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While “World War Z” is now viewed as the modern-day runaway film project and all that implies of ego—hubris, irresponsibility and whatnot—the project began with the best of intentions. Brad Pitt’s Plan B Pictures, the same company that developed and won a Best Picture Oscar for “12 Years A Slave,” wanted to try to create their own franchise. Pitt, a producer/actor with diverse taste, wanted a movie his boys could enjoy when they grew up. They hired a respected and eclectic filmmaker Marc Forster (“The Kite Runner,” “Monster’s Ball”) and talented writers—Matthew Michael Carnahan, Drew Goddard, Damon Lindelof—but the project went south on them regardless when they realized the tone and rhythm of an action movie is much more complicated than they realized.

And while the press viewed it as a disaster in the making, the movie’s $540 million worldwide gross turned out to be the opposite of a trainwreck like “Heaven’s Gate” (and in fact is the highest grossing film of Pitt’s career). And for all its problems, it really wasn’t that bad of a tentpole in retrospect, it’s at times thrilling, unnerving and has a genuine anxious feeling of real-world terror. It’s certainly not perfect and its salvage job doesn’t always work either, but you can see it’s good intentions up on the screen – to resemble the thinking man’s tentpole.

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