Trailer for World War Z zombie thriller

I can't believe I hadn't seen this trailer until today. It's based on Max Brooks' novel, World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War. I was so excited that it took me a while to pay attention to the movie I paid to see. It comes out this summer.


    1. yeh. i just finished reading it a few days ago and kept thinking to myself the entire time…wtf is this movie about? i can only assume it’s the battle of yonkers which we never actually get to experience in the book other than hearing a few people mention.

      after reading the book i feel that a traditional documentary style would have done this movie more justice. proper sit down talking head interviews, lower thirds, graphic treatments. edited with the newsreel footage mentioned in the book and panning cityscape b-roll and it could become a decent film if not a short form doc. maybe an hour long?

      1. The audiobook version drama was much better. Amazing cast.
        Although as Brooks said in a panel at ComicCon, it had to be abridged because so many characters = very expensive.

      1. if you read the book the zombies are termed Siafu i believe by the japanese kids. this explains where the film makers got the idea to swarm the zombies like fluid. other than that most of this trailer isn’t from the book.

    1. Yeah, I hate fast zombies, too. The idea that a dead person would even have the motor coordination to stay on their feet at all is pretty ridiculous but running just kills my ability to suspend belief.

      1. I think the trick to imagining zombies is to see them as marionettes. The muscles are not used, except for whatever otherworldly power is playing with them. That is why they cannot really walk, sometimes fast, sometimes slow: it all depends on the “strings” pulling them, toying with the corpses.

        1. Nah, the idea is actually very simple and grounded in science, sort of : 
          New, freshly undead zombie = fast;
          Old decaying zombie = slow. 
          If your muscles worked fine just five minutes ago before a zombie bit you on the neck then it all keeps on working at roughly the same efficiency, for the time being. If, on the other hand, you’ve been rotting in a grave or just standing still in a mall parking lot for months on end, then there’s not as much there to work with.Sloppy screenwriters and first time directors don’t always grok this principle, wich has led to some confusion, but  nearly all the classics go by it.

          1. Yes.  Coupled with an inability to feel pain but amped-up on Zombie adrenaline, it’s not a far stretch for them to be climbing up on top of each other, running headlong over edges, etc.

          2. If a person gets drunk enough they can barely walk, let alone run. Why would a body with a dead brain have better motor coordination than that? Zombie movies also completely ignore rigor mortis and the fact that once rigor mortis ends, the muscles would be so soft they wouldn’t be able to hold up the weight of the body.

  1. Loved the book, er…audiobook. Started to read it, but just didn’t have the time. Got the audiobook, turns out it has an all-star cast, and listened to it on a weekend of driving in NY. Perfect for an audiobook, I must say.

    1. Good advice. I tried to read the book and for some reason it didn’t “take” but I’ll give it another go when I have a long drive planned.

  2. Looks like they ignored the book and went with the overused, trite, completely meaningless “I have to save my family, I promise I’ll be back” line.  Sad.

    1. it looks to me like they center it around the tragic battle in yonkers in new york, and then cast Pitt as the historian narrator, going around trying to piece together what happened? i dunno. i could work. i like it better as a dark historical treatise, but this will be fun to eat a bag of popcorn to.

      1.  That was the book. In the movie it sounds like he’s the specialist who is the only one that might be able to find the cure. So one of the only people in the book who wasn’t a hero is now the only hero.

    2. The book is dozens of story lines. There’s room in the event he’s documenting for many more story lines, many more heroes.

  3. why does the CGI look so terrible in this film?
    seriously, it’s like the Mummy..

    I have heard that there has been some real terrible delays and problems on this set.

    and those zombies climbing up the wall?

    1. Agreed.  All I could think about was the fact the raid/wall climbing scene in Starship Troopers looked better than that.

      Of course this is in Youtube 240 suck res…

      1. I still regard Starship Troopers as the best CG ever put on film. Sadly, much subsequent CG has been television quality. I couldn’t believe how primitive some of the effects were in some of the Harry Potter movies. Grawp looked like an early test film from Shrek.

        1. I didn’t realise how terrible the cg dinosaurs are in Peter Jackson’s King Kong until I re-watched it the other day. Completely outclassed by Jurassic Parks 20(!) year-old beasties.

          1. When I was sitting in the theater watching Mr. Jackson’s 9-hour version of a really good 100-minute film, I just kept thinking, “Does he think that nobody has seen the Jurassic Park films?”

    1. In case anyone was wondering, this is probably supposed to be a vote in favor of the movie.

      Bob Richardson has worked on movies by Quentin Tarintino, Martin Scorsese, Errol Morris and Oliver Stone.

      His credits include Django Unchained, Hugo, Shutter Island, Inglourious Basterds,  Standard Operating Procedure, The Aviator, Kill Bill (1 & 2), Bringing Out the Dead, Wag the Dog, Fast, Cheap & Out of Control, Casino, Natural Born Killers, Heaven & Earth, A Few Good Men, JFK, City of Hope, The Doors, Born on the Fourth of July, Wall Street, and Platoon.

  4. Ditto all the above.  It might somehow prove to be an entertaining movie in its own right, but.. it has nothing whatsoever to do with the book. Ugh.

  5. Yup…they did away with the whole premise of the book and has the main character trying to stop the invasion as its happening. Which takes away so much of the power of the story as a whole. The book affected me greatly…perhaps one day the story will be treated as it should in film form.

    1. I actually doubt it.  The book has multiple story lines (too long to fit one movie), many locations (too expensive), no real central character (less mass appeal)… This movie version is the most expensive zombie movie ever made (by some orders of magnitude) and it’s not even trying to include most of what’s in the book, while doing over-the-top action to draw in an audience big enough to pay back the investment.  I think the book is something that might work as a low budget television or web series, if they avoided depicting some of the big set pieces (like the battle of Yonkers).

        1. And that would require a writing team and directors of rare talent.

          Plus, Cloud Atlas still hasn’t made its money back, and likely never will – that was an EXPENSIVE movie. And too complex for the average American viewer. Did better overseas, but without the overseas take, it would have lost a stupendous amount of money…

          1. Well this version is also grossly expensive, even before you factor in bringing in a conga line of writers to revamp the ending. 

            Yeah, Cloud Atlas hasn’t made its money back, but the earning potential between an R-rated Oscar bait drama and (likely PG-13) zombie drama would be pretty vast, especially since the book is a sacred cow among the key demo. 

            It’s too bad, because the first draft commissioned by the studios leaked out years back and everybody who wrote about it called it (paraphrasing) “potentially the first Oscar-nominee zombie movie.” Instead we got a Brad Pitt action vehicle. Sad.  

      1. The book had a central character, though: the narrator.

        Following him as he moves through a post-apocalyptic earth, trying to make sense of what happened would have been interesting. This isn’t.

        1. There’s a big difference between a central narrator in a book and a central character in a movie.  In a book, the narrator provides a unifying voice while allowing other characters to tell their stories.  As a film, you just end up with a bunch of different characters in situations being connected by a character that doesn’t actually show up or do much in the film.  “Brad Pitt appears in interstitial bits in an anthology movie” is hard to sell.

    2. I believe this is possible. When I first saw this trailer I was bitterly disappointed, but then I realised that, as they only used the name of the book, there was a way out. 
      Max Brooks also wrote The Zombie Survival Guide, a book set in the fictional universe of World War Z (the book, not the film). Someone could make a cinema verite, documentary style video version of the Guide, and rescue a lot of the plots they wasted from WWZ, as real world examples illustrating the tips in the Guide. 

      1. I just can’t see WWZ working as a movie — certainly not to the same caliber as the book. Scripting it into an HBO/Showtime-level miniseries, however, seems as though it could have given the book its proper dues, while also working within the medium.

        I’m crushed that we got this instead.

    1. It worked with the dead at Minas Tirith.  It worked with the Arachnids on Planet P.  Zombies aren’t known for thinking outside the box.

      1. Nah it worked in those films  This film is using the same horrible physics engine they created 15 years ago for the horrible Mummy movies.  

        Also those films have an interesting script, unlike this lets just reuse Independence Day again.  If I see one more damn movie with some world expert trapped in a traffic jam with his family..

        1. Physics engine? That is kind of broad, which part of a physics engine deals with bipedal creatures climbing on one another and objects? Who is they?

          I think it looks pretty decent and agree that maybe these shots are not final.

          1. Well, consider the weight of the bodies involved, compression at the lower layers, things like that. It is part of why ants can make such intricate ladders, but larger creatures can’t. Also, I would consider the hight of something like that would make it more likely to topple, especially considering the lack of coordination.

            Gravity is a harsh mistress.

          2. Maybe zombies have a funny habit of shedding their cells and replacing them with polarized silicon, which gives them a prolonged resistance to being squished at the bottom of the pile.

          3. I work in vfx, duder. Commenting on the quality of the very generically termed “physics engine” you mentioned is like saying that food is good because of the “fire engine” used to cook it. So much goes into these shots that attributing anything to the quality of this generic “engine” is just a completely ridiculous and uneducated statement. Getting that mob of zombies to topple and roll realistically is a nightmare. Each zombie has to react to what the other is doing around it, procedurally, they have to move themselves within the horde. Yes there are physics involved, they have to know what forces are being exerted on them are individually and collectively  but they also respond “intelligently” or “authentically” to those forces. That is the insane part. Yes you can create a bunch of balls in 3d and put them in a cube and assign a ton of values and call up a “physics engine,” what a simulation, go physics engine… but there is so much more at play here. What does that “physics engine” tell each one of the thousands of zombies what it’s goal is, and how to react to obstacles, and how to interact with the other zombies?

            It was just a dumb statement. I am only commenting because internet.

        1. It was somewhat funnier if you knew that the King of the Dead was Felafel from Hercules:The Legendary Journeys.

      2. Not knowing Planet P, the reason it works at Minas Tirith is because the dead have no real mass. They only pay passing respects to the physical world. I would suspect “real” zombies to be more susceptible to being crushed at the bottom of a pile and all the other good stuff that happens when you try ant ladder stunts with human scale creatures.

  6. Seriously, it kind of annoys me there doesn’t seem to be much geek-rage about this. It really spits in the face of the source material and just tries to make another zombie gross-fest. 

    1. The geek rage seems to have exhausted itself. There was loads of outrage a few months back — when the initial trailer clips came out — but maybe the outrage has burned away. Maybe Brad Pitt’s shilling of Chanel No. 5 was an annoying diversionary tactic, and now everyone’s too exhausted to be angry over the WWZ movie.

  7. You know… I wanna see a mashup of this and i am legend made so it’s like one giant disaster flick.

    C’mon if you get good editing it could work.

  8. This is WWZ is name alone. Sure it looks crazy and scary as hell, but this is not World War Z and frankly I’m kind of ashamed that Brooks hasn’t come out and said anything about this yet. I would imagine he’s under some studio enforced gag order so he can collect his check and be quite til its released. This an appalling at best because the books and the audio books were such masterpieces and this just looks like another fucking zombie movie.

      1. No.  That at least would be something we hadn’t seen a million times before.

        What bugs me is the trailer makes it look as though they made a special effort to do exactly the opposite of what made the book exceptional.  The decentralized narrative tracked a global crisis which was in no way solved by a lone hero.  The global problem required a global solution – an excellent message for our time and precisely what made the book stand out.  And I cannot conceive of a single reason why they used fast zombies, which are generally what low budget movies resort to because they cannot pay for a cast of thousands or computer generated effects to generate menace and so must literally chase their heros.  

        Personally, I didn’t see Brad Pitt as antithetical to a smart version of this movie.  Much as I’d like to scapegoat him, Plan B Entertainment (his production company, which secured the rights in 2007) also made The Tree of Life, which was fairly experimental, and Kick-Ass and The Departed which I found to be fairly novel re-workings of existing material.  That being said, something went horribly, horribly wrong in the development of this film.  I’d love to know what it was… I’m inclined to point the finger at the director, Marc Forster, but only because I’ve still got a grudge against him for Quantum of Solace.

        In my heart of hearts I’d hoped WWZ would have farmed out the different interviews from the book to different directors so each could do a ‘short,’ creating a composite film in the style of [i]Paris Je T’aime[/i].  

        1. I think the real issue is they miscast the lead here. This is the zombie variant of your bi-annual Dean Devlin / Roland Emmerich disaster film. In this case, Brad Pitt gave himself the role normally reserved for Nic Cage! (or John Cusack or Jeff Goldblum).

  9. The film is based on a character and a location that is not in the book, leaving just the book title as the only thing in common between the film and the book. The running and swarming zombies are also not from the book, so they really have just bought the title of a book and slapped it on a film, which has been sent back by the studios twice for major re-shoots. If you are a fan of the book this is going to be one to avoid.

    The book, which is written in a TV talking heads style would make an ideal mockumentary for TV and wasnt really suitable for a film adaptation 

  10. As everyone else has said, this is not the book.  But I really think the actual book would make an incredible movie, or at least the spirit of the book would.  No, you couldn’t do a blow by blow remake of the book, but you could create a narrative out of it that would conform to film structure norms (or god forbid broke with structural norms and created something new and incredible) and hit the major points of the book, like how so many things that were once important (stock markets, celebrities, internet blogs) were suddenly worthless, how our shared humanity was both ignored and embraced, and how ingenuity and sacrifice ultimately saved us.  That’s a movie I would like to see.  This movie I will watch for free from some online streaming site.  They will not get a cent out of me for this tripe.

    1. Wouldnt you think it would make a better talking head style mock-umentary for TV than a film? It strikes me the book was written in the style of a documentary talking to the survivors and listening to them tell how they survived.

      I personally think it would be ideal for a mini TV series in that format

        1. EXACTLY. Ken Burns the HELL out of it, slow pans over pages of testimony and photos while interviews or depositions are played over it. Repeat. 

          When a document gives you disconnected nonlinear narrative, make lemonade. Sweet, sweet PBS lemonade.

  11. knowing nothing of the book so the trailer looked very interesting and cool to me.

    i think i’ll watch the movie first, enjoy it in ignorance, then read the book and be even more pleasantly surprised.

    sometimes ignorance is bliss.

    having read the lord of the rings books more then a dozen times i couldn’t stand those movies, i feel the pain of all those who are already fans of the books.

  12. doesn’t look like it’s doing anything new, but I’ll still be going to see it purely for the spectacle of zombies running amok in George Square :)

  13. Maybe I’m being overly sensitive, but anyone else a little creeped out by the similarity of the wall at the end to the Israeli West Bank Barrier? Keeping out the bloodthirsty hordes?

  14. Well this is totally unexpected!  Who could ever have predicted that fans of the book wouldn’t like the movie (trailer) of the same name?  Nothing like this has ever happened before.  It is LITERALLY without precedent.

  15. I read the book. This is not the book. However, I am excited at the scale. 28 days later had a character tell a story about a crowded train station/airport where everyone turned and it was mayhem. 28 weeks later had a small room of people turn into zombies at once. Dawn of the Dead had people wake up to the mayhem already underway. In all of those movies only a handful of zombies at a time or large crowds walking in circles.

    This is pretty new. At first I hated it, but after watching it a few times I am really interested. All of the movies to date involve boarding up windows and that sort of thing. This is like a wave of giant blood thirsty rats…. or cute little mice!

    Anyways, the scale of this whole thing separates it, IMO, from other zombie flicks. Did anyone really expect the book?

    1. I’m with you in this. The scale could be really fun to watch, and I love the combination of genres here (Zombie, outbreak, and disaster). The movies you listed (and you could include I Am Legend) all more or less take place “after the storm”. If anything, it will be cool to see the storm actually take place this time, hopefully globally in the same style as Independence Day… although, I imagine the big scale stuff will all take place in the first act, and the rest of the movie will be deadpan personal vignettes involving Brad Pitt promising to “get back” to his family (as one commenter already put it).

  16. Okay, so I haven’t read the book but it sounds like this isn’t really the book. The movie looks good, but generally if a movie strays from the book too much it’s because the director missed the point. Most relevant (and glaring) example is “I am Legend” – the movie’s conclusion is so radically different than the book as to make the last line and title of the book completely different than intended. A mind-bending twist at the end instead became a Hollywood cliche.

    1. In the case of I am Legend, the ending as intended by the book is in the directors cut dvd/blu ray version. It was changed for theatrical release due to studio pressure as it “tested badly”. But yeah, your point still stands.

      1. I didn’t realize there was an alternate ending, so on that tip I just went and watched it. Assuming that’s the one you were talking about, that’s even further from the book’s ending than the theatrical release was! Geesh, they couldn’t even get it right with a do-over!

        It just shows how hard it is, I guess, to get a good movie made – especially one based on a book. Too many people with opinions about how it should be done, and nobody with ultimate responsibility to the author.

        1. a book is not a movie, and a movie is not a book.

          as such, the alternate-ending version of the Will Smith “I am Legend” is waaay off from the book, but makes the movie stand on its own two feet as a new beast. I liked that beast. The released-ending version was a new beast, but it was wobbly and kept losing its footing.

          I liked the book “World War Z” but could not see it adapted into anything but a pseudo-documentary. Which just doesn’t play so well.

  17. I have heard rumors that J. Michael Straczynski wrote a first draft for this movie that generated so much buzz, people were seriously considering the possibility of a zombie movie script winning an Oscar for best screenplay.
    Then, the studio troglodytes stepped in, and it all went to shit. “WWZ”, like “Watchmen”, really should have been an HBO series.

    1. I thought watchmen was a really good film adaptation. Yes they dropped the twist in favor of something else but good go d it was already three hours for a shot by shot recreation of what they had. Give it a rest Alan Moore.

    2. I have a (pdf) copy of what purports to be this script.

      It actually does seem quite good.  Not sure I’d say Oscar-worthy, but good, and it does capture the spirit of the book. There is a plot for the narrator-character, but it’s more about weaving in his own personal experience through the crisis (which was a lot more personal rather than “constant running from zombies”) in with his investigations on what happened in various parts of the world.

      A shame they filmed THIS.

      I should note that, having read the script…. TECHNICALLY, this COULD be that movie, with a few minor and some not-so-minor changes (like making the zombies super fast), and a lot of really, really deceptive editing to make the trailer seem like a completely DIFFERENT kind of movie (the “we need your help” and “I can’t leave my family” all referring to needing his help to “tell the story” in the aftermath, rather than part of the crisis, and most of the action scenes, save him and his family’s initial escape from the immediate crisis outbreak, being told to Pitt rather than him actually being there, and perhaps even using the device of Pitt standing in for whoever’s telling the story in the flashbacks, because he’s trying to make the story “personal”).

      I hope so, because it could still be salvageable like that.

      I hope so, but I don’t really have faith.

  18. Fast zombies. ..really? If they started with a voiceover background, then did the first battle of Yonkers with all all its f ups. They could then go to a safezone for a retooling montage. Pick up the SIRs and Lobos have the desert killzone, montage the march a cross the west then the Second Battle of Yonkers. Finish up with avoice over telling how the world has recovered and some of the bad spots like North Korea or the frozen north…

  19. Fast zombies are like sparkling emo vampires imo… completely nonsensical rewriting of all the lore and myth behind said undead.

    1. completely nonsensical rewriting of all the lore and myth behind said undead.

      Like Dracula?

      1. They’re rewriting the writing of other people’s rewriting of many different and varied myths!

  20. Having read multiple zombie novels, this looks closer to the ending of Zone One than anything from World War Z (especially the shots of zombies overwhelming the wall.) 

    The Battle of Yonkers was so clearly described in the book and I can’t see anything in these images that even has a passing resemblance to that.

    Zone One. Jebus, that would be a movie if done right.

  21. if they had titled the movie with something other than the title of the book i’d be totally fine with it. the fact that they used the name of the book and then strayed so far in the opposite direction kinda pisses me off. then again, i didn’t write the book and i didn’t make the movie so i really shouldn’t get upset or give a damn for that matter. i did read the book though and that makes me a critic.

  22. I enjoyed the book as fast vacation reading many summers ago, and got excited to hear hunky Brad Pitt was filming it a few years later. But after seeing this I am not so sure.  My eyes still hurt from being forced to watch most of the Avengers the other night, these all-action street scenes don’t do it for me.  I probably will never again go see a movie based on a book I enjoyed reading, including this one.  It always is lame compared to my ‘minds eye’.  Recent examples I refused to watch?  The Road, The Hobbit, Life of PI (forced by book group to read).  If I haven’t read it and am told it is a decent adaptation I will be more likely to see a movie.  Why is that?  Why do I always want my two hours back?

  23. Once you realize that this film shares nothing more with the novel than its title and approach the film as its own unique entity, then it becomes instantly BAD-ASSED. I absolutely *love* the mindless, seething, roiling masses of rabid undead–especially the scene in which thousands of them are trying to scale that wall by climbing over each other.

    Quite frankly, *that* kind of utterly mindless aggression is a *million* times more frightening than just a bunch of shambling corpses trying to gnaw on your bum. And I *love* how there really isn’t any way to tell, at times, whether a horde of running figures is a swarm of zombies or just a swarm of desperate people trying to escape. That blurring of the line between all-too-human panic and monstrous undead hunger may very well the motif that really lifts this film above the others.

  24. Max Brooks is the spawn of Mel Brooks and Anne Bancroft. He’s written for SNL. He must know how Hollywood works and can’t be too surprised or disappointed in the changes. If he gets a ‘Story by’ screen credit then he gets paid residuals, forever.

    1. But it’s gotta hurt a bit, nonetheless.  Wish he could have talked his old man into directing.  “History of the World, Part Z: The Rotting End.”  Oh, I’d pay triple to see Mel Brooks do that!

      1.  I’d watch that!

        I’m curious to see how they do the attribution. ‘Based on’ isn’t accurate. ‘Inspired by’? ‘Infected by’?

        1. Though the connection was extremely tenuous at best, O Brother, Where Art Thou? was credited “Based on The Odyssey by Homer.”  Or somesuch.  But they were serious.  It was nominated for the Best Adapted Screenplay Oscar rather than Best Original Screenplay.

          I guess if they’re using Max Brooks’ title, they’re gonna credit him. Unless there’s some arbitration going on, it’ll probably say:

          Screenplay by Damon Lindelof & Matthew Michael Carnahan

          Based on the novel World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

          Then again, there’s a case to be made for “Inspired by,” but I think the studio would rather avoid that if they can. I suspect Brooks could try to convince the WGA to arbitrate in that direction, if he cares enough.

  25. the movie looks like a blockbuster but it doesn’t look like World War Z. I’ve said it from the start. WWZ should have been handled ala Band of Brothers with each episode being a large chapter and maybe 1 or 2 shorter chapters.

  26. Are we being too hasty? Consider the trailer for “The New World” – pitched as a swashbuckling historical actioner – versus the actual film: glacial pace, romance, weird five-act structure, overwhelming sense of poignance.
    This is the trailer:
    This is what it is actually like:

    1. if it was handled like Band of Brothers it would open with a conversation by the survivor and then segue into the flashback of the event. They could even cut back to the interview during the event or have some voice over.

  27. I so wanted to see this done like a miniseries, done in Ken Burns style with a lot of interviews that lead to on the scene reporting, file footage, dramatic recreations, etc.  Could probably do it justice in a 10 parter on HBO.  Will probably still see this though and just figure it’s inspired by one or two of the stories from the book.

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