'World War Z' movie is set to premiere in Dec. 2012

Updates (and questions) abound on the zombie film of grand proportion.

Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters
In this photo from the set of 'World War Z,' actors dressed as Israeli and Palestinian soldiers unite against the enclosing zombie forces.

It looks as though December 21st, 2012 will in fact be the end of days… that we’ll have to spend waiting to see some potentially cool literary adaptations and a new Johnny Depp movie.

Paramount has slated its pricy adaptation of World War Z for theatrical release on December 21st of next year. Director Marc Forster’s cinematic take on Max Brooks’ post-zombpocalyptic novel is being headlined by Brad Pitt – with some admirable names rounding out the supporting cast.

World War Z will open directly against Ang Lee’s 3D adaptation of the acclaimed novel Life of Pi and Disney’s Lone Ranger movie, which will star Depp as Tonto. Those three titles will arrive a week after Peter Jackson’s The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey finally hits theaters, and four days before Quentin Tarantino’s Django Unchained is unleashed. Suffice it to say, cinemaphiles of all shades are probably going to be spending a lot of time at the theater during the holidays next year.

For those not familiar with Brooks’ original World War Z novel, here is an official synopsis:

We survived the zombie apocalypse, but how many of us are still haunted by that terrible time? We have (temporarily?) defeated the living dead, but at what cost? Told in the haunting and riveting voices of the men and women who witnessed the horror firsthand, ‘World War Z’ is the only record of the plague years.

Pitt will be starring in the World War Z adaptation as Gerry Lane, a U.N. employee who interviews and records the thoughts of said survivors from the war between humans and zombies.

While Forster’s World War Z movie has several things working in its favor (including respectable source material and solid production values) there’s been reason for fans to feel a bit uncomfortable about the final product. Some people just aren’t crazy about the idea of a star like Pitt in the lead – or having Forster direct, since action-oriented features aren’t really his forte – but the biggest issue raised so far has to do with Paramount’s plans for World War Z to be Rated PG-13. That’s frustrating news for people hoping to see a visceral and unfiltered representation of the zombie violence described in Brooks’ novel.

However, in the hands of a good filmmaker like Forster, less can be more when it comes to on-screen violence. Plus, World War Z is really more about how the human population responds to a global emergency on a political, social, and personal level – and less about gruesome zombie-related carnage. While there will undoubtedly be a healthy dose of war violence and action in the film, it should be more the sort of character-driven piece that Pitt generally does pretty well in (see: The Assassination of Jesse James).

Judging by early World War Z set pics, the film is also going for more of an unpolished look than your average big-budget tentpole pic. The end result should be a movie that actually feels more authentic (its inclusion of undead monsters aside) and offers some realism, for those not in the mood for an epic fantasy adventure (The Hobbit) or a whimsical western (Lone Ranger) next winter.

To reiterate: World War Z will open in U.S. theaters on December 21st, 2012.

Source: Paramount

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Sandy Schaefer blogs at Screen Rant.

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