Most anyone who's read Max Brooks' 2006 apocalyptic novel "World War Z" has been excited since hearing that it's being adapted for the big screen. Despite a complete oversaturation of Zombies in the last few years (I'll still take that over sparkling Vampires), fans seemed relieved to hear the movie would stay pure as possible to the book, was supported by an all-star cast and a hefty Hollywood budget and would be produced by none-other than the movie's leading character, Brad Pitt. However one thing we all know is that any movie can fail - and if the rumors are true, World War Z might be a full on, 50 foot free-fall belly flop onto wet pavement.
According to the project's screenwriter, Damon Lindelof in the June Issue of Vanity Fair, the project has hit disastrous proportions, including being over-budget by 50 million, troubles with inexperienced director Marc Forester, last minute re-writes, and incoherent storylines. We're not just talking minor script changes either - it was realized after filming was finished, that the entire 40 minute ending was "abrupt and incoherent".
“I said to them, There are two roads to go down here,” says Lindelof. “Is there material that can be written to make that stuff work better? To have it make sense? To have it have emotional stakes? And plot logic and all that? And Road Two, which I think is the long-shot road, is that everything changes after Brad leaves Israel.” That meant throwing out the entire Russian battle scene—or about 12 minutes of footage—and crafting a new ending.
So production threw out an expensive 12-minute ending to reshoot an additional 30-40 minutes of the film within a 3 week time frame, along with other reshoots & changes. Ouch. It appears the movie we'll get to see will have little resemblance to the book we all know and love. Now that in itself does not condemn the film - who knows, the new ending & direction could work phenomenally in movie form - let's just hope it doesn't take the familiar path of substituting logical story for CGI effects & visuals.
All this does not mean the film is going to blow chunks -there's been MANY excellent movies to come back from disastrous productions (Jaws, anyone?) However, now that we know this PG-13 rated movie bears little resemblance to the book we WANTED to see, I suppose the question really is: Do we care? I don't know about you, but I'm pretty "Zombified" out - and I NEVER thought I would say THAT. Without the book, I'm unsure as to what this movie can offer that literally hundreds of other zombie films haven't already done, other than add stupid amounts of pricy CGI. Throw in the ridiculous cost of tickets these days, I'm most likely adopting a "wait and see" approach - I would rather donate the cost of my tickets to a deserving Indie Horror Film maker if the movie can't stand on its own.
Business Insider claims in order for World War Z to be a financial success, it needs to surpass $100 million domestically & $400 Million worldwide to compensate for its current estimated budget of $250 million - a figure that makes it one of the most expensive zombie films ever made.
World War Z is set to be released in theaters on June 14th. Is it worth seeing? I guess we'll see. Until then, take another look at the latest trailer, released back in March.