More zombies indeed!
Surfing an endless wave of popularity for the undead, who frankly would otherwise have a hard time getting invites to parties, World War Z, starring Brad Pitt, and based on the gripping book, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks (yes son of Mel) has finally bowed a trailer, and what an impressive piece of work it is.
It is one of those rare modern trailers that entices and intrigues (and scares just a little … or a lot depending on your predilection for watching hordes of the undead run rampant) without completely giving the game away.
Beginning with one of those happy family scenes that fairly screams “Doom is upon you all!”, it shows Gerry Lanes (Brad Pitt) caught in typical New York bumper-to-bumper traffic, doing what looks a school run with his two kids in back and his wife Karen (Mireille Enos) next to him engaging in a playful game of “I Spy”.
And then of course it all goes to crap in spectacular fashion.
What works so well for the trailer is that while we all know World War Z is going to be a scary story – I mean it’s about zombies right so it’s hardly going to be a heartwarming tale of puppies and Care Bears – the trailer doesn’t seek to over play it.
Yes I know a Hollywood trailer that simply let the scariness speak for itself.
And lordy does it ever!
When you first sees the murderously hungry waves of fast-moving zombies, that wouldn’t know a shuffle if they tripped over it and a limb fell off, you realise very quickly what a nightmarish threat they are.
They don’t possess that vague, lost look that zombies in pop culture have traditionally had, most recently in AMC’s The Walking Dead.
No, these zombies are predatory who react almost instantly, and with frightening speed when they spot potential prey, and the change from zombies we know and love was quite deliberate according to the film’s Visual Effects Supervisor, John Nelson, quoted on inquisitor.com:
“They are like predatory animals that can’t control themselves. I worked with tigers [while shooting Gladiator], and if you watch them when a horse goes by they go batty, even if they know they can’t reach it. When Zs see humans they do same thing, they activate. They launch themselves.
“Everyone has seen everything in this genre. So of course we looked to try to find something new. And we have some.
“[Our zombies] move like birds or school of fish, too, in reactive formations, and it’s not because they have a higher level of [shared] thinking or communication – it’s about their nature and the fact that their instinct to infect is so basic, efficient, and overpowering. They will go through anything. If they lose both legs, they will walk on their hands. They lock in and they’re like salmon going upstream or sperm swimming to be the first to egg.”
And they are truly terrifying.
Watching the trailer it becomes very clear, very VERY quickly that if you don’t react instantly, you are dead, overrun by hordes who know nothing else but attacking, eating and infecting.
Of course we’ve all seen trailers before that have dazzled and beguiled for movies that have turned out to be turkeys big enough to feed whole towns at Thanksgiving.
And World War Z, directed by Marc Forster, has had more than its share of “gobble gobble” talk unfortunately.
Filmed in the northern hemisphere summer of 2011, it was supposed to be out in cinemas around about now, but that slot was discarded in favour of a June 2013 release amid reports of disagreements between Marc Forster and Brad Pitt, who also acted as the producer of the film, and a rewrite of the climactic final third of the film by Damon Lindelof of Lost fame. (You can read the full story on vulture.com.)
Ostensibly the studio releasing the movie, Paramount, is declaring the rewrite and reshoots a sterling success but then they would say that wouldn’t they?
One of vulture.com’s “production spies” had this to say about the problem’s plaguing the movie:
“The studio is cultivating multiple options. One is to try scrapping [the ending] and trying something different: They want to construct an entirely new ending to the movie. The other is to try salvaging it, because decent action can be elevated, and even shitty action can be saved. This is not an unmitigated disaster; it is salvageable.”
I can only hope that it is not only “salvageable” but will end up every bit as amazing as the trailer leads you to believe it could be.
For now I will choose to believe it will a spectacular success and if for any reason it ends up looking like a candidate for a good roasting with a side of pumpkin mash, then I will simply watch the trailer over and over and dream of what might have been.
Oh and think about investing in a good pair of sneakers.
Just in case, you know, zombies are actually faster than I anticipated …