Zombieland

I’m going to keep this one short, because I was almost certainly the last person in America to see this movie, so you’re probably all, “Duh, Marla! Way to jump on the late train!”

Zombieland is riotous and original, perfectly timed at 88 breathless minutes that are jam-packed with action, superb effects, priceless one-liners and a surprising amount of heart. Jesse Eisenberg plays (of course) the awkward and nerdy Columbus, who is uniquely suited to survive the zombie apocalypse due to his neuroses, paranoia and cowardice. He meets up with Tallahassee, a reckless, Twinkie-obsessed, redneck Woody Harrelson at his very best. I’m not kidding—this movie could have starred ONLY Woody Harrelson and it still would have been my favorite movie ever.

Tallahassee and Columbus meet up with con-sisters Wichita (Marla girlcrush Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), and the four embark on an unlikely partnership of survival in post-zombie America. Stone’s hardened femme fatale routine is stone-cold awesome, and Abigail Breslin seriously blew my mind as Little Rock. She’s so jaded and acerbic, only occasionally reminding the audience that she’s actually 12 with her Hannah Montana references.

On paper, Zombieland doesn’t do anything new for the zombie genre. But its fresh tone, wonderfully warm and realized characters and utterly phenomenal effects are all brand new. Director Ruben Fleischer uses the absolute coolest text effects and super-saturated slo-mo for the credits and throughout the movie. I can’t get over how freaking gorgeous this film looked on blu-ray! Check out these credits and tell me if you’ve ever seen anything so spectacular?!

I didn’t think so. 

But Zombieland‘s bold individuality isn’t due solely to its superb visual accomplishments. Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick delivered a crisp, hilarious and uncommon screenplay, and the two writers are  now deservedly hot commodities in Hollywood with plenty of genre projects in the works (Deadpool, the G.I. Joe sequel and awesomely, Zombieland 2). Columbus’s obsessive-compulsive rules for zombie survival (always double tap your victim, practice cardio, wear your seatbelt, beware of bathrooms, etc) make many clever appearances throughout the film, and the banter between the four characters (plus one completely marvelous cameo that will remain unspoiled for the few of you who haven’t seen this movie yet) has as many quick, witty one-liners as a dirty, zombie-filled Casablanca

Columbus: “I like Sno-balls.” Tallahassee: “I HATE coconut. Not the flavor, the consistency.”

Sorry, it’s really Harrelson’s delivery that makes it. Makes the ENTIRE MOVIE, that is. Although Eisenberg’s uncomfortable voice-over is straight-up aces, and Stone and Breslin’s strong women characters (you know I love that!) can’t be discounted, either. Frankly, the entire movie kicks so much ass, I simply can’t decide what I love best! Which is, naturally, what I actually love best about Zombieland.

Well, that and the sense of family. Zombieland is gross, occasionally scary, always hilarious, and just really damn pretty at the same time. But it’s also a statement: family is what you make of it. Quirky, dysfunctional, destructive, forgiving—Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock make one screwed up little family. And god love ’em for it.

Link Drop:

The best part of this review is undoubtedly this interview with screenwriters Reese and Wernick, where they talk about their ideas for the 3D (!!) Zombieland 2. These fellas clearly feel the same way I do about 3D, which is SUCK IT, HATERS! I’m just happy that we’ll be seeing these folks again, because Zombieland‘s brilliant brevity definitely left me wanting more!

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8 Responses to “Zombieland”

  1. Christopher Borders Says:

    Knew you’d love this movie. So glad to hear they’re making a second one! Definitely didn’t know that before. :D

  2. Best credits ever, I agree! Also Woody Harrelson looks JUST like my brother, and it kind of weirds me out, but I think Shane would be right proud to think of himself as a zombie destroying mo-fo.

    I have to say the amusement park was a bit of a let down (except, of course when Woody gets on the roller coaster, pure genius!), while somewhat bored watching the ladies deal with the MOST RETARDED RIDE YOU COULD POSSIBLY TRY TO ESCAPE ZOMBIES ON I was totally mesmerized by the extras. Those people were dedicated and AMAZING!

  3. Yay!! You saw Zombieland! I really liked it. Opening credits were amazing. The point has been made that it’s been done (Shaun of the Dead) but to be fair, it’s only been done ONCE and I really like watching it!

  4. Yes, yes, yes! This movie is just so fun and tight I wanted to watch it again right after I finished. There’s so much cool stuff in this movie. I love it when a movie does it’s job so perfectly.

  5. I CANNOT WAIT TO WATCH THIS MOVIE AGAIN! like, TONIGHT!!!

    now you know why this film won a poshie cos AMAZING!

    i agree with sally, that “let’s escape on this ride that doesn’t go anywhere” plot point was so RIDIC. but otherwise, dude, this movie was flawless and KICKED SO MUCH ASS I CAN BARELY HANDLE IT!!!

    at the Q&A after the film premiere at fantastic fest, one audience member asked the cast to name their favorite zombie extra (good Q, right?), and emma stone said she loved the charlie chaplin zombie in front of mann’s chinese theater– one of the many, many great details that make this film so amazing.

  6. Just came from a sneak preview held in Baltimore and left the theater feeling very satisfied. You don’t normally find a late September movie as good as “Zombieland” was. After dropping you in the action right from the start, the movie keeps coming with constant laughs and good action. There were not a lot of scares in the movie, other than the few obvious scenes where you could see one coming, but horror is not what the director was going for in this film. Laughs, however, come often and from many different directions. Jessie Eisenberg’s nerdy, insecure ‘Columbus’ character and Woody Harrelson’s redneck zombie-killing ‘Tallahassee’ play very well off each other and provide plenty of memorable moments. Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin are also solid throughout. There is also one unforgettable cameo that had most of the audience rolling in the aisles. The film has a simple, easy to follow storyline that does not provoke a lot of questions. Indeed, if you go to this movie expecting a lot of plot twists and surprises, you’re going to be severely disappointed. There is however, good action, good laughs, and plenty of zombie related gore. At about 90 minutes long, it does not drag on and gets to the predictable but satisfying ending, going out in style. There will no doubt be a lot of comparisons to “Shaun of the Dead”, which is nothing to be ashamed of, but this is truly a one of a kind movie experience that holds its own with any not only any zombie movie in recent memory, but with any comedy so far this year. As long as you don’t go into this movie expecting too much, you’ll get your money’s worth. Well done. (Written by http://cineload.net)

  7. Porkchop Express Says:

    Somehow I also put off watching this until last week as well. My impression of the film was overwhelmingly positive from the very start, in particular I’m not sure I’ve ever seen something quite as cathartic as the discovery of the proper use of the banjo or, even better, the total annihilation of a roadside Indian trading post. I almost felt a twinge of regret when we were set up for what I presumed to be Woody’s death scene, and was then pleasantly surprised that it didn’t come to pass; I think it takes quite a lot of restraint not to kill off any of your main characters in a zombie film and it seemed pleasantly in keeping with the tone that he was able to survive. The only real aspect of the film that they failed to capitalize on was the idea of the burgeoning worldwide network of zombie survivors kind of going about their lives. This was certainly touched on but I had the feeling that “The Zombie Kill of the Week’ might have somehow taken on the aspect of a viral video for example, and that we would have seen a bit more. In any case, the world of Zombieland actually has some legs, and while I don’t necessarily encourage folks to turn a great original concept into a sequel it would be interesting to explore some of these ideas a bit further.

  8. Arguably one of the finest horror comedies of all time is Edgar Wright’s Shaun of the Dead, and since its release in ’04, there have been a good number of wannabes. Based on the trailers for Zombieland, however, I thought that the film had some serious potential to match Shaun in terms of quality, possibly even usurp it. Having seen the film, I’m happy to say that Zombieland does just that.

    Unlike many comedies in recent memory, in which the majority of laughs are already provided by the trailer, Zombieland is filled to the brim with laugh-out-loud moments, thanks largely to the brilliant cast. Eisenberg is awesome as the main protagonist, Columbus, portraying that sense of vulnerability and awkwardness, without becoming too Michael Cera-like. Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin are also terrific as the sweet, yet tough Wichita and the more-mature-than-she-seems Little Rock, respectively.

    The real stand-out performance, though, is Woody Harrelson as the Twinkie-lovin’, zombie-hatin’ Tallahassee. Next to that of Woody Boyd on Cheers and Frasier, this is definitely the best performance of his career. There’s also a painfully hilarious cameo appearance about mid-way through the film that would be a crime to spoil. Suffice it to say, this is – hands-down – the best cameo that I’ve ever seen in a film.

    The most surprising aspect of Zombieland, to me, is how much heart there is. All of the characters feel warm and alive, and what drama there is to be found feels extremely sincere. Ultimately, you feel invested in the story and the characters, which – I think – is the most important thing any film of any genre can do.

    Zombieland has instantly become a horror favorite of mine (comedic or otherwise). The – for the lack of a better word – quotable dialogue, consistently hysterical tone, and endearing characters, all come together to create a film that will undoubtedly become a cult classic. Comment by http://cineload.net

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