Thursday, November 8, 2012

The Jury's Still Out

Brad Pitt in World War Z
I won't be posting Friday or Saturday because I'll be in L.A. on a business trip (as well as meeting up with my cousin; having drinks with an old college buddy and seeing Cirque du Soleil's "Iris") and will have limited Internet access through my phone. I'll be Tweeting (@Caliban761) and posting on Facebook, though. But none of that really has anything to do with tonight's post.

The first trailer for World War Z, director Marc Forster's (A Quantum of Silence; Monster's Ball) adaptation of Max Brooks' novel. I must admit, I wasn't really a fan of Brooks' novel. Modeled after Studs Terkel's "The Good War" (a book of interviews with people who lived through World War II), "World War Z" had no real narrative structure but is simply a series of interviews by a U.N. employee of people from around the world who were there when the zombie apocalypse went down. In the book, the plague begins in China, where the government does everything it can to suppress information. As the outbreak takes over the world, it is soon clear that humanity is on the brink of extinction. Personally, I found the novel rather boring. Without any clear protagonists to care about, the book failed to hold my interest more than halfway through. Even viewed as a series of short stories, the stories themselves were fairly repetitive and not all that exciting, relying on facts and figures rather than dramatic narrative.

With a script by "Lost" writer  Damon Lindelof and The Kingdom's Matthew Michael Carnahan. World War Z  is the first real big-budget zombie movie out of Hollywood. Most zombie movies (even 2009's Zombieland) until now have been small, independent films with mostly unknown casts directed by 'outsider' directors. World War Z, starring Brad Pitt; Eric West ("Smash"); Matthew Fox ("Lost;" "Party of Five"); David Morse (The Green Mile) and Marielle Enos (the U.S.version of "The Killing") has a big budget and even bigger expectations. I hope Lindelof and Carnahan have found  a way to overcome the problems inherent in Brooks' account of the 10 year-long zombie war.

The movie is also fanning the debate over "slow" vs. "fast" zombies, since the release of this trailer. While Brooks never really specifies in the book, my friend Peter and I agree that the "fast" zombies in the trailer look like swarming ants, much like the 'Marabunta' in 1954's The Naked Jungle (a rather interesting film I recommend, if you've never seen it. You can see the whole move here, though it occasionally shows up on TCM or AMC). 

Of course, I'll hold final judgment until I've actually seen World War Z, which is scheduled for release on June 21, 2013. But reports of reshoots and rewrites (never a good sign) and shooting scenes set in Philadelphia in Glasgow and Prague, have me skeptical. You can be sure I'll be seeing and reviewing it, though.

More, anon.

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