Despite a few production hiccups, script rewrites, budget woes, and some early poor media publicity, it appears that Brad Pitt's zombie thriller is less the disaster everyone predicted and more quality end-of-the-world entertainment.
"World War Z is a perfectly decent thriller, the smartest and most sober action film so far this summer and a grown-up addition to the zombie canon." - Globe and Mail
"Against considerable odds, the ability and professionalism of the cast and crew have carried the day." - Los Angeles Times
"The result is a movie that, while no classic, can be credited with giving the audience something a bit more substantive than the usual disposable summer fare." - Washington Post
Currently trending at a healthy 68% on Rotten Tomatoes (with 86% audience approval), such reaction should come an immense relief to Paramount - which worked feverishly to promote a film better known for its last minute, costly reshoots than thrilling story.
"“When you draw attention to yourself by acknowledging you have a problem you’re trying to fix, it becomes sport to the media to pick on you,” Paramount Vice Chairman Rob Moore told Deadline last month. “It becomes hard to say, ‘We don’t care about the short-term publicity hit, what we care about is making the best movie.’ The political pressure against you becomes great and can make it seem like it’s better to leave it alone. Here, that pressure was even bigger because it is Brad Pitt, and because of the size of the solution. But I’m telling you right here, it was definitely the right call. We now have the best version of this movie, and people will see that soon.”
Of course, not all will be thrilled - in particular those that loved Max Brooks' original novel of the same name. Critic Beth Accomando of KPBS is a huge fan of Brooks version, but thinks Paramount should have just called this one "Brad Pitt Saves The World."
She writes: "It always baffles me when Hollywood buys a popular book for adaptation to the screen but then uses absolutely none of what made the book popular or unique. Granted, Broooks' "WWZ" is difficult to adapt. The books is a series of interviews with survivors of the zombie apocalypse some ten years after the fighting has ended. The interviews take place around the globe and cover every aspect of how the world responded to the zombie plague. But what director Forster and star/producer Brad Pitt deliver is nothing more than a big budget popcorn movie."
Should Pitt's movie rack up the green, there's a good chance of zombies infecting future summer box offices. A report back in January stated that Paramount and director Marc Forster were approaching the film as a trilogy "that would have the grounded, gun-metal realism of, say, Damon's Jason Bourne series tethered to the unsettling end-times vibe of AMC's 'The Walking Dead.'"
Check out the most recent trailer below.
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