Games Meet Metal: Poser or Powerhouse?: Zombieland Movie Review

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Monday, March 22, 2010

Poser or Powerhouse?: Zombieland Movie Review

Yeah, it's a little late, but to celebrate Zombieland's release on DVD I figured I'd post a review. Here goes:

Zombieland was hyped by pretty much all my friends as a great comedy, and it mostly delivers on that front.

Acting: Woody Harrelson is hilarious as the Twinkie obsessed redneck Tallahassee, Jesse Eisenberg is perfect as the OCD nerd Columbus (though he sometimes seems to just be there because Michael Cera was busy) whose list of precautions has made him an unlikely survivor, and Emma Stone (Witchita) and Abigail Breslin are great as the sexy teen and cute kid that use their appearance to con unwitting horny or sympathetic men. Not to mention the cameo actor, which most of you have figured out by now but I won't spoil just in case, is pretty much the best part of the movie. 5

Writing: Obviously, given the fact it's a zombie movie spoof, there are plenty of jokes involving Zombie smashing from lists of survival tips (cardio, beware of bathroom) to Metalocalypse-esque face plants resulting from undead 5 year olds chasing after an SUV whose driver wasn't keen on Ralph Nader's seat belt idea. The jokes that work the best though, while they rely on the background of a zombie apocalypse, are more based on the characters's quirks. Talahasse's love of big guns and twinkies is one of the best running jokes around, and the conversations between him and Columbus are some of the best laughs in the movie not counting the cameo. Harrelson is perfect as the redneck that answers smart talk with smart assery. Unfortunately, the last quarter of the movie completely stops trying to be funny aside from a few quips here and there, but luckily at that point it also turns into a convincing action movie. I also would have liked to see more about Zombie Kill of the Week. 4

SFX: The zombie makeup is great, as are the slow motion zombie killings. The 15 minute action sequence at the end is epic and alleviates the annoying lack of humor in the final moments. The opening titles and sequences also lend the viewer a satisfying zombie apocalypse, full of blood, gore and of course a lot of people getting eaten. 5

Soundtrack: This is a really well picked rock score, with none other than Metallica's "For Whom the Bell Tolls" setting the tone right off the bat, and awesome blues rock band the Black Keys' "Your Touch" ending the movie on a high note. The original score is also great at increasing tension and eliciting emotion at just the right times, and it too is mostly rock oriented. 5

Overall: Zombieland is close to the perfect zombie spoof movie, with well done sight gags, witty dialog, rich characters, convincing zombie action, and an amazing surprise cameo. The only gripe I had was that the comedy falls a little flat towards the end, where the pace is akwardly turned entirely toward action. Other than that minor quip though, this is one Slaytanic comedy that'll have any metal fan hooked with the opening song, any videogame fan relieved that there are way better zombie movies than Resident Evil, and any movie fan laughing even harder than they did in Shaun of the Dead. 5/5

Pros: Witty dialog, rich characters, great action, cool looking zombies, awesome cameo, Twinkies
Cons: Drifts off in the humor department towards film's end

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