‘World War Z’: The Biggest Zombie Movie Ever?

Movie Talk
Mireille Enos, left, and Brad Pitt in 'World War Z'
Mireille Enos, left, and Brad Pitt in 'World War Z'

"World War Z" has officially declared martial law on Summer 2013, proving that big-budget Hollywood is as interested in zombies as it is in superheroes. And these superfast-multiplying undead are on track to take over the entire planet in a matter of mere days, putting Brad Pitt in perhaps the toughest of all time crunches to save humanity.

"Big" is in fact the key word for the big screen adaptation of Max Brooks' bestselling novel, as director Marc Forster looks to have created an epic action horror film that turns your average zombie flick into a Roland Emmerich-sized disaster movie. The new trailer reveals just how, well, big the film's scope really is -- indeed, there's a lot of "World," "War" and especially "Z" (zombies) going on.

Watch the New 'World War Z' Trailer:

The trailer opens with cute early-morning family shenanigans featuring Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt), his wife Karen (Mireille Enos) and their children -- the kind of idyllic moment that usually foreshadows some horrible tragedy. Sure enough, their breakfast table banter is upstaged by the television in the background relaying some mass violence and destruction. It then jumps from the screen and into their own lives in what seems like a matter of seconds.

From there, it's bloody hurlyburly on a global scale as the zombie epidemic threatens to "end life as we know it in 90 days." Like the AMC show "The Walking Dead," "World War Z" tells its story from the point of view of a handful of survivors desperately trying to hold on to their humanity (some trying harder than others). Though, unlike AMC's hit series, this is definitely not an "intimate character drama" -- this is moviemaking on a grand scale, depicting hordes of zombies around every corner.

[Related: ‘World War Z’ Super Bowl spot hits the Internet]

What's most interesting about the trailer is how different the film looks from the novel. Brooks' book consisted of a series of first-person memoirs that related personal survivor stories about the epidemic, creating a sense of intimacy that actually made it more "Walking Dead" than, say, "The Day After Tomorrow" with zombies. And speaking of "The Day After Tomorrow," Brooks' novel took place after the height of the zombie epidemic, portraying a world that was trying to pick up the pieces and rebuild; the film obviously explores the first wave of the "incident" as humankind is plunged into a senseless living nightmare.

And it's a big, big nightmare.

While Pitt is the last person you might picture when thinking of an American "everyman," he's the A-list movie star (and producer) who was able to secure the extensive resources this production required to bring its grim, sprawling vision to life. Director Forster ups the chaotic action of "Quantum of Solace" (that admittedly flawed yet underappreciated James Bond adventure) to horrifying extremes, portraying a world where America has "lost the East Coast" (how does one lose the East Coast?!) and Russia has "gone dark." What's really impressive is the unique way in which the zombies are portrayed -- masses of them seem to roll over each other, swallowing up everything in their path … kind of like if "The Blob" were made of resurrected corpses rather than sentient goo.

The trailer's most harrowing set piece is saved for last, as Pitt gets out of his seat to investigate a noise as his fellow plane passengers look a little worried. In the blink of an eye, the side of the aircraft is ripped open, sending passengers -- alive and undead -- out into the open air. It's a truly terrifying moment, made all the more unsettling as we realize that Iron Man won't be swooping in to save them. "Zombies on a Plane"!

"World War Z" isn't a sure thing. The film has been plagued with production problems, including extensive reshoots and rewrites that resulted in a release date shift from December to June. Brad Pitt may have been the key in getting this R-rated, $100+ million zombie movie made, but the D.O.A. performance of Pitt's actual December offering, "Killing Them Softly," has probably made Paramount even more nervous. Opening just one week after the debut Warner Bros.' "Man of Steel" probably isn't the best idea, either. Indeed, the zombies of "World War Z" might take over the entire world, but whether they can take on the super-competitive summer movie season is another matter entirely.

"World War Z" opens June 21.

Watch 'World War Z' Theatrical Trailer: