Hey Hey Lowdowners, so I cottoned onto a sneaky sizzle reel preview of Brad Pitt’s newie WORLD WAR Z and being the ever industrious, sneaky and reliable breaker innerer I managed to wrangle my way in to see it this morning. (Yeah, it might’ve cost me a small Malawi child and my signed copy of celebrated horror film EAT PRAY LOVE but hey it’s what you do)
WORLD WAR Z
THE STORY REVOLVES AROUND UNITED NATIONS EMPLOYEE GERRY
LANE (PITT), WHO TRAVERSES THE WORLD IN A RACE AGAINST TIME TO
STOP A PANDEMIC THAT IS TOPPLING ARMIES AND GOVERNMENTS
AND THREATENING TO DECIMATE HUMANITY ITSELF.
WORLD WAR Z is based on the 2007 novel of the same name by MAX BROOKS so to give you the feel of the source material here’s the synopsis (via amazon)
Synopsis: “The end was near.” -Voices from the Zombie War. The Zombie War came unthinkably close to eradicating humanity. Max Brooks, driven by the urgency of preserving the acid-etched first-hand experiences of the survivors from those apocalyptic years, traveled across the United States of America and throughout the world, from decimated cities that once teemed with upwards of thirty million souls to the most remote and inhospitable areas of the planet. He recorded the testimony of men, women, and sometimes children who came face-to-face with the living, or at least the undead, hell of that dreadful time. World War Z is the result. Never before have we had access to a document that so powerfully conveys the depth of fear and horror, and also the ineradicable spirit of resistance, that gripped human society through the plague years. Ranging from the now infamous village of New Dachang in the United Federation of China, where the epidemiological trail began with the twelve-year-old Patient Zero, to the unnamed northern forests where untold numbers sought a terrible and temporary refuge in the cold, to the United States of Southern Africa, where the Redeker Plan provided hope for humanity at an unspeakable price, to the west-of-the-Rockies redoubt where the North American tide finally started to turn, this invaluable chronicle reflects the full scope and duration of the Zombie War. Most of all, the book captures with haunting immediacy the human dimension of this epochal event. Facing the often raw and vivid nature of these personal accounts requires a degree of courage on the part of the reader, but the effort is invaluable because, as Mr. Brooks says in his introduction, “By excluding the human factor, aren’t we risking the kind of personal detachment from history that may, heaven forbid, lead us one day to repeat it? And in the end, isn’t the human factor the only true difference between us and the enemy we now refer to as ‘the living dead’?”
THAT’S ALL WELL AND GOOD AZA BUT WHAT DID YOU SEE?
Yes, yes, yes Aza geez you’re impatient. I’m trying to set it all up! So anywho a narrative adaptation of the novel was done by Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard & Damien Lindelof. The task was to turn the ‘journalistic’ documentary style of the novel into an action thriller vehicle for Pitt.
Enlisting Marc Forster (Quantum Of Solace) to direct, this is PLAN B’s (Brad Pitt’s production company) most expensive and largest scale outing to date. Joining PLAN B are SKYDANCE PRODUCTIONS (Star Trek, Mission: Impossible) and PARAMOUNT PICTURES. There are some pretty damn big players in this WORLD WAR Z and lucky too because the sheer scale of it needs that level of support.
With the love of THE WALKING DEAD, the furvour for 28 DAYS LATER & 28 WEEKS LATER and let’s not forget about George A. Romero’s NIGHT, DAWN & DAY OF THE DEAD series – Zombies are the new vampires. And in this day & age it seems these zombies love Red Bull.
We were treated with the opening 8 minutes of the film plus 2 key sequences to give a 15 minute sizzle on the picture. I’m gonna try and get away with not talking about what actually happens in the scenes while highlighting my initial impressions.
- Urgency is key here and the flick wastes no time in thrusting you straight into the middle of a pandemic outbreak within 4 minutes of it starting.
- Marc Forster is cementing himself as a large scale action director.
- The scale is global (the film is in scope – yay!) and the scenes we saw showcased some of the action set pieces (U.S., Jerusalem, Midflight)
- The digital effects work (not completed here) is 2nd to none. The ferocity, relentlessness and velocity of these undead marauders were front on centre. The software and digital artistry they are using to animate the denizens of the dead is a real trump card – each one of them react differently (from the few I actually focussed on amidst the hordes of them) so that when they are climbing or falling all over each other it adds a stronger sense of reality in this hyper-realistic environment. These zombies are aggressive, fast and en masse. The comparisons to Boyle’s 28 DAYS LATER is inevitable but you’ve not seen them done like this.
- The sound design is really impressive, especially when you have 100’s of extras intermixing it with 1000’s of digital zombies on large scale physical sets that are either exploding or being demolished. It’s an aural assault and really accentuates the ‘WAR’ element of the film.
- DId I mention there are lots of zombies? THERE ARE MILLIONS OF THEM!
We were also treated to the new trailer (above).
ANY FINAL THOUGHTS?
Well we know that film went over budget and that it went through reshoots (a new ending was made) but that doesn’t mean anything in the grand scheme of things. There’s plenty of flicks that go through reshoots (KICK ASS 2 has in recent memory) and it’s done if the film makers think the original one doesn’t pay off to what the setup of the story is. The fact that everyone stepped in to finance the reshoots tells you that PARAMOUNT, SKYDANCE & PLAN B all have faith in the film. And then there’s Brad Pitt – this is first big budget blockbuster release for PLAN B so he’s going to want it to be the best it can be.
I really dug the sense of urgency in it, the seemingly insurmountable problem in front of the characters and the sheer global scale. The film is in 3D (we saw segments in 2D) and even though the product isn’t finished yet it has all the hallmarks of big studio blockbuster – this WORLD WAR is one handsome beast. I am looking forward to seeing more of the story side in WORLD WAR Z but this has definitely encouraged me to move it from a ‘yeah I want to see it’ to a ‘damn I’m seeing that!’ when it releases.
WORLD WAR Z 3D release JUNE 20, 2013 in AUSTRALIA through PARAMOUNT PICTURES