20161115: Comedy Review--Zombieland

Name: Zombieland (2009)
IMDb: link to Zombieland page

Genres: Comedy   Country of origin: USA.

Jesse Eisenberg as Columbus, Woody Harrelson as Tallahassee, Emma Stone as Wichita, Abigail Breslin as Little Rock, Amber Heard as 406, Bill Murray as Bill Murray, Derek Graf as Clown Zombie.

Directed by: Ruben Fleischer.  Written by: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick.
Travelling Family
The Three Acts:

The initial tableaux:
1. We start in Texas, post zombie apocalypse.  A neurotic nerd whom we will later call Columbus (his city of origin) narrates the coming of the apocalypse and the many rules he has used to survive so far.

2. Columbus meets Tallahassee, a middle aged redneck who enjoys killing zombies and is on a quest for the world's remaining intact Twinkies.  At first they are wary of each other, but the fact that they are both human helps them get over that.  They decide to team up, and to go looking for other people.

Delineation of conflicts:
The few remaining human survivors would like to continue living.  The zombies would like to eat them.  Those humans who do survive would like to find missing loved ones, or try to find a new family.

When the two men meet Wichita and Little Rock (a young woman and her tween sister), they get schooled, losing vehicles and weapons more than once.  This goes on for a bit, until the foursome decide to operate together.  They decide to visit a theme park in California where Little Rock thinks there are no zombies.

Resolution: Both surviving and finding lost loved ones is between hard to impossible.

One line summary: Zombie film both humourous and trenchant.


Cinematography: 10/10 Well done.

Sound: 8/10 Competent.  I liked Metallica's For Whom the Bell Tolls as an intro song.

Acting: 8/10 Woody Harrelson was brilliant.  His delivery of one-liners was good for many a laugh.  Jesse Eisenberg is not one of my favourites, but this was a good role for his particular talents.  Also, he and Harrelson work well off one another.

Screenplay: 7/10 Just what is this property?  I laughed at it, so it's getting a favourable rating from me.  I liked it as a comedy.  As a road picture, it was not too bad, at least if one is OK with sudden, numerous life-and-death fights popping up along the way.  The side trip to Bill Murray's house was a bit too meta for me, but it still had some good lines in it.

Also, the film decidedly had its somber side.  Columbus wonders whether he will find his parents, whether he will find a mate, whether his rules will keep him alive.  By the end of the film, the answers are no, perhaps, and perhaps.  Tallahassee is bound to the loss of his son, and substitutes the quest for Twinkies as his meaning in life.  Wichita and Little Rock just wanted to get to the illusionary place without zombies.  Do they have any other plans?

So, For Whom the Bell Tolls seems quite fitting.  None of the characters have any real vision of the future save dealing with murderous sub-humans.  This does make sense, since there are no longer enough humans left to sustain the race.

Final Rating: 8/10 Watch it for the laughs and the performances done in the moment.