MOVIE REVIEW – ‘Zombieland’

Written by J.T. Johnson

5-stars

DIRECTOR: Ruben Fleischer
CINEMATOGRAPHY: Michael Bonvillain
WRITERS: Rhett Reese, Paul Wernick
MUSIC: David Sardy

As everybody should probably know by now, “Zombieland” is the latest zombie movie to hit the world of cinema. What people might not know is that is also one of the funniest films of the year that does not disappoint.

The film is about a small group of survivors who are trying to survive in a post-apocalyptic world overrun by the undead. The film is told primarily through perspective of Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), a former “World of Warcraft” nerd-turned-zombie killer. Columbus also has several odd quirks such as a fear of clowns and a detachment from society.

As Columbus tries to outrun the diseased zombies, he meets up with Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson). The first thing Columbus notes about his newfound companion is that he is one badass zombie killer who is maybe a little too crazy for his own good. Tallahassee’s only real goal in this world seems to be finding the remaining Twinkies in the word because, contrary to popular believe, they do have expiration dates.

Eventually, the two meet up with sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin). These women are two former con artists that sometimes use their skills against Columbus and Tallahassee. That is, until the two realize that they would probably be better off teaming up with Columbus and Tallahassee in order to stay alive.

Now, at this point, one might be asking why these characters are named after cities. This is Tallahassee’s way of avoiding attachments and since Columbus is trying to reunite with his family in Columbus, Ohio, that is why he is named as such. The others receive their names accordingly.

The film is a visually entertaining ride right from the start including the opening credits that show the zombies taking over the world. The action scenes between the characters and the zombies are extremely well choreographed and gleefully escalate as the movie progresses.

Not only does Columbus state that Tallahassee is a crazy badass, the movie shows it. One of the greatest examples is when Tallahassee and Columbus enter a grocery store. While there, Tallahassee uses everything from a banjo to a pair of hedge clippers to dispatch the undead found inside.

Columbus also gives clever narration through the film and gives viewers the rules of survival in Zombieland. After something significant happens, these rules continuously appear on screen. One example is when Tallahassee runs over a group of zombies and backs up to run over them again, “Rule #4: Double Tap” appears onscreen.

The film is also well acted by its main stars. Eisenberg is effective as Columbus and his portrayal is reminiscent of Michael Cera’s performance in “Superbad”. Columbus is a nerd, but Eisenberg gives him a certain charm that comes through and endears him to the audience. Stone and Breslin are also very effective as Wichita and Little Rock.

Breslin plays her twelve-year-old character as a girl who has had to grow up fast in the new world of the undead. Despite this, she still has the innocence to believe that if she makes it with Wichita to Pacific Playland, she can recapture some of her lost childhood. Stone plays Wichita as a character that knows this is a pipe dream, but she will do anything for her sister.

The greatest performance, without a doubt, is Harrelson as Tallahassee. Harrelson knows that Tallahassee is a crazy southern boy with a huge amount of hatred built up against the zombies. What Harrelson also knows is that there is more to Tallahassee underneath and when the audience finds out his secret, it is the best and most serious scene in the movie and Harrelson pulls it off flawlessly.

Another brilliant segment of the movie, however, contains what has to be one of the best cameos ever put on screen. It was a total shock and the audience has to see it to believe it.

While “Zombieland” was already geared up to be one of the funnier films of the year, it ends up being something more and could very well go down as being one of the funniest comedies of the decade.

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