World War Z

Friday is the day. Friday, World War Z hits theaters. Friday is the reckoning. If the film does well, we will see such a deluge of zombie stories flood the market, the likes of which we’ve never seen. If it crashes and burns, which I hope it doesn’t, zombie storytellers should run for cover, for the end is nigh. Monday Mayhem—World War Z—the music.

Zombie Stampede
Zombie Stampede

Anyone familiar with score music will know Marco Beltrami rocks the scene with incredibly powerful renditions of tension inducing bravado. All that means is he’s the go-to guy for heavy, heart-thumping themes. The other side of the composer, he produces some of the most poignant, emotion-filled melodies for the big screen. His quiet, eerie sounds he chooses to incorporate in the compositions drives his films to new levels of suspense and terror.

Tomorrow, the score releases in stores and retail outlets everywhere. What do I expect? I’m hoping a Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines whoopin’. I’m hoping when I put on my Sennheiser headphones, the walls outside will shake. Imagine a constant pounding with ear-splitting crescendos and breathtaking silences. We’re talking about Second Coming music without relent. Yet, I’m also hoping, in Beltrami’s inimitable style, beautiful, sweeping phrases, majestic and victorious in breath, to herald the dawn of the zombie apocalypse.

I’m getting shivers run up my spine thinking about it.

Zombie Climb
Zombie Climb

Beltrami’s also responsible for the rhythmic I, Robot score. The constant tapping heard is a trademark Beltrami sound sucking the listener into the vortex of his design. Shrilling flutes and reverberating brass counterpoints, clanging anvils, he has it all.

But the score I believe most likely will have the greatest influence on World War Z is Underworld: Evolution. Imagine armies of zombies marching on a city while heavy timpani pummels in the background, a grand piano repeats the same phrase in its lower register, and syncopated strings push against the blaring of a lone trumpet. More? Add emergency sirens and real skulls he brought into the recording studio. That’s cool. That’s Beltrami. That’s probably why he’s the composer commissioned for the film.

Zombie Panorama
Zombie Panorama

World War Z is a landmark event. No other time in film history will a blockbuster of such sheer scope and magnitude affect an entire genre upon release. This is Hollywood’s attempt at making zombies in vogue, injecting them into the mainstream for all to see.

Let’s hope the public’s ready. The Walking Dead ushered in a new generation of zombie fan, where it was cool again to like dead things crawling in the night. The media’s also having its heyday with TV series and movies parading zombies in the open. Entertainment such as In the Flesh and Warm Bodies has made stars of dead people.

If this film works, history will remember Brad Pitt as a visionary, willing to take risks, never afraid of the outcome of such gambles. Max Brooks’ novels will fly off the shelf, and no one will ever look back.

Bring it on, Beltrami. Let’s see what you got.

RANGER MARTIN AND THE ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE, on sale October 22.

Are you going to see World War Z? Is music to a movie as important as the story?

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22 thoughts on “World War Z

  1. definetly taking time out to see the “Z”….this weekend methinks. And yes,….soundtrack is everything for movies…especially horror genre

  2. I’m curious to see it. The screenwriter in me has heard so much about how they wrote a new ending at the last minute, and that has me curious. Being from Maine, I deal with Zombies on an almost daily basis, but I hear the ones in this flick are super fast, so that would be a nice change from what I’m used to up here…

  3. I’m definitely going to see it! Its planned Monday matinee with the boyfriend! I need to pull some all-niters to finish up the book though 🙂 Although honestly, there probably is 5% link to it. It doesn’t seem to reflect the same themes..at least not from the trailers! And yes, music is quite important to build the mood of the story in films 🙂
    Great post Jack!

  4. Good review Jack. It’s a solid flick that ups the ante on the scares, but could have done a lot better with it’s human-based story. However, it was fine for what it was and better than it had any right to be.

  5. When I saw you were writing about World War Z, I got super excited. Thanks for your post! 🙂 I’m going to see the movie tomorrow. But I’m a little worried about, and a little scared of, those uber-fast zombies.

    I don’t think the whole genre will fall if World War Z doesn’t succeed in the mainstream (there are too many die-hard fans out there for that-haha), but it certainly won’t create the pandemic of zombie-obsession I’m hoping for.
    I guess we’ll see soon!

    • You’re welcome, Molly! Oh, the totally-speedy undead suits me fine. It’s the disease that makes them that way that makes my spine tingle.

      I’m sure WWZ will meet everyone’s expectations and then some. I picked up the score on Tuesday and I’ve been playing it non-stop for the past two days. Marco Beltrami’s done it again. I was right about the Terminator 3 and Underworld:Evolution influence, I hope I’m right about the movie!

      Enjoy!

  6. I’m so glad you did this post. The music and score in a movie completely influences in the mood of the movie. In movies like this, you really need something that induces panic and fear at some parts and sadness and loss at others. I wasn’t aware of who did the score for this one, but now I’m looking forward to the movie even more!

  7. I think soundtracks are very important. Think of E.T without music. I just might go watch zombie movie 🙂

  8. Having read the book, I’m not interested in seeing the movie. The timing in the movie is a bit off from the book and I’m concerned about a few other aspects as well. (Namely that the book was a series of different viewpoints that allowed the reader to piece together what had happened as opposed to singular point of view that it appears the movie will have.)

    As far was music goes, music can be essential to a movie. (Can be … although not always necessary.) Music generates feeling and with it, the mood of a movie can be dictated (or ruined) by the score. Properly used, a good score becomes a character unto itself.

  9. I think it’s fairly safe to say that the music makes the movie. Here at our movie theaters, they play soundtracks while you’re waiting for the show to begin. We love to listen and guess which movie each song is from. It’s hardly guessing, though, because music is what sticks with you long after a movie screen goes dark. Just a couple bars of the Jaws theme or the Indiana Jones theme and you’re immediately sent back to what you felt the first time you saw the movie.

    I can’t wait to see World War Z! The “zombie climb” scene in the trailer is bone chilling. I’m sure Beltrami has created a soundtrack that will stick with us!

    • I love that idea of guessing music cues while waiting for the movie to start. Our theater in town usually has trivia screens where we try to guess the right answer in a multiple choice quiz about actors & actresses. It’s fun, but unless you don’t go to the movies once a month, the quizzes become old fast.

      For sure that zombie climb scene gives me goosebumps, too!

  10. As a fan of the Walking Dead television series, I will be definitely going to the theatre to check out this one (even though the zombies are different).

  11. Jack! Your excitement is infectious!! (see what I did there? Zombie humour before 9am – you’re welcome!)

    But seriously, I am super excited for this movie. (And I’m not just saying that because of Brad’s gorgeous hair 😉 ) These new, fast moving zombies could really infuse new (undead) life into the genre, I think. I read a really interesting interview with some of the producers, who said that they based the zombies’ movements on animal swarm behaviours found in nature, which totally freaked me out … in the best way!

    • Animal swarm behaviors sounds so nightmarish. I’m looking forward to the music above all else. Once the movie’s done, if the music is good, I’ll hum it all the way out the parking lot. Weird but true. The studio ask Marco Beltrami to “amp down” the music because the producers were afraid it would removed the family element from the story. I laughed. It’s a zombie movie, not The Pirates of the Caribbean!

      • Exactly, This is no Pirates of the Caribbean. I must say that media involving zombies have NEVER gained my attention accept to tune out, but this story and the film may just open the door to my curiosity. It already has.

  12. I will be going to see World War Z – I really enjoyed the book. I do think music is as important as the story – bad music can really detract from a good story, and sometimes, if the music is good enough, or I know of the composer, I will watch the movie to experience it. It may not make me love the movie, but it helps.

  13. I may see it just to see how the music relates to the story as you’ve described it. I liked the harsh visuals of the 28 Days Later movies but don’t remember the soundtrack very well. I think music is important it adds an extra cue to the audience for an emotional response.

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