Zombieland

Synopsis: Nerdy college student Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) has survived the plague that has turned mankind into flesh-devouring zombies because he’s scared of just about everything. Gun-toting, Twinkie-loving Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) has no fears. Together, they are about to stare down their most horrifying challenge yet: each other’s company. Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin co-star in this double-hitting, head-smashing comedy.
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Zombieland 8.0

Initially, when I first heard that there was a film called ‘Zombieland’, I could hardly suppress my derision. I mean, it sounds too outrageous to warrant any credibility, and the cast didn’t inspire much confidence. I essentially wrote it off as yet another lame zombie film – a genre that was only rarely attempted with some degree of success.

But then word was coming out that it was a lot of fun, and I started to wonder if I was missing out on the newest ‘Shaun of the Dead’. As I saw its box office receipts shoot up, I came to realize that this was a film that crossed the line from b-movie status to pop respectability. So it piqued my curiosity – especially once I saw the ratings come in from Bob’s Movie and Dinner Discussion Meetup Group.

So I kept an eye out for it and a terrific stroke of luck dropped a Blu-ray copy in my eager hands for mere peanuts. By that point, the thought of an action-comedy featuring cities full of undead was so compelling that the film was utterly irresistible. Boy, was I was primed for some serious zombie @$$-whoopin’!!!

And did it ever deliver! The film was fun, dynamic, and funny too! It was long enough to fully satiate me, yet short enough to retain its charm (although, I must admit, I felt that the second half was weaker and less enjoyable than the first).

It’s also extremely clever, stylistically, in that it resembles a video game (what with the pop-up rules and so forth) and I was totally surprised to find out, after asking my local video game outlet, that a game had not been released (clearly, the makers also didn’t anticipate the film’s success, or else a game surely would have been designed – both as a marketing tool and as a quick cash-grab)

The acting is solid enough, although it must be said that none of the roles really demand much of the actors – so it’s not very telling. I was pleased to see Woody Harrelson kick butt like this – at this point, I had totally forgotten his turn in ‘Natural Born Killers’, and only remembered him from his ‘Cheers’ days (I know he’s done other things, but he’s still “Woody” to me!). I especially liked Jesse Eisenberg’s narration, which was grounded, frank and wholly believable – it anchored the film in many ways for me.

All in all, I had a good time. Does it mean that I’m looking forward to ‘Zombieland 2’? I can’t say that I am, actually. I think that, unless the filmmakers find a way to stretch the idea and somehow keep it fresh, the basic concept can hardly keep its momentum going over many chapters. In fact, there’s a chance that they will overstay their welcome.

Having said that, many other horror-related series have done unexpectedly well and managed to keep it going in a credible and enjoyable fashion (‘Scream’ for instance!). So maybe ‘Zombieland’ will manage to do this too.

But, whether they pull it off or not, I will be very pleased to pop this one in from time to time after a hard day, and de-stress to sounds of the quips and clips tearing through hordes of walking dead.

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