Zombieland (2009)

Zombieland

Dave’s 3-Word Review:
A well-deserved parody.

Not too long ago, the world was shocked when it heard that Jesse Eisenberg was going to be playing Lex Luthor in the upcoming Batman/Superman flick. Was I also as shocked? Of course I was, and you can see as much through a special article I wrote here on the site, but I’m not here to talk about that news. Instead, I want to focus your attention on Zombieland, a film that more accurately portrays Eisenberg’s potential. Yes, he is a bit of a typecast, so it’s best to choose roles that fit him more appropriately. Sorry, I keep striving back to the news that he’s Lex. Back to the movie at hand…

Before Zombieland turned into a failed TV pilot, the movie came out following a group of survivors in the zombie apocalypse. To avoid something or other, they refused to tell each other their real names, so instead, they were known only by the cities they grew up in: Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock. Throughout the film, we learn the basic rules of survival, as told through Columbus’s life experiences while they all fight to make it to a zombie-free theme park on the West Coast.

Have you ever played around with music to change the mood you’re in? Try listening to cartoon music while a serious movie is playing on mute. It stops being serious doesn’t it? That’s because sound is just one of the few receptors that can do amazing things like change your mood or even the mood of what’s on TV. They even have fake trailers devoted to that. For me, that’s the whole idea behind Zombieland. It takes a general plot to pretty much every post-apocalyptic zombie feature, and it simply changes the entire mood, much like Shaun of the Dead. This is the kind of self-awareness that makes successful parodies successful. They know clichés and they do their best to make fun of all of them.

Yes, this film is a parody. Too many people have been brainwashed to think that movies like Scary Movie, Epic Movie, A Haunted House, and the like are parodies…they aren’t. Those are spoof movies, which believe me, there’s a difference. If I could put it plainly, parodies make fun of clichés and ideas. Spoofs make fun of genres and current pop culture. That’s why people like Michael Jackson randomly showed up in the Scary Movie franchise. That was during the time when Jackson was all over the media. Nowadays, if those movies were made, guess who’d show up…I’d put my money on Miley Cyrus. So again – spoofs and parodies are two very different types of movies. What are good examples of parodies? The Naked Gun, Airplane!, Scream, Shaun of the Dead, and yes, Zombieland.

Parodies, again, are about clichés and ideas, and this film focused on pretty much every single zombie movie cliché that is in existence, and if you’re sure what they are, just listen to Columbus’s rules. For example, double tap basically states it takes at least two blows to kill a zombie. How many zombie movies do you see a zombie coming back up after getting shot? And the plot – they’re trying to get to a zombie-free area – that’s also the same plot as virtually every zombie movie ever made. There’s just not enough originality in zombie films, and they knew that. Therefore, the movie is hilarious.

I’ve always had a little trouble here and there connecting with dark comedies. Some I can’t at all, but that’s just me. That’s why between Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, I prefer the former. I didn’t fully connect with the jokes in this film, but some of them I really did, like the entire scene with Bill Murray is brilliant, and the whole overall concept of its self-awareness is really smart. The visuals were impressive overall, and the characters were all very diverse and loveable. Then, you have to love the random subplot involving the twinkies is just so weird that it works.

The Good:

If you are a fan of dark humor parodies and comedy horrors, then look no further because Zombieland is the movie for you, with just enough random humor to last a lifetime. In other words, it’s pretty darn funny

The Bad:

If you’re like me, you might not connect with every little thing in the movie. I liked the characters, I liked the plot, I liked the humor, I just found myself not loving everything. Instead, I’d rather see Shaun of the Dead.

Memorable Quote:

Little Rock: So do you have any regrets?

Bill Murray: “Garfield,” maybe.

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