The countdown is on for the US blockbuster season, and for one film, it has been a long countdown indeed.
Brad Pitt’s Plan B Entertainment secured the rights to acclaimed novel “World War Z” in 2007 following a bidding war with Leonardo DiCaprio’s production company Appian Way. If you’ve been following the production of this film, it doesn’t paint the best picture – multiple re-writes of a script initially very well received, production challenges, on set tensions and, with the entire third act re-shot, over budget. You must wonder though, if we had the same access to details like this in the past, how many productions would come up the same issues? “Apocalypse Now” springs to mind. Best to judge a film on the film itself, and Moviehole was recently invited to a 15 minute sneak peek screening by Paramount to get a taste of what’s to come.
So what did we see?
The first scene we see expands upon what’s shown in the trailer. Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and family are entertaining themselves in heavy traffic in Philadelphia when there are sudden explosions and runaway trucks causing mass mayhem. This whole segment has incredible build up and tension as it goes from 0 to 100 within five minutes. The zombies are fast with a one track mind: feed and move on. There is no campy gore here associated with many zombie films. There is little blood, even less humour, and the film appears to be much more a thriller than a horror film.
From here we see the global repercussions of the zombie invasion with a trip to Jerusalem. The gates are open to anyone with a heartbeat, religions and races united in the theory that whoever they save they won’t have to fight later on. The aerial shots and epic scale as the zombies descend the safety compound is chilling, and it is here that we learn the big departure from the novel – that Gerry is not documenting what happens in the war – he is trying to find the cure to the zombie pandemic.
Next we are taken to the Zombies On A Plane edition. You can feel the terror of the passengers as they respond in their own way to a plane full of zombies, and I have to say, I have no idea how Brad Pitt’s going to get out of that pickle 15,000 feet in the air.
The sneak peek definitely left me wanting more.
What do I hope?
That the characters and zombies are fleshed out (no pun intended) to create a film of many layers not just of the ‘Zombies bad, Americans good’ variety. That there’s political intrigue, realistic survival behaviours, and that it’s not another *insert deep gravelly voiceover* It’s up to one man to save the world film. We’ve seen that so many times and while I haven’t read the source material, it did seem like it could be so much more than that.
Until then, we’ll keep the faith and find out June 20 in Australia, June 21 in the US.
Check out the latest trailer below :