I’m starting to get the feeling that the people who are going to like “World War Z” the most are the people that are already familiar with “World War Z” because they read the book and loved it.
Personally, I’m not sure what to make of these trailers. It’s odd that they refuse to say the word “zombie” anywhere, especially since not every audience is going to get the title’s meaning right away. It’s also odd that we have yet to see a long sustained shot of what a zombie actually looks like in the film.
Instead, we’re looking at lots and lots of CGI figures swarming like ants, and a buttload of Brad Pitt reaction shots. I’m not even sure if Pitt’s character has the same job in this version of the story as he does in the book, because this feels more like the war against these things is in full-swing. In the book, you get an oral history from a number of different perspectives, but it feels like the world of the novel is starting to heal itself. Here, we’re obviously still at the start of everything, and it’s more of a “find a cure” ticking clock with Pitt’s character right at the heart of it.
I think the only way I can walk into this one and be fair to it is to stop thinking of it as an adaptation of a novel. I did read a J. Michael Straczynski draft of the script early on in the process that felt to me like a really strong adaptation of the book. Seems like that’s not the script they’re using, and so instead of playing the “might-have-been” game the entire time I’m watching, I’m going to just tell myself that this stands alone, that it is not going to be the same thing, and I’ll judge it by how well it tells whatever story it is they’ve grafted onto the book by Max Brooks.
I don’t really care that this sounds like it was a tough process on all involved, because there are tons of movies that are great precisely because they were difficult to make and everyone on the picture was tested by it. Whatever happens during production, what matters is the way it all comes together in the end. All that really matters are the two hours you’ll spend in the dark with this one later this year.
It certainly seems ambitious in scale, but to some degree, that’s the problem. I was having the conversation with someone recently about “GI Joe: Retaliation” and how small-scale the ending is when you really think about it. I don’t mind that at all, though. I’d rather see a modestly-scaled picture that tells its story completely and well than see a giant-scaled film that can’t really pull it all together.
So tell me, folks…. what do you think of this one? And if you’re a fan of the book, are you going to be able to walk into this one with an open mind?
We’ll find out when “World War Z” opens everywhere.