Now that the third season of “The Walking Dead” is wrapped up for the spring, the zombie apocalypse will have to wait a few months before we can get our next fix. And what a season it was, too – according to www.direct.tv, last year’s season premiere collected 10.9 million viewers, and the series rode this momentum all the way to Sunday’s finale, which rated second only to “Sunday Night Football” in ratings with the 18-49 demographic.
Now we’re left with a two-months-and-change wait until “World War Z” hits theaters. The epic zombie thriller, based on the novel by Max Brooks and staring Brad Pitt, opens in June, and the recently released theatrical trailer gives us a good look at what to expect on the big screen. From what we can see in just more than 120 seconds, it’s going to be a wild ride.
The Zombies are on Steroids
Can we even call them zombies at this point? The monsters seen in the trailer hardly resemble the lurking creatures from Brooks’ novel; these new specimens run faster, jump higher and are so aggressive they resemble a large crowd that’s overdosed on bath salts, rather than what we’d recognize from “Night of the Living Dead.” Not that we’re complaining – bigger, faster and stronger always works better for the big screen, compared to what works in print.
Brad Pitt’s in a New Role
This is the first movie where Pitt plays an apocalyptic “action hero,” which could be a hit or miss casting choice considering he’s more known for his good looks and his charm rather than the believability that he could chop down herds of zombies. Then again, Gerry Lane (the protagonist played by Pitt) was never intending to be Rambo of the zombie world. It’s tough to see which direction Pitt will take the character, and whether or not he’ll make any of the top mistakes people make in zombie movies.
We Might Miss the Social Commentary
“WWZ” the novel is less about the zombies and more about the geo-political ramifications concerning a potential outbreak—how the world would handle, treat and regard others if such an event occurred. In a sense, the “Z” in the title might as well be a “3,” because the zombie outbreak is merely a catalyst for the next world war. Some nations respond no differently than if they were reacting to a nuclear strike, and this is what makes the story so unique and compelling. It remains to be seen if this is one of those stories that’s better told in print.
There Will Be Lots and Lots of Action
So, if we’re not getting the social commentary, then something else has to take its place. “WWZ” director Marc Forster (“Quantum of Solace,” “Monster’s Ball”) isn’t holding back when it comes to action, explosions and overwhelming hoards of CGI-created zombies. If you’re a fan of the books, it might be best to separate the movie from Max Brooks’ novel, because the two are going to be radically different (and there’s nothing wrong with that). Come June 21, just grab your popcorn and get ready for the roller coaster.