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Zombieland Review: Barry’s Take

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Fans of the undead rejoice!  The American zombie comedy has hit theaters with both barrels a blazin’.  Like a banjo hit to the face Zombieland smashes you with all you could ever love about a zombie movie all the while still feeling fresh and filled with originality.

 
ZOMBIELAND
 
Director:
 
Ruben Fleisher
 
Writers:
 
Rhrett Reese
Paul Wernick
 
Starring:
 
Jesse Eisenberg
Woody Harrelson
Emma Stone
Abigail Breslen
 
and Bill Murray
 
Zombieland is here, and it demands your attention.  Ruben Fleisher’s feature film Directorial debut has all the thrills, the kills, and the witty banter you would expect from a movie such as this.  It makes you wonder where the hell this guy came from, and why the hell it took him this long to get here.
 
Synopsis:
 
Boy thinks he’s last man on Earth.  Boy is wrong.  Columbus(Eisenberg) is a loner, a rebel, and a complete pussy! Somehow he has survived the zombie apocolypse.  He (with his zombie survival rule book in hand)  is trying to make his way home to hopefully find his family uneaten.  That is, until Tallahassee(Harrelson) the bad ass of all bad asses crosses his path and the two pair up to become the, “odd couple of the dead”.  After a run in with a couple of scam artist sisters(Stone and Breslen) the four hit the road to try to find their way… In Zombieland.
 
What I liked:
 
First let me start by saying that I am a zombie super dork.  I love everything undead.  If someone were to ask me to list my top 10 movies of all time, “Night of the living Dead” “Dawn Of The Dead” and “Dead Alive” would be on that list.  So yeah, maybe I may be a bit bias when it comes to the topic of Zombies.  I also just may forgive shortcomings where others wouldn’t.  It also means that I know what a good and a bad zombie movie looks like.  That being said, this movie fucking rocks!
 
RULE # 33 When making a zombie movie don’t try to reinvent the wheel!
 
Zombie fans want bad ass, gore, fun likable characters, more gore, and an interesting take on a tired overworked genre.  Zombieland delivers on all of these in spades.
 
The opening credits sequence was shot with high speed cameras.  So with an almost calm super slomo effect and old school Metallica blaring,  it shows the mass amount of carnage that leads us to the end of humanity.  It actually made my jaw drop a little how awesome these shots were and it perfectly sets the tone for the whole movie.  Are we off to a good start? Good.  Cinematography in Zombieland is beautiful to behold and never gets silly big budget bullshit looking.  Proof positive that CG isn’t always the way to go!
 
The characters, oh, the characters.  Everyone is spot on awesome in this.  I’ll be honest I’m not a big fan of Jesse Eisenberg.  He seems like Michael Cera lite and I’m a little bored with the monotone nerd guy but, it totally worked in this.  We all know that the video game super nerds of the world are going to inhabit the Earth after the zombies take over(sorry you can’t fuck with their trigger finger reflexes).  I totally liked him and I loved watching him grow throughout the movie…who knew?  Woody Harrelson is dare I say, brilliant in this. Tallahassee is fucking bad ass and pee your pants hilarious all at the same time.  He could’ve been the only character in the movie and I still wouldv’e liked it.  Not too many actors can pull off the gruff mean asshole character and still have you rooting for him in the end and Harrelson does it effortlessly.  Last thing to mention and I will keep this as spoil free as I can is the perfectly placed cameo appearance by mister William Murray.  Not since Tom Cruise put on the bald cap in “Tropic Thunder,” have I been floored with sidesplitting laughter as with Murray’s portrayal  of none other than….Himself.
 
RULE # 34 Steal as much as you can from other works of zombie and call it homage.
 
The writing in this is top notch.  Rhrett Reese and Paul Wernick have really nailed it with a script filled with memorable situations and kick ass one liners.  Just like the director where the fuck did these guys come from?  It’s about damn time Hollywood hired some talent!  Not once in the movie did I ever feel bored by anything that was going on, or anything that anyone was saying.  That is a very hard thing to achieve these days!
 
What I didn’t like:
 
RULE # 35 the running time of a good zombie movie should be as long as it can get away with.
 
But, But, it seems like you loved the movie what could you possibly not like?
 
Well I’ll tell you since you asked.  The girl characters.  Emma Stone as Wichita was Okay.  She’s pretty and holds her own on screen but, she was more interesting in the situations she was in than her acting prowess.  Don’t get me wrong she was far from bad just nothing special.  Abigail Breslen as well.  She apparently is the new Dakota Fanning of the month but, really it couldv’e been any mature young girl in the role and it wouldn’t have been much different.  This leads me to my next point.  The movie is too fucking short.  Eighty minute run time, are you kidding?  It felt like it was rushing me out the door before I could even enjoy it.  So, needless to say I left the theatre wanting more.  This short running time was why I didn’t love the girls as much.  A lot more time was spent on the men that not enough time was left for the ladies.  That is why they felt a little flat to me.  Ten minutes of story could’ve easily been added without scarifying pacing.  Hopefully a directors cut will hit DVD and all my prayers will be answered!  That’s it.  I cant say I have any other gripes to report.
 
At the end of the day Zombieland will most likely exceed any expectations you may have.  If you are a fan of  an awesome zombie splatfest and a hell of a fun comedy than you would do yourself a great injustice by not seeing this movie.
 
In the words of my new favorite hero,” Nut up, or shut up!” And Bring on ZOMBIELAND 2

4 1/2 out of 5

Category: Film

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