bill bodkin reviews the hit zombie action/comedy…
“Zombie movies are like blueberry pie and ice cream. They never get old.” -Brent Johnson, October 2009 blog “Tis’ The Season to Be Clooney…Brent’s Top 10 Fall Films.”
My good friend and co-blogger is correct, zombie movies, like pie, are a tried and true formula that the American movie populace loves to consume. To continue the analogy, you also know that when it comes to pie sometimes you will score a delicious, fresh-baked pie, like my mom’s glorious Thanksgiving pumpkin pie or you’ll get a rank piece that’s been sitting in a diner display case — it’s consistency being equivalent to congealed asphalt.
The same goes with zombie movies, for every brilliant, original zombie flick like Shaun of the Dead there’s something rank like Land of the Dead. [Editorial Note: Any movie where a zombie can pick up and fire an M-16 AND stars The Mentalist's Simon Baker, is awful.].
Luckily a new zombie film has been served up for us to enjoy- Zombieland.
Zombieland is set in the not too distant future where the earth has been ravaged by a zombie apocalypse, which was caused by a mad cow disease infected gas station hamburger. We follow a rag-tag group of survivors- the overly neurotic Columbus (East Brunswick’s own Jesse Eisenberg), the hyper violent Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), the precocious Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) and the requisite love interest Wichita (Emma Stone).
The four are on a mission- head towards an amusement park in California that is supposedly the only zombie-free area left in the USA. Countless zombie corpses, a hilarious cameo by a comedy icon and a film full of clever dialogue come along for a fun, escapist thrill ride.
What separates Zombieland from its undead contemporaries, is that it’s really a fun movie. Most zombie flicks are serious to the point of absurdity, causing them to become unintentionally hilarious [e.g. zombie shooting an M-16]. However, Zombieland takes a major cue from Shaun of the Dead. It focuses on the interaction between the survivors and less about the impending doom that surrounds them. Sure there are some scary moments, sure there are some moments of sorrow, but this film is more of a rock ‘n’ roll action flicks meets a buddy road movie…with zombies.
The buddy movie aspect is actually the best part of the film. The interaction between Eisenberg and Harrelson is sure genius. Their natural chemistry and extremely opposite personalities are perfect for this film. Think John Wayne and Woody Allen as a team. Eisenberg, who can’t dodge the Michael Cera comparisons, is in top OCD form here and his “rules to surviving zombies” that appear throughout the film are just brilliant…and something we’ve all thought about. As for Harrelson, not since Ocean’s 11, has their been an actor having more fun captured on celluloid.
So, if you’re looking for a film that’s going to help you beat the winter blues, (especially if you’re on the east coast and are constantly getting snowed in), pick up Zombieland on DVD and enjoy this excellent piece of escapist cinema.