of the world in this struggle?
According to the novel (and what is strongly hinted at in the trailer), a key occurance near the beginning of the zombie pandemic takes place in Israel. While every other nation dismisses the zombie threat as a 'non-news' item, Israel takes proactive steps with the closing of its borders to everyone except uninfected Jews and Palestinians, as the disease originating from China finally hits the Asian Subcontinent.
The book details how the state takes steps to protect itself via the building of "The Wall", turning the nation into a literal prison state. All Israeli, non-Israeli Jews, and Palestinians and descendants of pre-1948 Palestinians who lived abroad are allowed to return to Israel to live behind this wall after being screened for the disease. Also in order to scale back on the amount of land it has to secure, the government unwillingly pull back from the West Bank and most other areas they had seized, before sealing themselves in. With the initial completion of The Wall and the sealing in of the Arabs and the Jews from the outside world becoming a world media event, mass panic on an international scale immediately flares up.
Meanwhile due to a series of miscommunications, a threatened yet ironically safe Tehran takes a less than proactive step to quell the sudden influx of Pakistani refugees crossing Baluchistan into Iran. With India all but destroyed by the zombie virus, many Pakistanis who cannot fly out of the country see Iran as the next best alternative. Launching a misjudged nuclear strike against Karachi, Pakistan responds to Iran in a likewise manner, ensuring the annihilation of both countries in the process. Around the world from Europe to America similar stories are told, detailing the near destruction of humanity.
Now keeping in mind that this is just a summary of the events in the book, where the zombies are of a slow shambling type and not the quick athletic 28 Days Later variant, events can only logically play out somewhat differently in Brad Pitt's big screen version. Yet regardless, what is frightening is the share plausibility of the international reaction to such an event in the real world.
Of course while the concept of the dead coming back to life is ridiculous to the extreme, international response to an aggressive global biological threat (be it fatal or otherwise) would probably follow a similar scenario in the real world. From the illogical development and potential use of nuclear weapons in Asia, to Israel's xenophobia and isolationism taken to its logical and literal extreme, both are more or less plausible, unlikely... but still plausible.
Although this is clearly a work of science fiction from a somewhat overrated book, one does hope that if a global pandemic ever does take place, society, especially the Middle East, will exhibit some level of lucidity and not descend into the chaos the world thinks we are only capable of. Max Brooks being an American with probably little experience of the Middle East and its people beyond what is shown in the media, has a low view of what the Muslim World is capable of. But anyway...
Brad Pitt's World War Z should be hitting our screens by summer 2013, while Max Brook's original novel is already available on Amazon.
Read More: World War Z (2013) movie review.