July 28, 2010

#089: Zombieland (6/10)

Zombieland is less of a zombie movie and more of a self-aware comedic examination of the genre.  I liked the tone and presentation, but it fell short in creating any tension or excitement.  The comedy worked well, so I cannot complain too much.  Aside from some uneven moments where it tried too hard to "wink" at the viewer, it was a very enjoyable movie to sit back and have fun with.  I give it a 6 out of 10.

From the get-go you will notice the unique style of the film.  It is all based on our main character's rules for surviving in this post-apocalyptic zombie world.  If you don't like the presentation of the first few minutes, you probably won't like the rest of the movie at all.  I found it really interesting. Maybe one of the best "here are the rules" moments in any film.  It is something that has been done awkwardly so many times, but Zombieland pulls it off really well.

Another determining factor for your enjoyment of this film will be your predilection towards Jesse Eisenberg (Columbus).  He has a unique way of speaking, and if you don't like it you my struggle with this film.  I really enjoy him as an actor and find his style of diction to be pretty hilarious.  This fact alone makes sets the movie up to be a winner for me, and it delivered on its promise.

The main complaint I have about Zombieland is lack of scariness.  I do not like scary movies, but I enjoy tension.  Even thought this is a comedy I feel like it could have used tension to its advantage. The scene where Columbus wakes up to the zombie version of his hottie neighbor was pretty exciting.  It gave us some tension and had a lot of humor.  The rest of the film is filled with random zombies that seemed to be really easy to kill, and never really posed a threat to our main characters.  Even when they were supposed to be in peril, I never felt too worried for them.

The scope of this film is also very narrow.  We spend our entire time in the very micro world of the 4 main characters, and we never get a sense of purpose.  They are all heading in different directions, looking for place that might not be infested by the undead.  I think they all have pretty much given up hope on finding other survivors, until they run into one another.  I wanted them to have more drive; more direction and motivation.  Most zombie films present us with characters exactly what I am talking about, so I understand if they were trying to switch it up a little bit.  I also might be reading a little bit too much into the character depth they were trying to convey here.  They didn't need to be developed in order to deliver the jokes.  However, they did have a few "tender" moments that felt like they might have been reaching a little bit.

Overall Zombieland was quite a bit of fun, and it exceeded my expectations.  It offered enough laughs to make it worth watching for sure, but ultimately it was forgettable for me.  The lack of tension made it play more like a normal slapstick comedy.  It really wouldn't even have needed to include zombies.  I say watch it. It was a good time.

takes a similar approach as Shaun of the Dead did so well with a few years ago.  I would even say that the comedy was on par with its predecessor.  Where Zombieland fell short was in the tension department.  It never once made my heart rate rise.  It seemed content to stay in the ridiculous zone and make us laugh.  I am fine with that, and feel most of the jokes worked really well.  However, the lack of stakes kept this movie from being anything other than a fun time.  I really enjoyed watching it, but it is ultimately pretty forgettable.

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