WORLD WAR Z isn't as good as it should be nor is it as bad as it could have been.
There's lots of suspense, plenty of thrills, some decent acting and, of course, a world wide epidemic of zombies that threatens to end humanity in a mere 90 days.
Brad Pitt stars as Gerry Lane, a family man, who quickly realizes that Philadelphia is under attack by zombies.
Luckily, his former job as a U.N. investigator gave him friends in high places, and one of them sends a helicopter to meet his family on top of a building. (Mireille Enos of TV's THE KILLING plays Gerry's wife.)
Director Marc Forster knows how to create excitement, but sometimes the action is so close up and frantic that it's hard to tell what's actually happening, especially if you see this film in 3D.
The family is flown to safety aboard an air craft carrier where the full scope of the zombie apocalypse is explained.
Military officer: Life as we know it will come to an end in 90 days. it's on us to change that.
Gerry: I can't leave my family.
Officer: Don't believe your family is exempt when we talk about the end of humanity.
So Gerry leads a team on a world wide search for the virus that scientists believe started the zombie pandemic. But before Gerry gets anywhere near that goal, we are treated to some thrilling shots of zombies swarming over the walls around Jerusalem.
Nobody expects realism in a zombie movie, but when Gerry survives a plane crash with a piece of shrapnel right though his mid section only to recover completely in a few days, I thought the filmmakers had crossed the line into absurdity.
But there's also humanity in this story--and a vivid sense of how people would react to such a world wide catastrophe. Gerry fields a question from worried American soldiers who come from cities all over America.
Gerry: I don't know anyplace back home that's doing very well.
Another soldier: Mother Nature is a serial killer. No one's better.
WORLD WAR Z manages to be a horror film without a lot of blood and gore. It's a suspenseful, exciting, scary fantasy that qualifies as better than average summer entertainment.
Terry Hunter, Hawaii News Now firstname.lastname@example.org