It’s been four years since we first heard that Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes were adapting the comic book “Zombies vs. Robots.” It seemed like a perfect combination for a studio that’s given us mostly horror remakes and the director of the Transformers movies. Finally, it’s now moving forward with an Oscar-nominated director: Andrew Adamson. His prestige comes in the form of the Academy’s recognition of Shrek 2, which he helmed with Kelly Asbury and Conrad Vernon (though Adamson was the only one credited for the honor), as one of the best animated features of 2004. He also co-directed the first Shrek, with Vicky Jenson, which won the first Oscar for Best Animated Feature, but that honor and statuette went only to producer Aron Warner. Since the sequel, damson has made two Chronicles of Narnia movies, the Cirque du Soleil film World’s Away and the New Zealand war drama called Mr. Pip, which released quietly in the US last fall.
In addition to the news of the directorial hire, which comes via Variety, there’s also word that the movie is no longer called “Zombies vs. Robots.” Never mind that that’s the name of the property it’s based on. And really never mind that it’s such a perfect, straight-to-the-point title that fits with a modern trend for simplistically descriptive titles for the most high concept releases. So, what is the new title? Inherit the Earth. Yep, instead of something that tells us plainly that the movie is about zombies fighting robots, they’re going with something that sounds like a drama about the nearly century-old Scopes “Monkey” Trial and the debate of creation vs. evolution (at least there’s a “vs.” in there). It’s also the title of a ’90s computer game involving a future filled with anthropomorphic animals and a 2002 documentary about Pope John-Paul II’s visit to Israel.
Scripted by Oren Uziel (22 Jump Street), rewriting JT Perry’s original spec script from 2011. Perry is the one who actually named the movie Inherit the Earth, which he based off the cooler-titled comic created by Chris Ryall and Ashley Wood. The plot centers on a little girl (an infant in the comics) who is the last human in the world, and she’s protected from intelligent zombies who’ve taken over the planet by an army of mechanical men. Why bother so much in keeping her alive when she has no one to propagate with and therefore our species is already kaput despite her existence? I guess there’s always the hope of finding one other person also surviving somewhere. But also that’s such a secondary question compared to the one I can’t let go regarding why, why, why have they changed the name of this property. Well, I’m going to keep calling it “Zombies vs. Robots” anyway.