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The following FAQ entries may contain spoilers. Only the biggest ones (if any) will be covered with spoiler tags. Spoiler tags are used sparingly in order to make the page more readable.
For detailed information about the amounts and types of (a) sex and nudity, (b) violence and gore, (c) profanity, (d) alcohol, drugs, and smoking, and (e) frightening and intense scenes in this movie, consult the IMDb Parents Guide for this movie. The Parents Guide for World War Z can be found here.
A fast-moving, unidentifiable virus whips around the world, turning people into bloodthirsty zombies, bringing the world to the brink of ruin. Retired United Nations agent Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) gets the job of piecing together what happened and where it started.
World War Z is also a 2006 novel by American author Max Brooks. The novel was loosely adapted for the movie by American screenwriters Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof, and J. Michael Straczynski. However, except for the zombies (and the movie changed even them, making them fast rather than slow and shambling like the book), there is little that the book and movie have in common.
It's confirmed through several conversations in the film that the zombies are dead. The virus works by killing the person within a short range of time (we see 10 seconds, though other characters point out that some took days to turn), then reanimating the dead body. In addition the word "zombie" is used repeatedly in the film. The difference between the zombies in the film and in the book is their speed. In the film, the zombies lurch, run, climb, jump, etc. In the book, the zombies are the traditional shambling zombies.
In the film, nobody knows where the origin of the infectious outbreak started, so it remains a mystery to the audience. It is suggested that the origin was in India. In the book and in a deleted scene, it is suggested that the origin was in China. That scene had to be cut to avoid the risk of the film being banned in the People's Republic of China.
Perhaps due to an online comic called "Zeke is Hungry", which deals about a man-turned-zombie, who nevertheless leads a normal life (if possible) with friends and family. It's likely due to the word "zombie" beginning with the letter "Z". The common phonetic spelling for the letter "Z" is "Zulu" but the soldiers may have altered it to "Zeke" to avoid confusion should they need to use the official letter. American soldiers during the Vietnam war referred to the Vietcong as "V.C." or phonetically as "Victor Charlie" (often shortened to simply "Charlie") so that was likely the soldier's intention. Also during the Vietnam War and subsequent wars the distance of one kilometer is referred to as a "click".
As seen in many movies and videogames, shots in the body of a zombie only slow them down, and headshots kill them. Captain Speke mentions this way of killing zombies but he also says that they tend to burn zombies if they get the chance, as an effective way of killing the undead.
Though the book and movie diverge with regards to certain details, one thing clear in both presentations is the fact that, before it was perceived as a global crisis in need of a unified response, individual countries dealt with the zombie outbreak with their own national self-interest as a priority. Various elements of the World Health Organization would have likely experienced pressure/coercion of some type from numerous global factions trying to take advantage of the situation. Before Gerry regained consciousness and revealed who he is working for, the only source of information available to the WHO doctors was a soldier (injured but armed) from one of the few remaining places (Israel) known to have some success holding off the zombie plague without completely succumbing as the rest of the world did. An emissary from those in a desperate situation, accompanied by an armed escort who has managed to travel half way around the world when being out in the open is a virtual death sentence, is unlikely to have pleasant intentions. So, it is reasonable for the WHO personnel to be suspicious.
The movie's protagonist, Gerry, remembers a couple of key moments when he was fleeing with his family and when he was behind the wall in Jerusalem: In Newark, New Jersey, he glimpsed a drunken homeless man laying on the street whom the infected did not attack. In Israel, he saw a frail old man whom the infected did not attack, and minutes later observed from a distance a bald and emaciated teenage boy whom the infected did not attack and even ran around. What Gerry correctly theorizes is that those individuals were stricken with some sort of serious or fatal illness (e.g., cancer, heart disease, liver or kidney disease ) themselves and were not desirable victims for infected people; the infected were somehow able to detect the illnesses in them. The story's epilogue explains how the plague was finally turned in humanity's favor: a vaccine was developed from samples of viruses and distributed to the world's population. Other countries like Russia fought back with military force (with its soldiers and militia injected with the vaccine) and were able to halt the pandemic within their own borders.
Released in a PG-13 version theatrically, director Marc Foster implied early that a prolonged version was in the works. This version, an Unrated Director's Cut and named accordingly, can now be found on several home video releases and contains almost seven minutes of additional footage, mostly scenes depicting more violence or suspenseful moments. A detailed comparison between both versions with pictures can be found here.
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