Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Man on Film: Zombieland

As we left the theater, I asked The Special Lady Friend* what she thought of Zombieland. Her response was something to the effect of "I love zombie movies, and I love post-apocalyptic movies, so of course I loved it."

*You see how that's capitalized? It's like she's been given an official title.

There is certainly an allure to both of these things.

The reason we all like zombie flicks is that our heroes get to run through their ruined landscapes, blowing away beings that sure look a helluva lot like humans at a rate that would make Rambo blush. And to qualify the reckless abandon that usually accompanies the slaughtering and the myriad methods by which that is achieved as just "blowing them away" is an oversimplification.

As for post-apocalyptic fare, I will reference TSLF's favorite scene in 28 Days Later. More so than anything else, the most enduring image from that film for her is the one of the survivors running through the grocery store, filling their carts to the brim with no concern for having to pay. Within the construct of the post-apocalyptic film, the characters must scavenge for everything against the harsh landscape of a decimated world. Yet, for the harrowing picture that comes in hand with that situation, we all secretly yearn for a world in which we're not fighting for elbow room in the metaphorical cafeteria.

So, as one might expect, a zombie comedy like Zombieland is certainly a good time. Woody Harrelson is hilarious as a slightly unhinged zombie killer. Emma Stone is solid. Abigail Breslin was all right. Jesse Eisenberg was, well, exactly what you would expect him to be if you saw The Squid and the Whale or Adventureland. There was also a great cameo that I'd hate to spoil.

Unfortunately, in this comedy, the laughs don't come consistently enough. The relative infrequency of either a hearty laugh or a righteous kill during the film's second act is problematic, and--despite a strong finish--left a slightly sour taste in my mouth.

Don't get me wrong, the film is good, but it is also a film by a first-time feature-length director and two relatively unseasoned screenwriters. While it carves out its stylistic niche fairly effectively, there are pretty significant lulls in the film; and, at a very brief 81 minutes, that is a statement that shouldn't generally be made.

All that having been said, the flaws do not outweigh the enjoyment taken from the film. These are fairly minor quibbles, but the film does fall short of its zombie comedy forebearer Shaun of the Dead.

No comments:

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...