Saturday, June 22, 2013

Overseeing a disaster

Is it a bad sign that the thing that makes me most excited about seeing a certain movie -- in fact, the only thing that makes me excited about seeing it -- is the billboard used to advertise it?

The billboard for World War Z that I'm talking about is essentially an elongated version of this poster. There's something so arresting about this image of Brad Pitt looking down over a sea of carnage. The sea of carnage is nothing new for a poster like this, but his perspective on it is. It's damned enthralling.

The rest of the movie? Eh.

What I think is sort of unintentionally funny about this poster (and the double-entendre title I've used for this post) is that it works pretty well as a metaphor for Pitt's involvement in the project.

What most people know about World War Z is that it was a production that was plagued with problems, delays, reworkings and reimaginings. In fact, there were times when it seemed like the whole thing might go belly up. All that resulted in footage that looks pretty lackluster.

It would be one thing if Pitt were just a hired gun, but he's probably the single-most invested creative talent involved in this project. It's his baby, his dream project, his nightmare. If it's a flop, it could indeed by the biggest disaster he ever oversees, and it could have a lasting impact on his career.

Then again, all these things were said about Titanic, and look how that turned out. That too was a movie whose subject matter worked well as a metaphor for the production, but that ship certainly didn't sink. In fact, that ship flew.

Will these zombies be DOA, or rise from the ashes like a phoenix?

This weekend's box office will tell us a lot about that.

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