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film criticism by maryann johanson | since 1997

a World War Z sequel? maybe if they’d kept the original ending

World War Z Battle of Moscow

This is exactly what I worried about/predicted in my review. From The Hollywood Reporter:

Has Brad Pitt caught franchise fever? With the successful $111.8 million worldwide debut of zombie extravaganza World War Z — a passion project for the actor — Paramount will now actively turn to developing a sequel, a top studio executive tells The Hollywood Reporter. The tentpole earned $66 million in North America, the best opening for an original live-action tentpole since Avatar, and $45.8 million from its first 25 foreign markets.

I might be able to get behind a sequel to if it had ended like it was originally going to end, which is a lot closer in tone to the book, as Movies.com reveals:

The plane Gerry and Segen board is bound for Moscow. Upon safely landing, everyone on board is rounded up by the military. The elderly and the sick are executed and the healthy people, including a very shaken Gerry, are immediately drafted into armed service, though not before one particularly nasty Russian soldier takes Gerry’s cell phone. The story then jumps forward an unknown amount of time and we catch up with Gerry, who now has a full beard and has been a part of Russia’s zombie-clearing squad at least long enough for it to have changed to winter. He looks almost dead inside, but the reality is that over this time he’s become an experienced and ruthless zombie killer, and he’s the leader of his own equally capable unit.

There’s much more at Movies.com, which consists of one gigantic spoiler only if Paramount ever lets us see whatever bits of this actually were shot (which was probably quite a bit, in fact, and would make a great DVD extra). The actually ending of the film as it got released is spoiled in the post, but if you skip over the short paragraph immediately after the “Obviously there will be big spoilers below,” the released version of the film won’t be ruined for you.

The original ending as described at Movies.com is very dark, and it’s hard to see how enough anyones imagined that would work in a summer blockbuster to the point that much of it actually got shot… and now I’m even angrier at the film for starting out, as a project, with so daring a story in mind, and then pulling its punches so drastically.

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