World War Z is one of my favorite books. It’s brilliant, not just as a piece of genre fiction but as socio-political satire. The movie version starring Brad Pitt which was released in 2013 is an abomination and no recent movie has broken my heart the way that World War Z did. Brad Pitt could film himself farting in a jar for two hours straight and it would still be a better movie than World War Z. I’m not arguing about this—the movie is terrible. Even leaving aside how it sh*ts all over its most excellent source material, the action is generic with unmemorable characters, and the ending is grafted from an entirely different movie all together. The only good part of WWZ is the scene on the tarmac with the soldiers—coincidentally the only part to survive from John Michael Straczynski’s original, brilliant script.
So of course there is going to be a sequel, because the first movie managed, against all odds, to make money. (Although I would like to see the final balance sheet because it cost way more to make than Paramount is admitting.) I generally think audiences are pretty smart, but the success of WWZ makes me think everyone put their intelligence on hold the weekend it came out and went to see that movie in a collective fugue. But fugue or not people did see it and now I have to have my poor, broken heart dragged back through the fast-zombie muck as the sequel is due in 2017.
It will be directed by Spanish director Juan Antonio Bayona, who has legit horror roots, so that’s a step up, at least, and Brad Pitt will return as Some Guy. Seriously, all the memorable characters in the book and they invent a new guy whose defining characteristic is his scarf. But the sequel is allegedly pushing reset. The screenwriter, Steven Knight, said in an interview that they’re “starting with a clean slate”. Does this mean we can pretend like World War Z never happened, and get the proper adaptation we deserve? If so, I’M IN. I’m willing to try again, WWZ, just promise me it won’t be like last time.
Here’s Brad Pitt in New York last night.