I read the book a few months back and loved it. The movie has taken an obvious detour from the book but the movie does look awesome. The book does a great job showing how various governments react to extreme emergencies and how some are behind the curve and get overrun. You could really take out a lot of the zombie stuff and just have it be a different form of outbreak/emergency and the message would still be great and entertaining.
I read somewhere that the author Max Brooks (I believe) is Mel Brooks' son.