World War Z, opening nationwide this weekend, is the highly anticipated 3-D zombie epic starring Brad Pitt. Up until this point the film has been overshadowed by stalled productions, rewrites, re-shoots and Angelina Jolie’s appearance at the premiere in London. VH1 Celebrity previewed WWZ last week and pulled together all the essential things you need to know before going into the film.
1. Brad Pitt has Jennifer Aniston hair.
Everyone’s seen all the promos and trailers and red carpet appearances. But it still must be said: Brad Pitt has Jennifer Aniston hair. Whether this is a sign of how good (or bad) the movie is is still up for debate, BUT there are theories out there. Also, did I mention that Brad Pitt has long hair in this film? I kept waiting for him to find his Beyonce wind. Spoiler alert: He never does.
2. The only thing the book World War Z and the movie share is the title.
Those who have read the book know that Max Brooks’ novel is practically impossible to adapt. The narrative style (an oral documentary) and focus on new characters in each chapter all but ruin any real opportunity to translate the text on the big screen. While it’s theoretically possible to make a faux-documentary, it’s clearly not what Brad Pitt and crew wanted for the cinematic experience. Instead, audiences get a completely different narrative that makes a pit stop in Israel, as if to say the writers at least read the Cliff’s Notes version of the novel.
3. The movie is meant to be the first entry in a trilogy.
Whether or not all three films will star Brad Pitt, the original idea was to transform the book and film into a trilogy that follows the outbreak, zombie war and ultimate recovery. The basic outline of the book lends itself to a series of films, but the movie is not being advertised as a first part in the series. The fact that it ends in a cliffhanger of sorts doesn’t make sense without the larger context.
4. WWZ is practically two films in one.
This is where you can throw blame at Damon Lindelof. Well, maybe not entirely, because his half of the film is pretty great, if it were not called WWZ. It’s clear where the writer took over the script and penned a new ending. Suddenly, a worldwide epic becomes a narrow feature about finding a weakness in the zombies and somehow putting an end to the pandemic. Lindelof is a pretty decent writer (ignoring Prometheus) but he was unfairly shoehorned into this project. Maybe if he wrote the script from beginning to end it would have been more cohesive.
5. The zombies have evolved. Well slightly.
I previously mapped out the evolution of zombies in pop culture based on intelligence and speed. The major difference with the zombies in this film is speed. They have superhuman running power that can take down walls, automobiles and even planes. Another element of change is the rate at which someone becomes a zombie. It’s frighteningly fast!
Up next: The breakout star, familiar faces and one terrifying scene.
6. Speaking of planes, the movie will make you never want to fly again.
The thing about pandemic films like Contagion or Carriers, is that you don’t want to be around anyone. Outbreak ruined going to the movies, Contagion ruined sitting at the Chef’s table and Carriers certainly ruined picking up hitchhikers. WWZ does its best to ruin planes or flying in general. But, man, that scene is crazy awesome!
7. Game Of Thrones fans may recognize Rakharo.
Daenerys Targaryen’s pretty boy bloodrider, portrayed by Elyes Gabel, appeared in the first two seasons of GOT. In the film, he lands himself a much more integral part. His character thinks he knows the way to solve the zombie pandemic.
8. Blink and you’ll miss Matthew Fox.
The film features several TV stars, Gabel (above), Mireille Enos (The Killing), James Badge Dale (Rubicon) and Matthew Fox, who is most famous for his roles on Party of Five and Lost. Yet, in the final cut of the film he’s nowhere to be seen — only if you don’t know where to look. He’s one of the paratroopers who rescues Pitt and family from a rooftop early in the movie.
9. Daniella Kertesz is a standout.
Get to know this Israeli actress, who makes her film debut. Kertesz shares the most screen time with Brad Pitt and it’s understandable why. Her quiet performance brings a level of humanity to the action-packed film. If the film is a success, Kertesz is likely to become one of the breakout actresses of the summer.
10. The film score will give you chills.
Horror films and thrillers can truly benefit from a great score. Inception would not be nearly as iconic without Hans Zimmer’s blast of horns; swimmers think twice about entering the water when they think about Jaws’ duh-duhhhh. While nothing nearly as iconic happens here, Oscar-nominated composer Marco Beltrami (The Hurt Locker, 3:10 To Yuma) adds layers of fright that heightens the audience’s goosebumps factor. He even incorporates the Muse track “The 2nd Law: Isolated System” with chilling effect.
[Photos: Getty, Paramount Pictures]