Saturday, July 13, 2013

World War Z is a 2013 apocalyptic movie directed by Marc Forster. The screenplay byMatthew Michael Carnahan is based on the 2006 novel of the same name by Max Brooks. The film stars Brad Pitt as Gerry Lane, a former United Nations investigator who must travel the world to find a way to stop a zombie-like pandemic.[4]
Pitt's Plan B Entertainment secured the film rights in 2007 and Forster was approached to direct. In 2009, Carnahan was hired to rewrite the script to the film. Filming began in July 2011 in Malta on an estimated $125 million budget, before moving to Glasgow in August 2011 and Budapest in October 2011. Originally set for a December 2012 release, the production suffered some setbacks. In June 2012, the film's release date was pushed back and the crew returned to Budapest for seven weeks of additional shooting. Damon Lindelof was hired to rewrite the third act, but did not have the time to finish the script andDrew Goddard was hired to rewrite it. The reshoots took place between September and October 2012.
World War Z premiered in London on June 2, 2013 and was chosen to open the 35th Moscow International Film Festival. The film was released on June 21, 2013 in the United States in 2D and RealD 3D.

Plot[edit]

Former UN employee Gerry Lane and his family sit in heavy traffic in Philadelphia while the radio reports on a rabies outbreak that has spread internationally. After hearing explosions they are attacked by masses of zombies. Those bitten are transformed into zombies after 12 seconds. As the attacks continue, the Lanes narrowly escape to an apartment complex, to wait for extraction by a helicopter sent by Gerry's former UN colleague, the Deputy Secretary-General Thierry Umutoni.
After a brief struggle in which Gerry is almost infected, the Lanes reach the helicopter and are taken to a U.S. Navy vessel off the coast of New York City, where a team of analysts and military personnel are analyzing the scope of the worldwide outbreak. A virologist, Dr. Andrew Fassbach, argues that the plague is a virus, whose origin must be found in order for a vaccine to be developed. Because of his expertise as a former UN investigator, Gerry is tasked with helping investigate the virus and help Fassbach find the outbreak's source. After the Navy threatens to kick Gerry and his family off the ship if he does not help, Gerry reluctantly agrees to fly to Camp Humphreys, a military base in South Korea where the word "zombie" was supposedly first used in reference to the outbreak. Before he leaves he tells his family goodbye giving his wife a satellite phone so they can keep contact.
Arriving at the base, they are attacked and Fassbach accidentally discharges his weapon, killing himself. At the base, Gerry learns from the survivors that the zombies are attracted to noise. The leader also informs Gerry of a local who bit the base doctor, and shows him to a room of incinerated bodies, where the soldiers first saw the outbreak. Gunter Haffner, a former CIA operative imprisoned for treason, tells Gerry to go to Jerusalem, where the Israeli Mossad had established a safe zone just before the outbreak was officially acknowledged, implying Israel might have had prior knowledge. Gerry and the soldiers return to stealthily refuel the plane but Karin calls Gerry and the noise of the phone attracts the infected. Gerry and his pilot barely escape but several soldiers are killed.
In Jerusalem, Gerry meets Mossad leader Jurgen Warmbrunn, who explains that Mossad had months earlier intercepted communications from an army general in India, who stated that Indian troops were fighting the "rakshasa". With this knowledge and using a policy implemented to prevent Israel being caught off guard, known as the "10th Man", the country quarantined itself. Though quarantined Israel allowed uninfected civilians, regardless of nationality, to enter. Due to loud noises coming from within the zone, the thousands of infected outside begin to run climbing onto and over each other, eventually breaching the wall. During the chaos, Gerry notices several civilians who are completely ignored by the zombies, including an old man and an emaciated boy. While they are escaping, one of Gerry's escort soldiers, Segen, is bitten. Gerry immediately amputates her hand in time to prevent her from being infected. Gerry's pilot flies away during the chaos, so Gerry and Segen are forced to escape from Jerusalem on an airliner.
Contacting Thierry, they are diverted to a WHO research facility in Cardiff, Wales. While still in the air, a stowaway zombie emerges from the galley elevator and begins attacking passengers. Just as the plane is about to be overrun with zombies, Gerry detonates a hand grenade. The explosion blasts a hole into the side of the plane, which sucks out many of the zombies and causes the plane to crash. An injured Segen and Gerry emerge as the only apparent survivors of the crash.
After arriving at the facility, Gerry reveals his theory: that the infected do not bite people who are seriously injured or already terminally ill, since they would be unsuitable as hosts for viral reproduction. He volunteers to inject himself with a terminal but curable pathogen on himself to see if his idea works. However, the wing in which the pathogens are stored was overrun with infected, after a doctor accidentally infected himself and then his colleagues. Gerry fights his way through the zombies into the pathogen storage vault, injects himself with a sample, and successfully returns to the main lab without being attacked. Seeing that his "camouflage" theory works, the doctors rejoice and immediately treat him.
Gerry returns to his family, now relocated to a safe zone at Freeport, Nova Scotia. A "vaccine" derived from deadly pathogens is developed that can act as camouflage for the troops battling the infected, and for fleeing civilians. As human offensives begin against the zombies, humanity now has hope, but Gerry notes that, "This isn't the end, not even close."

Development[edit]

"This whole thing started because I just wanted to do a film that my boys could see before they turned 18 — one that they would like, anyways. And they love a zombie."
— Pitt on his involvement in the film[16]
After a bidding war with Leonardo DiCaprio's production company Appian Way, Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment secured the screen rights to the novel in 2007.[17] The screenplay was written by Babylon 5and Rising Stars creator J. Michael Straczynski, who identified the challenge in adapting the work as "creating a main character out of a book that reads as a UN Report on the zombie wars."[18] Marc Forstersigned on to direct, and described the film as reminiscent of 1970s conspiracy thrillers like All the President's Men.[19] Straczynski, however, identified 2002 spy film The Bourne Identity as an appropriate comparison, and noted that the film would have a large international scope which maintained the political emphasis.[20] When asked about his involvement with the film, author Max Brooks stated that he had "zero control", but favored a role for Brad Pitt,[21] and expressed approval for Straczynski as screenwriter.[22][23]Brooks said: "I can't give it away, but Straczynski found a way to tie it all together. The last draft I read was amazing."[24]
An early script was leaked onto the Internet in March 2008. Ain't It Cool News' review of the script called it "[not] just a good adaptation of a difficult book [but] a genre-defining piece of work that could well see us all arguing about whether or not a zombie movie qualifies as 'Best Picture' material". The review also noted the film appears stylistically similar to Children of Men, following Gerry Lane as he travels the post-war world and interviews survivors of the zombie war who are "starting to wonder if survival is a victory of any kind."[25]Straczynski had hoped that the film would begin production by the start of 2009.[20] In March 2009, Forster said that the script was still in development and he was not sure if World War Z would be his next film.[26] Later in March, rumors surfaced that production offices were set up and the film was in early pre-production.[27] In June 2009, Marc Forster told an interviewer that the film would be delayed, stating that the film's script still needs a lot of development and is "still far from realization".[28]
In July 2009, Brooks revealed that the script was being re-written by Matthew Michael Carnahan. Brooks believed that this "show[ed] [the producer's] confidence in this project" because of the amount of money that was being invested in it.[29] Paramount Pictures andUTV Motion Pictures announced at the 2010 Comic-Con that Forster was set as director, and Brad Pitt was confirmed to play the lead role.[30] In March 2011, it was reported that Paramount was searching for co-financier, and would likely pull the plug on the adaptation without one.[31] The article also stated that "an eleventh-hour effort is being made to court frequent Paramount co-financier David Ellison." A week later, it was reported that "hot and heavy talks are going on with David Ellison's Skydance and as many as two other financiers."[32]

Pre-production[edit]

Pre-production began in April 2011 with Robert Richardson announced as the cinematographer.[33] In the same month it was reported that filming locations would include Pinewood Studios and London, England.[34] Also in April, Mireille Enos was cast as Brad Pitt’s wife and mother of their two children.[6] In June 2011, James Badge Dale entered negotiations to join the film as an American soldier who tries to alert authorities that the zombie threat is real.[7] It was also reported that filming would begin in Malta in July 2011 and would encompass Valletta and The Three Cities.[35] A few days later Matthew Fox and Ed Harris entered talks while Julia Levy-Boeken was set to join the film.[9] The same day Lucy Aharish joined the cast as a young Palestinian woman.[15] It was also reported that filming would also take place in Glasgow, Scotland in August 2011.[36] Glasgow would double as Philadelphia, "with false shop fronts being constructed and American cars on the roads."[37] The city was reportedly chosen after "many months looking for the perfect city centre location to play an important part in the film."[36] Philadelphia was passed on due to "uncertainties about state tax credits for filmmakers."[38] Filming was originally planned to take place in Royal Tunbridge Wells, England before moving to Glasgow.[39] Later in June, visual effects house Cinesite announced that it would work on “a significant amount of shots”.[40] At the end of the month it was reported that neither Matthew Fox nor Ed Harris would be starring in the film despite previous reports: Fox had a scheduling conflict stemming from his prior commitment to star in Alex Cross with Tyler Perry at Summit Entertainment.[41] Fox was later spotted, filming scenes in Falmouth, Cornwall.[42]

Filming[edit]

Filming in Glasgow, August 2011
On a budget of $125 million,[31] World War Z began principal photography in July 2011 in Malta, with the first images of production being released a few days later.[5] Filming was set to move to Glasgow, Scotland in August with the production company looking to recruit 2,000 local extras for the shoot.[43] At least 3,000 people showed up at a casting call in Glasgow on July 9, hoping for the opportunity to appear in a scene set in a financial district in Philadelphia.[44] Scenes were also shot in Falmouth, Cornwall.[45] Also in July 2011,Game of Thrones actor Elyes Gabel was cast as a character named Fassbach.[12]
In August 2011, Bryan Cranston entered negotiations to join the film in a "small but flashy" role, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Also in August, filming was set to take place along a road on the perimeter of the Grangemouth Refinery in Grangemouth, Scotland. The location was chosen for the length of the road which is crucial to the shot.[46] A few days later Paramount announced the film would be released on December 21, 2012.[47]Later in the same month, filming began in Glasgow. The location manager for the film said Glasgow had been chosen because of its architecture, wide roads and grid layout.[48] Scenes were also filmed aboard the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA Argus, before the Glasgow shoot. The ship was turned into the "USS Madison", which involved stenciling a new pennant number on to the funnel, as well as adding some American symbolism to the superstructure. Steven McMenemy, the Argus's navigator said, "The ship sailed and we were joined by four small catamarans which were being used as markers for the cameras, so that warships could be added in with CGI later."[49] In October 2011, David Morse was cast as a "prisoner living in an abandoned jail."[8]
The filmmakers initially intended to film a climactic battle scene set in Russia, and the crew moved to Budapest to film it there for17 days.[50] Filming in Budapest commenced on the evening of October 10, 2011.[51] That morning, the Hungarian Counter Terrorism Centre raided the warehouse where guns had been delivered for use as filming props.[51] The 85 assault rifles, sniper rifles, and handguns had been flown into Budapest overnight on a private aircraft, but the film's producers had failed to clear the delivery with Hungarian authorities, and while the import documentation indicated that the weapons had been disabled, all were found to be fully functional.[51][52] On February 10, 2012, the charges were dropped after investigators were unable to identify exactly which "organization or person" had "ownership rights"; therefore they could not "establish which party was criminally liable".[53]

Post-production[edit]

In May 2012, it was reported that production would return to Budapest for seven weeks of additional shooting.[54] The following month, screenwriter Damon Lindelof was hired to rewrite the film's third act with reshoots scheduled to begin in September or October 2012.[55]However Lindelof, who also reworked Prometheus and co-wrote Star Trek Into Darkness, did not have time to script the new ending and in July 2012, Paramount hired Lindelof's Lost partner, Drew Goddard.[56] Lindelof explained there were inefficiencies in the script in relation to the shooting, which started before the script was finalized thus making the ending "abrupt and incoherent" and was missing a large chunk of footage. Lindelof presented two options to executives, who ultimately chose to shoot 30 to 40 minutes of additional footage to make a coherent ending. The re-shoots coupled with other overages caused the budget to balloon to around $200 million, which shocked Paramount president Marc Evans.[2] Several of the scenes shot in Budapest, including a large-scale battle with the zombies in Moscow's Red Square,[57] were dropped from the final cut in order to water down the film's political undertones, and steer it towards a more generally friendly summer blockbuster.[58] The climactic battle scene in Russia, for which there was 12 minutes of footage, had Pitt's character fighting through zombies more like "a warrior hero" than "the sympathetic family man" of the earlier acts. The second-unit director, Simon Crane, said, "It wasn't character-driven anymore... [The filmmakers] really needed to think about what they wanted to do with the third act."[50]
In March 2013, it was reported that Paramount changed a scene in the film in which the characters speculate that the zombie outbreak originated in mainland China in hopes of landing a distribution deal in the country.[59] However, an executive familiar with upcoming releases in China later told The Wrap in June 2013 that a cut of the film was rejected by Chinese censors. A Paramount executive contended that he was "unware of any rejection", explaining, "We have submitted one version and have yet to receive a response."

Development[edit]

"This whole thing started because I just wanted to do a film that my boys could see before they turned 18 — one that they would like, anyways. And they love a zombie."
— Pitt on his involvement in the film[16]
After a bidding war with Leonardo DiCaprio's production company Appian Way, Brad Pitt's Plan B Entertainment secured the screen rights to the novel in 2007.[17] The screenplay was written by Babylon 5and Rising Stars creator J. Michael Straczynski, who identified the challenge in adapting the work as "creating a main character out of a book that reads as a UN Report on the zombie wars."[18] Marc Forstersigned on to direct, and described the film as reminiscent of 1970s conspiracy thrillers like All the President's Men.[19] Straczynski, however, identified 2002 spy film The Bourne Identity as an appropriate comparison, and noted that the film would have a large international scope which maintained the political emphasis.[20] When asked about his involvement with the film, author Max Brooks stated that he had "zero control", but favored a role for Brad Pitt,[21] and expressed approval for Straczynski as screenwriter.[22][23]Brooks said: "I can't give it away, but Straczynski found a way to tie it all together. The last draft I read was amazing."[24]
An early script was leaked onto the Internet in March 2008. Ain't It Cool News' review of the script called it "[not] just a good adaptation of a difficult book [but] a genre-defining piece of work that could well see us all arguing about whether or not a zombie movie qualifies as 'Best Picture' material". The review also noted the film appears stylistically similar to Children of Men, following Gerry Lane as he travels the post-war world and interviews survivors of the zombie war who are "starting to wonder if survival is a victory of any kind."[25]Straczynski had hoped that the film would begin production by the start of 2009.[20] In March 2009, Forster said that the script was still in development and he was not sure if World War Z would be his next film.[26] Later in March, rumors surfaced that production offices were set up and the film was in early pre-production.[27] In June 2009, Marc Forster told an interviewer that the film would be delayed, stating that the film's script still needs a lot of development and is "still far from realization".[28]
In July 2009, Brooks revealed that the script was being re-written by Matthew Michael Carnahan. Brooks believed that this "show[ed] [the producer's] confidence in this project" because of the amount of money that was being invested in it.[29] Paramount Pictures andUTV Motion Pictures announced at the 2010 Comic-Con that Forster was set as director, and Brad Pitt was confirmed to play the lead role.[30] In March 2011, it was reported that Paramount was searching for co-financier, and would likely pull the plug on the adaptation without one.[31] The article also stated that "an eleventh-hour effort is being made to court frequent Paramount co-financier David Ellison." A week later, it was reported that "hot and heavy talks are going on with David Ellison's Skydance and as many as two other financiers."[32]

Pre-production[edit]

Pre-production began in April 2011 with Robert Richardson announced as the cinematographer.[33] In the same month it was reported that filming locations would include Pinewood Studios and London, England.[34] Also in April, Mireille Enos was cast as Brad Pitt’s wife and mother of their two children.[6] In June 2011, James Badge Dale entered negotiations to join the film as an American soldier who tries to alert authorities that the zombie threat is real.[7] It was also reported that filming would begin in Malta in July 2011 and would encompass Valletta and The Three Cities.[35] A few days later Matthew Fox and Ed Harris entered talks while Julia Levy-Boeken was set to join the film.[9] The same day Lucy Aharish joined the cast as a young Palestinian woman.[15] It was also reported that filming would also take place in Glasgow, Scotland in August 2011.[36] Glasgow would double as Philadelphia, "with false shop fronts being constructed and American cars on the roads."[37] The city was reportedly chosen after "many months looking for the perfect city centre location to play an important part in the film."[36] Philadelphia was passed on due to "uncertainties about state tax credits for filmmakers."[38] Filming was originally planned to take place in Royal Tunbridge Wells, England before moving to Glasgow.[39] Later in June, visual effects house Cinesite announced that it would work on “a significant amount of shots”.[40] At the end of the month it was reported that neither Matthew Fox nor Ed Harris would be starring in the film despite previous reports: Fox had a scheduling conflict stemming from his prior commitment to star in Alex Cross with Tyler Perry at Summit Entertainment.[41] Fox was later spotted, filming scenes in Falmouth, Cornwall.[42]

Filming[edit]

Filming in Glasgow, August 2011
On a budget of $125 million,[31] World War Z began principal photography in July 2011 in Malta, with the first images of production being released a few days later.[5] Filming was set to move to Glasgow, Scotland in August with the production company looking to recruit 2,000 local extras for the shoot.[43] At least 3,000 people showed up at a casting call in Glasgow on July 9, hoping for the opportunity to appear in a scene set in a financial district in Philadelphia.[44] Scenes were also shot in Falmouth, Cornwall.[45] Also in July 2011,Game of Thrones actor Elyes Gabel was cast as a character named Fassbach.[12]
In August 2011, Bryan Cranston entered negotiations to join the film in a "small but flashy" role, but had to drop out due to scheduling conflicts. Also in August, filming was set to take place along a road on the perimeter of the Grangemouth Refinery in Grangemouth, Scotland. The location was chosen for the length of the road which is crucial to the shot.[46] A few days later Paramount announced the film would be released on December 21, 2012.[47]Later in the same month, filming began in Glasgow. The location manager for the film said Glasgow had been chosen because of its architecture, wide roads and grid layout.[48] Scenes were also filmed aboard the Royal Fleet Auxiliary ship RFA Argus, before the Glasgow shoot. The ship was turned into the "USS Madison", which involved stenciling a new pennant number on to the funnel, as well as adding some American symbolism to the superstructure. Steven McMenemy, the Argus's navigator said, "The ship sailed and we were joined by four small catamarans which were being used as markers for the cameras, so that warships could be added in with CGI later."[49] In October 2011, David Morse was cast as a "prisoner living in an abandoned jail."[8]
The filmmakers initially intended to film a climactic battle scene set in Russia, and the crew moved to Budapest to film it there for17 days.[50] Filming in Budapest commenced on the evening of October 10, 2011.[51] That morning, the Hungarian Counter Terrorism Centre raided the warehouse where guns had been delivered for use as filming props.[51] The 85 assault rifles, sniper rifles, and handguns had been flown into Budapest overnight on a private aircraft, but the film's producers had failed to clear the delivery with Hungarian authorities, and while the import documentation indicated that the weapons had been disabled, all were found to be fully functional.[51][52] On February 10, 2012, the charges were dropped after investigators were unable to identify exactly which "organization or person" had "ownership rights"; therefore they could not "establish which party was criminally liable".[53]

Post-production[edit]

In May 2012, it was reported that production would return to Budapest for seven weeks of additional shooting.[54] The following month, screenwriter Damon Lindelof was hired to rewrite the film's third act with reshoots scheduled to begin in September or October 2012.[55]However Lindelof, who also reworked Prometheus and co-wrote Star Trek Into Darkness, did not have time to script the new ending and in July 2012, Paramount hired Lindelof's Lost partner, Drew Goddard.[56] Lindelof explained there were inefficiencies in the script in relation to the shooting, which started before the script was finalized thus making the ending "abrupt and incoherent" and was missing a large chunk of footage. Lindelof presented two options to executives, who ultimately chose to shoot 30 to 40 minutes of additional footage to make a coherent ending. The re-shoots coupled with other overages caused the budget to balloon to around $200 million, which shocked Paramount president Marc Evans.[2] Several of the scenes shot in Budapest, including a large-scale battle with the zombies in Moscow's Red Square,[57] were dropped from the final cut in order to water down the film's political undertones, and steer it towards a more generally friendly summer blockbuster.[58] The climactic battle scene in Russia, for which there was 12 minutes of footage, had Pitt's character fighting through zombies more like "a warrior hero" than "the sympathetic family man" of the earlier acts. The second-unit director, Simon Crane, said, "It wasn't character-driven anymore... [The filmmakers] really needed to think about what they wanted to do with the third act."[50]
In March 2013, it was reported that Paramount changed a scene in the film in which the characters speculate that the zombie outbreak originated in mainland China in hopes of landing a distribution deal in the country.[59] However, an executive familiar with upcoming releases in China later told The Wrap in June 2013 that a cut of the film was rejected by Chinese censors. A Paramount executive contended that he was "unware of any rejection", explaining, "We have submitted one version and have yet to receive a response."

Release[edit]

Brad Pitt and directorMarc Forster promoting the film during the 2013 Cannes Film Festival.
World War Z was initially scheduled for release by Paramount and Skydance on December 21, 2012, but in March 2012 it was pushed back to June 21, 2013, with Paramount electing to release Jack Reacher on the December 2012 date.[47][64] The world premiere of World War Z was held at the Empire Cinema in Leicester Square, London on June 2, 2013.[65] British rock band Muse, who contributed toward the film's soundtrack, performed at the World War Z post-premiere concert at the Horse Guards Parade, to help promote the film.[66] On June 6, Pitt attended screenings of the film in Atlanta, Philadelphia, Chicago and Austin all in one day.[67] The film was chosen to open the 35th Moscow International Film Festival.[68] World War Z was released exclusively to Glasgow's Grosvenor Cinema in Ashton Lane on June 19, two days before it was launched worldwide.[69]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

As of July 7, 2013, World War Z has earned $158,758,000 in North America, and $207,400,000 in other countries, for a worldwide total of $366,158,000.[3]
In North America, World War Z earned $25.20 million on its opening Friday,[70] including $3.6 million from Thursday night and midnight shows.[71] It went on to finish in second place behind Monsters University, during its opening weekend with $66.41 million.[72] This was the second-largest opening weekend for a film that did not debut in first place,[73] the largest opening weekend for a film starring Brad Pitt[72] and the sixth-largest opening among films released in June.[74]
Outside North America, the film earned $5.7 million on its opening day (Thursday, June 20, 2013)[71] and $45.8 million on its opening weekend, ranking in third place.[72]

Critical reaction[edit]

World War Z has received generally positive reviews along with mixed review. As of July 5, 2013, the film holds a 67% approval rating on the review aggregator website, Rotten Tomatoes, with an average rating of 6.2/10 based on an aggregation of 227 reviews. The site summary states "It's uneven—and fans of the book may be annoyed by how thoroughly it diverges from the source material—but World War Z still brings smart, fast-moving thrills and a solid performance from Brad Pitt to the zombie genre."[75] Metacritic, which uses aweighted mean, assigned a score of 63 out of 100, based on reviews from 46 film critics.[76]
Henry Barnes of The Guardian considered World War Z as an "attempt at large-scale seriousness" in the zombie genre, which resulted in a "punchy, if conventional action thriller."[77] Writing for Variety, Scott Foundas thought the film to be a "surprisingly smart, gripping and imaginative addition to the zombie-movie canon", which shows "few visible signs of the massive rewrites, reshoots and other post-production patchwork."[78] Todd McCarthy of The Hollywood Reporter opined that "Brad Pitt delivers a capable performance in an immersive apocalyptic spectacle about a global zombie uprising."[79] A. O. Scott of The New York Times said, "[It] does not try to extend the boundaries of commercial entertainment but does what it can to find interesting ways to pass the time within them."[80]Kenneth Turan of the Los Angeles Times remarked, "World War Z plays a bit like a series of separate films and the juncture where the new final act was grafted onto the proceedings is unmistakable, but unless you knew about the film's troubled past, you'd never guess it existed."[81]
Conversely, Alonso Duralde of The Wrap said, "For all its effectiveness at portraying the horror of possible human extinction, the film's actual humans are so soulless that this could just as well be the movie version of the video game Plants vs. Zombies."[82] Similarly,Robbie Collin of The Daily Telegraph thought that the film had been affected by its troubled development, observing that "the final product has an elaborate uselessness about it," in a film that had "no heart to be found amid the guts."

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