World War Z Has Made Enough Money to Get Itself a Sequel. Please, God, No.
I saw World War Z over the weekend. I’m a big fan of the book, and the way the trailers made the movie look completely different threw me off quite a bit. But I tried to give the movie the benefit of the doubt. It added a main character where there wasn’t one before, sure, but that doesn’t necessarily torpedo its quality. And if the trailers make Brad Pitt’s Gerry look like a boring, cookie-cutter, man-has-to-save-humanity-and-also-get-back-to-his-family protagonist… well, it would hardly be the first time a trailer misrepresented its movie. World War Z might not be a good adaptation of the book, but it still could have been a good movie by itself.
But lo, it wasn’t. There were some good bits, but on the whole it was an unremarkable movie. And now it’s getting a sequel. And we’ve found out what the original—better, in my view—ending to the movie was. You can taste the wasted potential.
First, regarding the sequel: In just a few days it’s made $111.8 million worldwide against its $190 million budget, which is more than enough for Paramount to start developing another one. World War Z was originally conceived as a trilogy before its much-discussed production troubles started to kick in, anyway. Indeed, the end of the movie sees the war against the zombies really start to kick off, a sort of [movie spoiler] “camouflage” vaccine for the not-yet-undead having been discovered. So there’s plenty of story still to tell, and plenty of rea$on$ to tell it.
But I don’t have to like it, darnit.
One of the aforementioned roadblocks the film ran into is that the studio didn’t like the original ending, which led to extensive reshoots. Now, thanks to Movies.com, we know about that orignal—much darker—third act. You can read the whole thing at the link, but here are a few highlights: Gerry was conscripted into zombie-killing service in Russia, his wife was forced to “trade her body” (ew, no, lowlight) to Matthew Fox‘s character so he’d keep her kids safe at a refugee camp, and there was a massive human-vs-zombies set piece called “Battle of Red Square.” Oh, and for book readers, the Lobos (a perfect zombie-killing weapon) put in an appearance. [Movie spoiler] A happy reunion between Brad Pitt and his smiling, safe family was nowhere to be found.
It’s not a perfect ending by any means, but at least it’s unexpected.
Screw world peace. If a genie grants me three wishes, I’m making one of ’em that World War Z retroactively gets adapted into a HBO mockumentary miniseries instead of a by-the-numbers popcorn movie. The world peace wish never works out, anyway.
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