Besides for the title, upcoming popcorn blockbuster World War Z has about as much in common with Max Brooks’ critically acclaimed documentary-styled zombie novel that it’s based on, as I do with star Brad Pitt (ladies do not swoon when I take off my top). There are also horror stories of what happened during this film’s highly troubled production.
All of this means that this film must be a disaster, right? Well, yes it is. A disaster movie, that is. And a damn entertaining one by the sound of it.
Now many movies have overcome disastrous shoots to become mega-successes. Francis Ford Coppola’s Apocalypse Now is probably the most famous example, as it had to face not only a monsoon destroying a set, and the military equipment being used on the film being pressed into service in real battle, but the seemingly never-ending shoot had the script thrown out halfway through, Martin Sheen suffered a heart attack and star Marlon Brando just ignored what little script there was (as well as the director’s pleading) and just made up his lines and character on the spot. All of this while Coppola had to pump in his personal money to keep the disaster afloat.
Apocalypse Now was nominated for eight Oscars, winning two of them.
Now World War Z certainly never had any cast suffering cardiac arrests but I’m sure that it came close to giving some people a few heart attacks. THR has a brilliant write-up on all the troubles that plagued the film, but here’s the cliff notes version of what was described as “a nightmare from top to bottom”.
Brad Pitt was both the star and the producer and he personally picked director Marc Foster (Quantum of Solace) for the directing gig, despite Foster having no big budget, effects heavy experience, and Foster was prevented from bringing in his usual team. Pitt and Foster apparently ended up refusing to work together on set due to differences of opinion on the film. Effects crew were hired and then fired without them having done a thing as Foster couldn’t decide on the look of the zombies. Damon Lindelof was called in to rewrite the film’s entire third act. The film had to undergo numerous reshoots, as the studio wasn’t happy with the end result. And all the while, the budget climbed to disastrous levels.
Essentially, this is a movie that shouldn’t work. But the first bout of preview screenings began this weekend and a bunch of celebs and film personalities got to see it, and they’re spinning a completely different – and very positive – tune on Twitter (via JoBlo)
@ScottIGN (Scott Collura): “World War Z: a big, solid zombie movie. Makes up for in scope what it lacks in blood.”
@mjsamps (Mike Sampson): “So after all that fuss, ‘World War Z’ turned out to be a surprisingly effective zombie thriller.”
@Latinoreview (LatinoReview-Kel): “World War Z will probably be the most intense movie you will see this summer…I was shocked it was that good. So much for those re-shoots.”
@CharlesSoule (Charles Soule): “So, was World War Z exactly like the book? No, but I felt it captured much of the flavor, and man, does it have some intense sequences.”
@starbex (Bex Schwartz): “I saw World War Z tonight. It was NOT the book. But it was INCREDIBLY anxiety-inducing despite having flaws in the denoument. But!”
@katiecouric (Katie Couric): “With Morgan F at the World War Z screening. Love him and really liked the movie when my eyes weren’t covered!”
@KBAndersen (Kurt Andersen): “Saw World War Z. Not at all the disaster it’s been made out to be. It’s entertaining and will do fine. So there, negative buzz”
@EmmaHeming (Emma Hemming-Willis): “World War Z is unreal. A great film. Was totally stressed out from start to finish”
Now admittedly, Ivanka Trump and Katie Couric are not exactly proven film aficionados, but it is telling when people like Latino Review’s Kel and IGN’s Scott Collura are singing the same praise-happy tune as everybody else.
I doubt that World War Z will pull an Apocalypse Now and rack up some awards gold, but it does at least sound like it could be a fun night out at the movies, which is way better than the mangled wreck that everybody was expecting 6 months ago.
Last Updated: May 27, 2013