Zombieland | Ruben Fleischer, 2009
Shaun of the Dead was a game changer for the zombie sub-genre. Zombie movies had always had some humor to them, mostly in their social commentary, particularly the George A. Romero ones. However, Shaun was the perfect marriage between zombies and intentional comedy. Since then, many have tried to copy it, but most have failed (I do love Slither). The problem is that it set such a high stantard, not only in the comedy and the action, but in the depth of the story. It was hilarious, gory, and managed to have social commentary like the Romero movies. Zombieland is the closest that an American production has come to being as good as Shaun, but it doesn’t quite get there.
In Zombieland, the world has become infested with zombies because of something in hamburgers. One of the few survivors is Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg). He has managed to survive because he followed his own rules that he came up with by watching the mayhem around him. One day he comes across Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), a man who is great at killing zombies, and is in a quest to find a Twinkie. As they were headed to Columbus, Ohio they find find Wichita and Little Rock (Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin), they are headed to California to an amusement park to give Little Rock a bit of fun in the horrible they live in. After a little bit of an ordeal, the set off together on their adventure.
This movie suffers from the same thing that Shaun wannabes also suffer from: a lack of a plot. Pretty much the entire script is based around trying to get to that amusement park. The characters do have something that they care about, but none of that is developed enough to care about. Whenver those heartfelt moments happened I just wanted to keep moving on. For example, Tallahassee’s big reavealing moments turns out to be more funny than anything else. Not only is it because of the script, but also because the director didn’t know that during those moments you have to drop the style and just let the situation speak for its self.
With that said, this movie was fun. It is more of an action movie, and it suceeds at that. It has some great set pieces that kept me interested. It is also very funny, thanks to the actors involved. Harrelson is pure awesomeness as Tallahassee. It is clear that he is having fun in the role. Eisenberg plays every character that he has ever played, but this time he got to shoot a gun and give one liners to Woody Harrelson, so I liked him here. Stone and Bresling aren’t given much to do, but they did what they had to do. Also, it features the best cameo of the year.
Zombieland may be no Shaun of the Dead, but it is as fun as that and gave me hope that one day an American movie will reach the standard set by the British movie. Until then, this movie will have to do.