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Zombieland (2009)

Directed by Ruben Fleischer Written by Rhett Reese & Paul Wernick

  I can definitely recall seeing this in theaters and in fact, still have my ticket. The opening sequence was one of the best I had seen in a while and how I knew I wouldn’t be disappointed. In the chance that you have not seen this, it begins with Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) speaking on how our sweet world had long been gone and now come the time of Zombieland before us. The beginning is “similar” to Watchmen (though better) while having the credits in slo-mo with different scenarios played out. Such as a zombie stripper running after a not so good paying customer and a 5-year-old birthday princess trying to take a bite out of her mother while driving away; all to Metallica’s “For Whom the Bell Tolls.” The story follows Columbus a couple of months after the initial outbreak of the world overrun with zombies as he’s picked up and later endures a series of wacky adventures with two girls who hold him at gunpoint, Bill Murray and “this fu*king clown.”

  Originally starting as an idea for a TV show but shot down to eventually be heavily revised and made into a feature film (we have The Walking Dead for that anyway). Deciding to make it a viral based infection versus a direct zombie outbreak to bring it to more realistic terms. They shot the film in 42 days and had 3 different stages of make-up prepared for the zombies. The most at one and a half hours for the more detailed work, 30 minutes for a less extreme version and 15 minutes for the “slimy” ones (primarily used in the background). The production throughout the movie being so elaborate that it couldn’t help but be impressive. The grocery store had been completely made by the crew who knew buying out a grocery store would be just as costly. The stretch of the highway when Columbus first starts his journey consisted of 75 cars and while reminds me of scenes from The Walking Dead, was important to establish in the now deserted world around them of true detachment from the world.

The Good: There was a great bit involving Amber Heard (whose make-up/performance was fantastic) as Columbus’ neighbor who asks for assistance but was too late and ended up as another victim. The Director had stated going through hundreds of methods about doing the rules, finally settling on what turned out to be just as good I’m sure, though would have liked to see some other examples in the features. My favorite survivor was Tallahassee, (Woody Harrelson) and this also seemed to be what helped re-kick his career into gear which was nice having been a fan of so much of his earlier work. (MF: Because Harrelson is vegan, cornmeal Twinkies were made for himI’ve also only not seen one of Emma Stone’s films so I know this is not her best role by far but just the same not a bad one either. While Eisenberg shares the same comedic essence of Michael Cera, their type of awkward comedy can only be good for so long. He has a handful of dramatic roles that I prefer him in and while this is a very entertaining film, Holy Rollers remains my favorite film of his. Bill Murray was a great surprise upon viewing, how do you not love him? Really. They go to his house in hopes of finding a Twinkie which ends with being smoked out, getting to play live-action Ghostbusters but the unfortunate demise when a well planned prank goes a bit too far. (Guess it wasn’t that well planned) For a first time movie director, Ruben Fleischer did an amazing job in making it fun for the audience, start to finish. The scene in the store when smashing everything to bits was an example but probably because it mimics the opening credits. When arriving at the amusement park, Tallahassee gets plenty time to shine given badass moment after another. Theres a great shot of Columbus running through the park to save Little Rock and Wichita and while we do get the expected happy ending, it wasn’t too contrived.

The Bad: It was a rather short film and while I have heard a sequel was announced, I can’t imagine it being any better than the first installment. I read that while a script has been written, it seems no one is interested in making it just yet, needing to get the story right. But there wasn’t much, if anything, to dislike in the film. Most people know Abigail Breslin from her first role in Signs or Little Miss Sunshine though I must admit that I don’t find her to be as worth mentioning. But perhaps I need to wait for her future roles to really judge her. She’s a good kid actress but just couldn’t enjoy her as much as others seemed to in here. This also seemed the point that mainstream grabbed hold of Stone and vamped her up. I did like the dark hair and her look, she certainly pulled it off but the make-up around the eyes was a too much. Not a major thing but if I had to nitpick. As well that the end did seem a bit rushed; I would have liked to see Columbus actually fight the clown. Tallahassee did also fight off those endless amount of zombies a bit too quickly and was even surprised he survived; in The Walking Dead that wouldn’t have happened.

The Verdict: Since it was made clear almost immediately of enjoying the film, what did everyone else think? Would you have liked to have it be a bit longer? Would you have liked to see another Actor instead of who was cast for the final four? Favorite moment in the film? Would you want to see a sequel or think it’s just be trying to leech off success from the first?

Da Rules used in the film:“Rule #1. Cardio”; “Rule #2. Double tap”; “Rule #3. Beware of bathrooms”; “Rule #4. Seatbelts”; “Rule #7. Travel light”; “Rule #31. Check the back seat”; “Rule #18. Limber up”; “Rule #22. When in doubt, know your way out”; “Rule #32. Enjoy the little things”; and “Rule #17. Don’t be a hero”/”Be a hero” (Depending on where in the film)