Most Pleasant Surprise of the Summer
‘World War Z’
The first half of the summer dropped a war zone worth of big-budget bombs. Not all of them did poorly at the box office, per se, but Man of Steel, The Great Gatsby, The Hangover 3, and After Earth all arrived with the highest of audience expectations and potential, then ultimately failed to live up to them. World War Z, on the other hand, hit theaters with a spate of negative coverage already preceding it. Stories of production issues, creative disagreements, and red-flag reshoots were reported in Vanity Fair, Entertainment Weekly, and industry publications, leading pundits to write off the $190 million zombie apocalypse film as a surefire disaster. But then, it was good. It was actually really good. It was complex and provocative and featured a stellar lead performance from Brad Pitt. More than that, it was refreshingly original, hinting that there may hope yet that, five years from now, cineplexes won’t only be showing movies with titles that have numbers at the end of them.