Lo and behold, World War Z turned out to be pretty good, which is certainly surprising considering how rocky the movie’s production was. In fact, the original cut of World War Z was such a mess the film’s entire third act had to be thrown out and replaced with a new, different ending.
So, what was that original third act like exactly? Hit the jump for a description (hold back if you still want to watch World War Z though, as I also discuss the movie’s actual ending)…
In the World War Z ending we got in theatres, Brad Pitt escapes Israel and heads for a World Health Organization research facility in Wales. There he discovers the zombies’ weakness (they don’t attack people who are already sick) and has to go on a tense mission to retrieve disease samples to infect himself and the rest of the people at the research facility. He succeeds and is then reunited with his family in Nova Scotia, Canada.
In my opinion the third act was actually the best part of World War Z. It was genuinely suspenseful, and took a more traditional approach to zombies after going a little overboard with the bombast in some of the earlier scenes. Of course they probably went with this direction because just didn’t have the money to do any more “Brad Pitt runs from giant Katamari balls of zombies” scenes, but whatever, it worked. I also liked the happy ending, because hey, a zombie movie with a happy ending is actually kind of a novelty.
So, here’s what originally happened…
Brad Pitt goes to Russia and is immediately conscripted into the army. A year passes and a bearded Brad Pitt is now a rugged zombie-killing machine! Giant zombie battles ensue, then Brad discovers zombies are susceptible to cold (like uh, all organic beings) and the zombies are defeated. Because they got chilly.
But wait, don’t get your hopes up for a happy ending for Brad! Nope, turns out his wife and kids have been moved to a Florida refugee camp, and his wife has been sleeping with dudes in exchange for protection. The movie ends with Brad embarking on a mission to save his wife from other guys’ boners.
So, uh, yeah — I can see why they decided to cut that. It totally flies in the face of the rest of the movie, which is about a dedicated, down-to-earth family man desperately trying to survive the zombie apocalypse so he can get back to said family. Turning Pitt into a grizzled zombie-killing commando and his wife into a borderline prostitute for the final act sounds, well, pretty unsatisfying. So uh, hooray for studio interference?