“World War Z” really shouldn’t be any good at all. A heroic UN field operative played by Brad Pitt saves the planet from a global zombie pandemic? What part of that sentence doesn’t make you snort milk out your nose?
The surprise of this absorbing, frightening genre flick, then, is that what sounds ridiculous on paper turns out to be a gripper on the screen. “World War Z” is epically realized entertainment that feeds on our fears of apocalypse, but it’s just fast enough and smart enough — and, more importantly, human enough — to keep an audience on edge from start to finish. You can (and probably should) pick it apart when it’s over, but while the movie’s playing, it represents the higher craft and better instincts of blockbuster Hollywood filmmaking.