Friday, October 23, 2009

Zombieland Reveiw

Hello all,

Apologies for not being able to see this movie sooner, but when you help run a Haunted House...well in October that kind of takes precedent.

Review of Zombieland:

You must accept, going in, that this movie is going to be ridiculous. To assume that it is a serious zombie movie or to assume that it is an "intellectual comedy" are not wise decisions. It is in essence a Zombiedy. If you go in thinking the will probably be let down.

That being said, it was quite humorous. I laughed out loud at many parts, but will keep my lips closed in case there are readers who haven't seen it yet. My favorite part was when the take refuge in the LA house....

The movie also focuses on a number of rules. There are 32 rules but we only ever learn, I think, eight of them:

1. Cardio--To sustain long periods of running away from zombies
2. Double Tap--send the extra bullet into the zombie's head to ensure it stays down
3. Be weary of bathrooms--Zombies always seem to show up when we are vulnerable
4. Buckle your Seat belt--So you can slam on the breaks and you won't go flying
16? Limber Up--before you do anything so you don't pull anything
17? Don't be a hero--except when impressing Witchita
20..? Always check the back seat--A zombie or gun stockpile will always be there
32. Enjoy the Little things--Like Twinkies or "Caddyshack"

I agree with all of these, as I've memorized Max Brooks' The Zombie Survival Guide inside and out. The only one I'd caution against is the double tap...and that's based upon the amount of ammo you have. In this movie the characters sure seemed to have a lot of it....

I liked these rules and I like how they were presented by the skittish, nervous, low self-esteem main character...I would have just liked to know more of the rules, since they clearly defined his life.

The other major issue that I saw was ironically enough, the lack of zombies. There would be very long stretches where you wouldn't see any zombies. Now that's okay, you can have a movie where that happens and it still works. Take either version of Dawn of the Dead. You might not see a zombie for 20 minutes, but you know that there is a hoard of them just outside the mall. Any pull away or establishing shot will confirm this, so the fear is real. I also get that the movie takes place during the later stages of the outbreak, so most zombies would probably have been pulled to major population centers in search of more food. But even at the end, when the major conflict occurs...when it really comes down to it...there aren't that many zombies. Aren't they supposed to be in LA? That is a huge population zone. I get that the point is to have Columbus attempt to rescue the other two characters but in a zombie movie the big fear is the endless hoard.

Maybe that's not what they were going for since the tone of the movie was clearly light. If that's the case then I am willing to back off my statement. My statement is also not a "Deal Breaker" as Liz Lemmon would say, because I still thoroughly enjoyed the movie. It was just a comment tis all.

Lastly--A lot of people have been comparing as the next "Shaun of the Dead." "Zombieland" was good. It was funny. I'm going to buy it to add to my zombie collection. It would fit nicely into a Zombiedy-athon. But it doesn't even come close to the humor, horror, tediousness, complexity, and all around amazement that is encompassed with "Shaun of the Dead." I'm being very serious. I know a lot of you may think I'm jaded because I like horror, comedy, the British, and zombies so its easy to think that I'm just a fan boy spouting off a love fest for Simon Pegg and Edgar Wright.

But in all seriousness, I had to analyze "Shaun of the Dead" for a film class and I've been studying creative writing for a long time now. Everyone watch "Shaun of the Dead" again and pay close attention to the point that the movie is trying to make. The point is that humans are so entrenched in their routines that even a zombie outbreak might go unnoticed and that most humans would not noticed something was wrong until a zombie showed up on their doorstep. This is painfully obvious in the characters of Shaun and Ed as we laugh at them and their exploits. But watch the film again and only pay attention to the background. (I'm also referring to the first act of the movie before the zombies are everywhere.) Notice for how most of the movie there are sirens going off, even if they are just faintly in the background. Notice how sick the people look on the bus that Shaun rides. Notice how when Shaun is in his place of employment and he is trying to sell the TV that you can see three green army trucks rumble past the camera. Then notice that when Phillip leaves the store, those same three green army trucks rumble by him. How much of that did you notice? How much more is there that I haven't noticed yet? Isn't it creepy to think we don't notice things because we only care about our little daily routines? "Shaun of the Dead" scared me for the first them when I realized what I just pointed out and I counted driving past five ambulances with their lights flashing. That's a lot for one day. They could have been the first five outbreak patients and had it not been for "Shaun of the Dead," I never would have had that thought.

"Zombieland" although widely entertaining doesn't even come close to that level of sophistication.

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