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.

 

r2d2-droid

 

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About Judge Droid

In between refining my procrastination skills I talk a lot of shit about movies and such.

26 responses to “Droid had a great time at ‘Zombieland’”

  1. koutchboom says :

    Franklin T Marmoset, good call on the double bill with Drag Me to Heck! Though I think this film was more fun. I don’t think it’ll be fun a second time on DVD. Maybe 2 years from now.

  2. Xiphos says :

    Droid,

    This movie, for me, is in the catagory of Nerd Trek or Termie 4. Mildly enjoyable while watching but that is about it. The other Michael Cera is annoying as fuck I really can’t stand that kid. Woody’s character never did get much above a one note character for me. Maybe one note with a minor clef. The cameo was just OK but the actor did have probably the funniests line in the film.

    The two sisters were good and I bought into them being sisters and ***SPOILER******SPOILER******SPOILER******SPOILER*****SPOILER*****

    I liked that they were grifters before the zombigeddon went down but how stupid are you to turn on the lights and sounds at the amusement park? also you can find every Hostest snack cake made except for Twinkies?

    ************************END SPOILERS********************************

    All in all Zombieland in my opinion was like a majority of movies now a days mildly enjoyable and utterly forgetable.

  3. koutchboom says :

    opening credits sequence should have been a lot funnier. Some of the shots just nothing was happening, but people in the audience were cracking up anyways. Everyone of those shots should have been awesome.

  4. koutchboom says :

    Also for some reason I thought these guys had something to do with the better and American Office. They don’t, which blows. Because the guys in charge of writing Year One write the better and American Office right now. Though the Office is good, I wouldn’t mind seeing them banned from hollywood (or at least movies) because Year One was so shit.

    And they are the team in charge of making Ghostbusters 3….. The people in charge of this movie are much more suited for it. They nail that type of humor, they got a good performence out of Murray so he probably likes them and would work with them again. Also they has a sense of style something Year One lacked entirely. Hopefully Ramis will see the error in his ways and realize that’s he’s washed up and not run Ghostbusters into the ground.

  5. koutchboom says :

    This movie was more enjoyable then T4.

  6. koutchboom says :

    Also the tipped over hostess truck only having snowballs was fucking weak. I worked in the vending buisness last year, and snowballs are like the lowest selling thing they have, twinkies aren’t much better. Its those doughnuts. Also a truck wouldn’t just dump out shit like that it would be littered with treys and shelves. Just took me out of the movie, as I’m sure it did many of the fine working people in the vending buisness industry.

  7. Droid says :

    You guys sweat the details WAY too much. Jesus, snowballs the lowest selling snack? Lights on at the theme park? C’mon! It’s a stupid comedy! The snowball thing was a joke. And why the hell would they make the destination a theme park then NOT turn the lights on? In reality, sure, you don’t do that. But in a movie where the dead walk the earth and a bloke beats a zombie to death with a banjo who the hell cares?

  8. koutchboom says :

    Just took my out of the movie. Hey if people can bitch about the lack of production value and sleeping placement in Paranormal Activity. I can bitch about the truth in a hostess truck.

  9. Droid says :

    Okay, but I’m in the other 99.9999999999999999% of people who saw this and didn’t think anything more than it was an amusing joke.

    I’ve no idea about the sleeping patterns or whatever of Paranormal Activity. I’ve not seen it yet and avoided all talk of it.

  10. koutchboom says :

    I think you are underestimating the size of the vending machine industry, as well as gas station industry. I’m pretty sure I heard at least 10 people groan when they saw that door swing open.

    Not everything is Monster Munch and Hula Hoops here in America.

  11. Droid says :

    I forgot that a square meal for most americans is twinkies, oreo’s, peanut butter cups and cookie dough washed down by an extra large grape soda.

  12. koutchboom says :

    While in england is a sausage burger from wimpy’s followed by some warm Tango with no ice.

  13. Xiphos says :

    Its not sweating the details if the movie isn’t well made, it makes all the problems stand out even more. I’ve said this before, if the movie presents things with some minimal competancy I’m willing to to forgive a lot. I didn’t think Zombieland was all that well made just like PA. So all the little things become magnified.

    ZL was at best, again for me, mildly enjoyable with a few chuckles and one good laugh that was it. I’m glad you enjoyed it to the extent that you did, it just didn’t work as well for me.

  14. koutchboom says :

    Or just a bottle of lucozade and some scampi flavored walkers crisp. With spotted dick for pudding.

  15. koutchboom says :

    Ok I created a user name and now I can’t find your blog? Or join it?

  16. koutchboom says :

    Ok I found it, man that was a pain.

  17. Xiphos says :

    I don’t like grape soda, to sweet.

  18. koutchboom says :

    I don’t like grape soda, not black.

  19. ThereWolf says :

    You forgot blood clots. We eat blood clots in England as well.

  20. kloipy says :

    mmmm….blood clots
    on another note, i was let down by Zland. I liked a lot of it, but honestly, if you’ve seen the trailer, you’ve seen most of the movies. Not enough zombies in it for a movie called Zombieland and the love story was the pits for me. But decent enough to warrent a watch

  21. Droid says :

    kloipy… I didn’t see anything about ZL prior to seeing it. I just knew it was a zombie comedy starring the great man Woody. So I had no expectations and was very pleasantly surprised.

    Xi… I still say you sweat the details too much. If you’re going to do that, then you pretty much can’t ever watch a horror flick because almost every character in every horror flick makes idiotic decisions for the benefit of moving the story forward. I’d say reserve your critical energy for the flicks that are more deserving. Like Shaving Ryans Privates.

  22. Xiphos says :

    Driod didn’t you say above that ZL wasn’t really a horror movie which is a idea i agree with. Plus I can take or leave most Horror films. The ones I tend to like are the more goofy ones like Dance of the Dead. Its splendily and stupidly made and because of that its entertaining.

    If they presented the situation better the nagging details won’t matter that much but I’m starting to think that I WANT movies to be better at least the big studio movies. I’m getting tired of having to accept crap.

    I’m going to reference Shaun of the Dead here because they are pretty much the same movie. It covered the same matterial much better and then it also had sense of dread and danger to the characters which SoTD Which is something ZL lacked. Because I think SotD is much better made movie so all the little things don’t matter as much.

  23. Droid says :

    Xi, you’re correct in that SotD is a much better flick. SotD was satirical as well, which ZL wasn’t. ZL was just plain old goofy humour, and it worked for me. Did I think the characters were stupid for turning the lights on at the theme park? Yes. But did it change the fact that the whole theme park scene was hilarious and also looked great? No. In a movie that features a random cut away to the “Zombie kill of the week”, I don’t expect slavish attention to character and motivation. SotD is far superior because it set it’s sights higher than just a goofy horror comedy. The only honest moment in ZL was the Woody flashback revealing the son that died.

    The bottom line is, the characters turned on the lights at the theme park because there is no reason to have the destination be a theme park if you’re not going to turn on the lights. As the old screenwriting rule goes, if you introduce a gun in the first act, it needs to be fired by the third. Or something like that.

  24. Xiphos says :

    “As the old screenwriting rule goes, if you introduce a gun in the first act, it needs to be fired by the third. Or something like that.”

    That’s the thinking that is really bringing movies down. They could ahve introduced the concept of teh place but never got there. Providing many oopportunities for comedy along the way. why do the writers have to be stuck in that old style thinking becasue as you say ZL is a comedy, one that I didn’t find to be all that funny so then I start to get bothered by the limited planning behind the movie.

    Bottom line the movie worked for you which is good. It didn’t work for me nearly as well.

  25. Bartleby says :

    Xi, you’re so grouchy, God Bless ya. I hear what you are saying though. I do get what you are saying though. In watching Suprnatural, there are a ton of mistakes and implausibilities sometimes more egregious than the ones you mentioned above. But for you, SN captures your imagination and you aren’t paying attention as much. ZL and PA didn’t and I can understand that. It happened to me a few times in PA for me, just because I couldn’t fathom the lack of self preservation skills necessary to not leave the house after the flippin’ photograph incident.

    Special bonus points to Koutch for the line: Just took me out of the movie, as I’m sure it did many of the fine working people in the vending buisness industry

  26. Xiphos says :

    Jonah its no so much grouchy as right now I’m in the mind set of not wanting to accept mediocrity. I’ll get over soon because most movies and TV shows are decidedly stuck right in the middle so I have not choice but to accept the situation. I think that’s the part that hacks me off the worst, havign to accept it.

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