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? But the surprise of the absorbing, frightening “World War Z” is that what sounds ridiculous on paper turns out be a gripper on the screen.
Despite a troubled production, Marc Forster has made an epic genre entertainment that feeds on our fears of apocalypse, but the movie’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 it’s playing, this represents the better instincts of blockbuster Hollywood filmmaking. Full story for BostonGlobe.com subscribers.