Brad Pitt Runs For His Life in a Pair of 'World War Z' TV Spots

Wednesday, 22 May 2013 09:38 Written by  Jordan DeSaulnier
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Brad Pitt Runs For His Life in a Pair of 'World War Z' TV Spots

If you didn't know that World War Z is about a zombie pandemic, two new thirty-second TV spots for the adaptation might not clue you in.

There are several now familiar shots of digital undead hordes unstoppably piling on top of one another like fire ants, but that makes these zombies more of a blurry pileup.  Given the current pop cultural saturation of skull-scrapers and the Z in the title, you could probably guess what's going on, but both spots are more focused on Brad Pitt, his onscreen family, and the civilization-crumbling effect of all those zombies.

Paramount Pictures is probably holding back on the undead action until closer to World War Z's June 21st theatrical release.

Then again, though this is easily the biggest and most expensive zombie movie ever attempted, it is also rated PG-13.  That means you won't be seeing reanimated bodies dripping viscera, scooping brains from craniums, or eviscerating folks with their bare hands.  Instead, Marc Forster, the director behind Quantum of Solace, Finding Neverland, and The Kite Runner, is going to have to create bloodless intensity.

That bloodless intensity plays out on both small and large scales in these two commercials.  Each kicks off with the domestic bliss of Pitt's Gerry Lane and his wife Karen, played by Mireille Enos of AMC's The Killing, followed by the family desperately trying to stay ahead of the chaos headed its way.  There's your small scale.  The large scale stuff shows citywide devastation and the military ineffectively scrambling to deal with the onslaught.

World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War, the bestselling source material by Max Brooks, doesn't have a conventional protagonist, but instead has a series of characters telling their stories of survival from the almost-apocalypse, each one providing a very different view of a global happening.  A United Nations historian compiled all the stories as a sort of framing device in the form of a UN report.

The film pretty much abandons the oral history idea.  Instead, UN researcher Lane is racing against time, trying to trace the origins of this infectious zombie agent in the hopes of stopping the spread of the disease before it overwhelms the planet.  So it's more of a globe-trotting adventure, as you'd expect from an expensive summer event movie.

Early in post-production on World War Z, word emerged that the studio and Pitt were looking to start a franchise, ideally a trilogy, with this film.  That may have been putting the cart way before the horse, however, as the adaptation's much-publicized third-act issues and extensive reshoots have given the impression that World War Z might not quite come together as a satisfying narrative.


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