It’d be beating a dead horse to gripe about Hollywood’s reliance on sequels, prequels, and adaptations, but not all is right in the world with the recent release of the trailer for the World War Z adaption from star and producer Brad Pitt. I don’t have a problem with Hollywood bringing books and other previously existing media to the screen – hell, I like it most of the time. It’s cool to see a cinematic translation of something you know and enjoy.
Therein lies the rub with the World War Z trailer. It doesn’t appear to be a translation of something people know and enjoy. I say “people” and not myself since I actually found World War Z to be a fairly big disappointment, but that doesn’t mean I wasn’t hoping for an excellent zombie movie, based however it may be on the failed execution of a great premise.
It’s not always wise to judge a movie by its trailer, but from our first look it seems Hollywood has screwed the pooch in the most Hollywood way imaginable.
It’s a joke within communities that enjoy films and know about the process how badly a film can change from script to screen. Sometimes that can be a good thing, but often you’ll see a promising action film get turned into a non-sensical Die Hard adventure or an awesome, action packed zombie epic get turned into Torque. That last one is completely made up, but it could happen!
The point is, Hollywood will often snatch up a property and then just make the movie they were planning on anyways. While I’m not a fan of World War Z, I am a fan of the idea and some of the stuff contained within. The book takes a rather bleak look at the world during a global zombie pandemic. The creatures slowly consume virtually the entire world as a series of stories are told to a reporter. The book is unlike many modern takes on the zombie apocalypse, which mostly focus on the immediate happenings or people already long living in the aftermath. World War Z sought to explore the transition period on a grand scale. Neat idea! Could make for an excellent film.
But then we get the Brad Pitt produced trailer which swapped out the reporter, the shared stories, the slow pandemic, and all that awesomeness and replaced it with a guy looking for a cure to fast moving waves of zombies. It looks more like a sequel to the abysmal I Am Legend adaption (which was likewise ruined in this same manner), than a version of the book.
So the question becomes – why? Why must Hollywood do this? I understand the idea of putting a known name on a project to get people interested, but you can’t put “Coca-Cola” on a jar of Peanut Butter and expect anyone to be happy. If you want to make a fast ass zombie movie, make one. Cool. People like horror movies. If you want to make World War Z, then make World War Z. It’s that simple. You don’t buy the plans for a stagecoach and then build a boxcar out of the parts. Or, I guess you could, in which case you get a shitty hybrid that can’t compete with other boxcars and leaves stagecoach aficionados wanting. Is that the weirdest analogy ever or what?
The long and short of it is Hollywood just pulled a major Hollywood. They bought a fairly unique and interesting property and instead of making a unique and interesting movie, they just slapped the title on the same old shit. It’s maddening. It’s non-sensical. It pushes me past my boiling point.