While World War Z wasn’t the most effective zombie movie of 2013, it’s opening action sequence was definitely worth the price of admission. The film went from quiet to chaotic in one scene featuring the terrifying zombie outbreak in Philadelphia. It’s just that after that scene, the film really loses steam and its gumption. In the above VFX video, we see how the filmmakers and visual effects artists pulled off a number of the film’s action scenes.
World War Z‘s first action sequence takes place in Philadelphia, but it was actually shot in Glasgow, Scotland. According to CBM, Cinesite VFX supervisor Matt Johnson and VFX photographer Aviv Yaron took a large array of photos of buildings around the Pennsylvania city to digitally match them with the Glasgow setting. The effects looked really believable and go to show how well CGI can be used when blended with practical effects.
For the most part, the action in World War Z is seamless because you’re caught up in the film’s tension. It’s hard to believe that a large amount of the film was done as post-production visual special effects. The New Jersey rooftop scenes were mainly shot against green screen, and the only real builds were the rooftop and parts of the helicopter. A majority of the scene was shot on a sound stage. It’s pretty impressive!
One of the film’s problems was that, after the first couple action scenes, you never got the impression that any of the film’s main cast was going to die or get harmed. As the film unfolds, it’s comprised of action for action’s sake.
Before World War Z’s release back in June, much was made of the film’s extensive reshoots and rewrites. Originally, the zombie movie was going to end with Gerry Lane (Brad Pitt) and Israeli soldier Segen (Daniella Kertesz) hopping on a plane leaving Jerusalem. In the final version of World War Z, the plane crashes in Wales and Gerry and Segan make their way to the World Health Organization. In the original version, they instead landed safely in Russia, but were forced into the Russian Army to fight zombies.
Although the Russian scenes were later nixed, the above image gallery showcases the Russian zombies. Makeup artist Andrea Leanza was responsible for applying makeup and prosthetics. She made to create the zombies in such a way that they looked like they were frozen from the Russian winter. This was actually one of the ways Gerry Lane figured out how to defeat the zombies.
World War Z is actually back in theaters at the moment as part of a one-week double-feature engagement — along with Star Trek Into Darkness — from Paramount Pictures and select movie theater chains. Paramount’s Ultimate Double Feature started last Friday, August 30, and ends this coming Friday on September 5. If you’re a fan of both genre movies, check them out on the big screen for the last time.
Otherwise, Star Trek Into Darkness is already on Blu-ray/DVD, while World War Z will be released on home video and as a digital download on September 17.