So I saw histories biggest budget zompocalypse this weekend, and while I enjoyed the spectacle of it all, I couldn’t help but think that a few things could have been differently. Now I’m certainly not saying that World War Z is a bad film, I just feel like if it had been put in more capable hands it could have truly been a masterpiece. Below are the changes I would have made. Once again, I’m not saying they’re perfect, or the right call, simply what I would have done different.
1: A big problem I have with the actual film is the fact that the zompocalypse seems to hit every major city at the exact same time. To combat this, the opening credits sequence showing newscasts from around the world should have built up into news of zombies already spreading across Europe and Asia. A CNN newsman warns that the situation is growing dire, and that while the disease has yet to spread to America, it may be only a matter of time before it does. “The world,” he warns, “is at war.” WORLD WAR Z appears on screen, accompanied by a thunderous fucking klaxon.
2: We cut to Brad Pitt in bed with his hot wife. His kids jump on him and he laughs, the scene progressing just as it did in the film. As they head downstairs Pitt receives a call. It’s his friend at the UN, begging him to come back to work and help solve the crisis, but Pit refuses, saying that he can’t abandon his family. Pitt doesn’t believe the disease will actually spread to the USA. (He’s not very bright.)
3: We go now to one of the biggest and most obvious changes to the story- As Pitt and family are running to the roof of the Newark apartment building, his wife and daughters need to fucking die. Their death should be sudden and grisly, with Pitt being dragged away by the soldiers onto the helicopter, tears in his eyes. This sets up real stakes for our main character, real trauma, and proves to the audience that the threat is real and any character can die at any time. (The tiny Mexican kid can still live.)
4: With his family now safely tucked away in the large intestines of a pack of zombies Pitt has nothing to lose, and grudgingly agrees to help with the search for patient zero. He does this partly out of a desire for some kind of revenge, but mostly because he has a death wish. He is a broken man. After smashing some shit in his room, and generally going ape shit, the little Mexican kid walks into the room and hugs him. Pit holds the kid against his chest and cries, because he’s all full of emotions and junk.
5: As we land in South Korea, where the virus has had more time to spread, why can’t we get some of the extra mutated super zombies that video games have been giving us for years? I want to see a fucking army tank take on a ten foot tall, four armed, green skinned zombie god-beast, and I want it in this movie.
6: Gore. It goes without saying that this movie should absolutely be full of it. Blood by the gallons, head-sploding, and plenty of severed limbs. When the zombies attack it needs to feel HORRIFYING. You should be absolutely repulsed by what they’ve become.
7: The scene is Israel was actually great. No complaints there.
8: OK, so we’re on the plane now, and Pitt’s lopped off the soldier girls hand. (It goes without saying that we actually watch him do it in this version, and it sprays blood like fucking Alex Murphy in Robocop.) Pitt redirects the plane and confesses to the soldier girl that he has a theory on how to defeat the zombies. She tells him that he’s crazy and that she doesn’t think it will work. Suddenly the plane breaks out with zombies and crashes, only this time we pull a fucking Janet Leigh in Psycho and Pitt fucking dies 2/3rds of the way through the movie while saving soldier girls life. With his last breath he begs her to bring his theory to (Dr.)WHO.
9: The relative safety of the Navy flotilla really bothered me in the actual film, as it completely pulled the audience out of the apocalyptic, nowhere is safe headspace. With Pitt’s useless family already dead, now we just need to deal with the military. Following Pitt’s death we cut to a shot of the flotilla, and the generals looking gravely at some computer projection of casualties. The camera pulls back and pans down through the water, revealing thousands of zombies marching across the bottom of the sea. They see the anchor to the ship and begin to climb up it, pulling themselves onto the deck of the ship where all hell breaks loose. We watch as the ship explodes in a fiery ball of fire and goes down. The message to the audience is clear. No where is safe.
10: We cut back to Wales. Soldier girl is chased by a pack of rabid zombie dogs, leading to an epic battle. She stumbles through the abandoned city streets, eventually wandering into a zoo filled with monstrous zombie animals. Following a first of it’s kind human-zombie lion-knife fight, our one handed heroine soldiers on, at last locating WHO.
11: Things at WHO go much the same way as they did in the actual movie, the only difference being that there’s no Brad Pitt, and instead we’ve got a badass, unconventional female heroine with a hook for a hand. (I‘m sorry, did I not mention that she fashioned a hook onto her hand? Because she totally did.)
12: Another change: Being injected with a deadly disease doesn’t keep the zombies from attacking you, if our hero’s can’t be attacked then there’s no threat in a sequel, instead, being infected with another disease prevents you from turning if a zombie bites you.
13: The last scene of the film. The camera pans across a ruined and desolate Paris, eventually landing on phalanx of soldiers, armed to the teeth with mini guns, and led by the Israeli soldier girl. She gives a big, inspirational speech about how this is our world and we’re gonna take it back. She says that this is a war, and that humanity must come together as one to win it. Soldier girl finishes her speech, puts on a pair of sunglasses CSI style and utters the line, “Now let’s blow the heads off some mother-fuckers.” The camera pulls back and we watch as thousands of soldiers clash against thousands of zombies. Once again, the title WORLD WAR Z flashes across the screen.