Paramount’s World War Z movie adaptation is a strong contender that should put up a good fight in the battle for box office supremacy during the 2013 Summer Blockbuster season. However, assuming that actually happens, it will be despite the film bearing only a cosmetic resemblance to its acclaimed source material, a much-publicized troubled production that included long reshoots and third act script rewrites, and a marketing campaign that refuses to acknowledge what the ‘Z’ in the title stands for (spoiler: it’s for Zombie).
Case in point: we have a new World War Z featurette that combines what is primarily just previously-released trailer footage and interviews with director Marc Forster (Quantum of Solace), in addition to the leads Brad Pitt and Mireille Enos (The Killing), talking up the globe-trotting action-thriller as the ultimate summer experience, in which Pitt must save the world from… some kind of epidemic that makes people run around en masse like human tidal waves.
The sheer amount of action and set pieces – not to mention lines of dialogue like “Mother Nature is a serial killer, no one’s better” – featured in the World War Z footage released so far, seems enough to provide a fair assessment of the movie. Basically, Forster and the screenwriter Matthew Michael Carnahan (The Kingdom, Lions for Lambs) are mostly passing on the socio-political commentary in Max Brooks’ source novel, with the cinematic interpretation being something that calls more for popcorn-munching than thought.
Basically, Pitt’s World War Z looks to be to Brooks’ book what Will Smith’s I, Robot is to Isaac Asimov’s source novel – and, in all fairness, there are much worse types of blockbusters out there. Take it or leave it at that.
World War Z opens in U.S. theaters on June 21st, 2013.