Wednesday, July 7, 2010

[Movie Review] Zombieland

Zombie-killing goodness and more

First off, Zombieland is not, really, about zombies. And, before I get in too far, I should fess up that I'm biased. No, it's not zombies - I'm okay with them. It's Woody Harrelson I don't care for. He was fine on Cheers, but I don't think I've liked anything he's done since.

But anyway, Zombieland isn't about zombies. There actually aren't all that many of them through most of the movie - a lot fewer than you'd expect after a super-plague has wiped out virtually everyone, infecting them with a disease that drives them into a rage and gives them an insatiable hunger. The movie glosses over the contagion, explaining only that it developed out of Mad Cow Disease.

The film is something of an action comedy. A young nerd is playing World of Warcraft in his apartment as the world falls apart. He ends up alone, surviving through his wits which he catalogs in a series of written rules that include things like wearing your seatbelt and always shooting a zombie twice to make sure it's dead. He's never had any friends or much of a relationship with his family, but decides to travel from Texas to Ohio to see if his parents are all right. Along the way he meets another man who lives only to kill the zombies he hates so much. They, in turn, meet some con artists, and one bona fide celebrity (who I won't give away except to say that he's pretty funny in the film).

The movie does some things really well. Every time one of the rules comes into play, the text of the rule appears somewhat surreptitiously on the screen. Also, none of the characters has a name (well, we learn one of them near the very end). They're called instead by the city they're from or going to - Columbus, Tallahassee, etc.

I wasn't optimistic about this movie, but my sister-in-law recommended it highly so I gave it a spin. And I have to admit, it was pretty good. The violence wasn't actually as over-the-top as I'd expected and, like I said, it wasn't really a movie about zombies. It was a movie about people and relationships, loneliness, trust and friendship. It was just the setting of a post-apocalyptic world that put those issues under the magnifying glass. It wasn't a terribly deep film so there isn't much more analysis I can offer. I liked it and rate it a B.

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