Zombieland was an entertaining movie that was mostly a lot of fun but ended up delivering more on the comedy than the action/horror. Had the director been able to take it up a notch in terms of the action and made it more over the top than it was, it could have turned a really good zombie movie into a great one. Despite that, it was definitely worth seeing in the theatre and overall I had a good time.
This is where the movie is very thin, but doesn’t really take away too much as all it’s really about is a group of 4 people taking a road trip in zombie apocalypse world. The two guy characters Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) and Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) have a more fleshed out back story than the two girls Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) but that’s not saying much. If you are looking for a good story and plot, you’re not going to find much here. There were certain parts of it where it seemed to slow down because there wasn’t a real story driving it, and got a little bored for small streches which shouldn’t happen in an 80 minute movie.
The motley crew of Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock are a likable bunch and are far more interesting when they interact with each other rather than on their own.
Definitely the standout and most interesting character was Tallahassee played perfectly by Woody Harrelson who was a zombie killing machine that seemed to really enjoy his new found talent because he did it so well. Tallahasee is funny and delivers some of the film’s funniest lines. I’m surprised that Harrelson hasn’t been cast in a role like this before, as it suited him and he seemed to own the character.
The rest of cast did a decent job, even with Jesse Eisenberg doing his Michael Cera impression with them even dressing him in a yellow hooded sweatshirt.
There’s a surprise cameo that I won’t ruin for you that is the funniest and best part of the entire movie. It involves the crew looking for a celebrity’s house to live in and finding the person there. At first I thought it might have been a lame cameo and the actor/actress wouldn’t commit to tone of the film, but I was wrong, he/she went all the way, and delivered one of the best surprise cameo’s I’ve seen.
I found the direction of Ruben Fleischer to be uneven. The comedy bits were really well done, and some of the action scenes were great, however there were certain sequences that had a lot of potential but weren’t fully realized. While some of the zombie kills were cool, if he had pushed it into the outrageous in terms of dismemberment and moved the camera around a bit more it would have led to some better action sequences.
Also at no point in the movie was I ever worried about any of the main characters safety, which a truly great director can make you feel that the main character is in danger even if you know that he/she won’t die or you’ve seen in multiple times. (see T2 and Aliens)
This is however Fleischer’s first big budget film, and he seems to have potential, so perhaps with more experience he’ll be able to deliver more on the action next time.
Zombieland delivers some truly hilarious moments, and some interesting zombie kills that could have been done better. Perhaps if they were willing to go more over the top with action it would have made some action sequences even better, especially in the end. Even though the movie is rated R for violence and language, it seems like they pulled away from being a hard R and made it too close to PG-13 for my tastes. If they had decided to go all the way, it probably could have had been more gruesome in the zombie kills, some gratitious nudity for comedic sake, and overall embracing the craziness of a post apocalyptic zombie filled world.
I definitely recommend seeing the movie if you are looking to have a good time and want to laugh a lot. However if you are looking for some insane over the top action like I was, you might be slightly disappointed. I am hoping there is a sequel that keeps up the same comedic tone and just upping the action to the next level.
If you’ve seen it, let me know what you think below, and also look for our video review soon!
BTW – If you wait until the credits are done, there is funny short outtake with Woody Harrelson and the guest cameo celebrity
I give Zombieland a: