Droid had a great time at ‘Zombieland’
‘Zombieland’ is simple stuff. It bothers only with a minimal story and focuses on providing us with great performances, plenty of laughs and a seemingly never-ending zombie population for our intrepid heroes to splatter in various amusing ways. There are no huge surprises, and it never outstays it’s welcome. It’s simply lots of fun.
The film is narrated by Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), an awkward nerd with very few social skills, irritable bowel syndrome and an ever expanding list of rules in which he lives by. It’s been two months since a virus swept through the human race and turned everyone into zombies. Columbus, who has inexplicably survived by dutifully following his rules, is making his way from his college in Austin, Texas to home in Columbus, Ohio where he will hopefully be reunited with his estranged parents.
Along the way, he meets Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) who seems to be doing nothing more than driving around killing zombies, and searching for Twinkies. He’s so skilled at killing zombies that he prefers using blunt objects, such as baseball bats, banjoes or car doors, to make it more enjoyable and interesting. It’s a skill he never knew he had.
These two are heading in the same direction, and since there’s no one else around, they travel together. On a stop to check for Twinkies, they encounter Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin), sisters who manage to con them out of their truck and guns.
Stranded, they conveniently come across a bright yellow humvee, complete with the owners severed hands clutching the steering wheel and a backseat filled with guns. They catch up to the sisters and again manage to let themselves be conned. But they all end up together and decide to head to a theme park in California called Pacific Playland, supposedly a safe haven from the zombies. Why is a theme park a safe haven? Because visually, it’s a great location for killing zombies that’s why.
And that’s all there really is of a plot to ‘Zombieland’. But that’s as it should be in a film like this. The pleasure is in the details. The witty script by Paul Wernick and Rhett Reese is filled with nice details, including brief flashbacks that further develop the characters. The Tallahassee character benefits greatly from this, as for a while his character threatens to become a little one-note.
First time director Ruben Fleischer has a good sense of comic timing and visual flair. The opening credits sequence is particularly memorable and the way a rule will pop up on screen when the action relates to it is also very funny (but slightly overused).
The performances are all appealing, and it’s especially good to see Woody back and funny again. Stone and Breslin make a spunky pair and Jesse Eisenberg is engaging. Eisenberg was good in ‘Roger Dodger’ and ‘The Squid and The Whale’, but after playing a very similar character in the overwhelmingly average ‘Adventureland’, he needs to try to move away from the awkward nerd character as soon as possible. Although this may be difficult since he next stars as Mark Zuckerberg in David Fincher’s ‘The Social Network’.
There is also a cameo in ‘Zombieland’ that is very funny and kind of perfect. It had me laughing harder than any other film has in a long time. I won’t spoil it for you.
‘Zombieland’ is unashamedly exactly what it is meant to be. A comedy-horror that’s more comedy than horror. It’s an unexpected surprise and after a year where the only other funny film was ‘The Hangover’, a welcome one.