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For a film so famously plagued by production issues (budgetary, creative, and otherwise), “World War Z” is remarkable in its composure, as if retroactively transforming its choppy history into something nearly unflappable. That its biggest thrills come in its quietest moments is even more of a surprise, but a welcome one. At its best, Marc Forster’s film is an atmospheric, frequently creepy zombie thriller that strikes a nice balance between horror and action-adventure, leaning on familiarity but never abusing it.

No, “World War Z” doesn’t reach the heights of the most notoriously troubled summer blockbuster, “Jaws,” but it’s a quietly stirring success, gently humorous and hampered only by an imperfect second act and a merely adequate climax. The film’s high points hearken back to the days in which CGI was an accoutrement rather than a main dish – and it’s no coincidence that its most satisfying moments are its most intimate.

Rating: ★★★★ out of ★★★★★ (Very Good)

Full review: World War Z

-J. Olson