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Movie Curiosities

The online diary of an aspiring movie nerd

Zombieland

ByCuriosity Inc.

Oct 3, 2009

My biggest complaint about this movie is actually the pacing. I’ve heard that Zombieland was originally conceived as a TV pilot and I believe it because the padding was pretty obvious in places, particularly in the middle. I mean, I can accept references to Ghostbusters in particular and Bill Murray in general, but I think they stretched that joke mighty thin. That re-enactment bit with the chandelier was completely pointless and Woody Harrelson’s five-minute ass-kissing rant was way too much. Additionally, on the issue of pacing, I am really not a fan of drawn-out death scenes, especially for comedic effect. I don’t care how funny the joke is (and death rattles two breaths long are not funny), if you took a fucking shotgun shell to the sternum, you should be dead in two seconds tops. Period.

Still, that’s really just a temporary lull. In fact, most of the padding consists of genuinely funny moments, bonding time between our four leads (all of whom had great chemistry in every combination) and very good action scenes against undead people and inanimate objects.

All four leads were great in their respective roles. It was very refreshing to see a Michael Cera role played with great comedy and skill by someone other than Michael Overexposed Cera. Abigail Breslin and Emma Stone were both given the absurdly difficult task of playing gun-toting femme fatales without coming off as James Cameron-esque “men without dicks.” And all three of these actors had to play tough without losing sight of the characters’ youth or yearning for the simpler times of before the apocalypse. Not an easy job, but Eisenberg, Breslin and Stone all acquitted themselves wonderfully.

And Woody Harrelson. Good Fucking God. This guy made Tallahassee a dozen kinds of badass all rolled into one. The character was instantly likable from his first frame of screen time and nothing but fun until the opening credits (except for the aforementioned Bill Murray lull).

Now for the obligatory¬†Shaun of the Dead comparison. While the jokes, voiceovers and “Zombie rule” title animations had me laughing more and harder than I ever did at Shaun, I still have to give the edge to the latter movie. Two reasons:

1) Shaun had a larger cast, thus having more characters to grow attached to and then heartbreakingly lose. In Shaun, we saw established characters either killed off or turned into zombies fairly early on, establishing that nobody was really safe. This was a feeling lost in Zombieland, though it didn’t lack for tension.

2) Post-Romero zombie movies were pretty much designed for social commentary and Shaun beats Zombieland in that department without contest. There are a few things in there about “fatties,” xenophobic shut-ins, obsessive video gamers and people who don’t wear seatbelts, but Zombieland only deals with them for less than a few minutes each and all before the movie’s halfway point. Shaun had a lot of great satire about the jaded and dumbed-down nature of society, delivered deftly, on-point and with great humor.

Still, I would not discourage anyone from seeing this movie. All nitpicks aside, Zombieland is thoroughly enjoyable and very well-made. Spend your time and money on this one, folks. You won’t regret it.

By Curiosity Inc.

I hold a B.S. in Bioinformatics, the only one from Pacific University's Class of '09. I was the stage-hand-in-chief of my high school drama department and I'm a bass drummer for the Last Regiment of Syncopated Drummers. I dabble in video games and I'm still pretty good at DDR. My primary hobby is going online for upcoming movie news. I am a movie buff, a movie nerd, whatever you want to call it. Comic books are another hobby, but I'm not talking about Superman or Spider-Man or those books that number in the triple-digits. I'm talking about Watchmen, Preacher, Sandman, etc. Self-contained, dramatic, intellectual stories that couldn't be accomplished in any other medium. I'm a proud son of Oregon, born and raised here. I've been just about everywhere in North and Central America and I love it right here.

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