World War Z is based on the book by Max Brooks, which is a challenge, since the book covers a lot of ground in a story which is not exactly chronological, appearing as the personal account of one journalist covering the end of the world.
It’s tough not just because of the chronology and format, however, as the protagonist of the book is also much removed from the action, reporting on it much more than performing any actual action. Of course, the film will have been written to be more action-oriented, but that means the it will be very far removed from the source material.
For Pitt, the film is a chance at getting a major action series under his belt. For all of his professional accomplishments, he has yet to anchor a dynamic franchise. World War Z could be to Pitt what Mission Impossible is to Tom Cruise or what Bourne Identity is to Matt Damon. We’re in a time when Hollywood is starting to turn away from using sequels as base money printers with no real budget or talent behind them, and instead recognizes that a big franchise of films with a consistent quality can be the best money maker of all. We all have Marvel to thank for that lesson.
Also: There will be zombies. Zombies are big right now, and a movie about zombies with Brad Pitt in it will certainly see at least a great first weekend. The most unique part of the project, however, is that it’s not trying to subvert the genre at all. In a media landscape which is currently saturated with zombie subversions, everything from zombie comedies (what I’ve been sardonically calling ‘zombedies’) to zombie romances (‘zombances’ doesn’t have quite the same ring, however), it’s ironically sort of refreshing to see a straight-up zombie disaster film.
Paramount has enough confidence in it that they’ve picked up a 30-second spot during the Super Bowl. Not a cheap proposition by any means. They don’t seem to mind if we all take a look at the spot in advance however:
The films official synopsis is thus:
Based on Max Brooks’ best-selling novel “World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War,” the story revolves around United Nations employee Gerry Lane (Pitt), who traverses the world in a race against time to stop the Zombie pandemic that is toppling armies and governments and threatening to decimate humanity itself.
World War Z is slated for wide theatrical release on June 21, 2013.