Reviewed by: Andre Manseau
What's it about
Nerdy college student Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) has survived the plague that has turned mankind into flesh-devouring zombies because heís 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 otherís company. Emma Stone and Abigail Breslin co-star in this double-hitting, head-smashing comedy.
Is it good movie?
I know I've said this before, but I love zombies and have for a long time. In my mind, Shaun of the Dead is almost a perfect movie that makes you run the gamut of emotions and just pays tribute to the zombie genre as well as any film could. When I saw the trailers for Zombieland, I was hoping and praying it would be on the same level as Shaun, with some humor without parody, strong characters and lots of badass zombie action. I think I can say that although I prefer Shaun of the Dead, I would imagine that most North American audiences would think this was the best zombie flick they'd ever seen. The box office tends to agree with that statement, as this little flick was awfully profitable.
When I finally plopped my arse into the theatre seat, I had high hopes. As soon as the opening credits started up and I was treated to an ultra high-res but slow mo montage of people getting chased by zombies as "For Whom the Bell Tolls" blared in the background, I was done. That was it for me. That could have been the whole movie for all I cared. This is the best opening credits sequence I've seen in years, and easily one of the most memorable I've ever seen. I've watched Zombieland about 10 times, and some of those times have come solely from wanting to see those opening credits.
Ok, think about the kind of zombie movie you wish you could make if you had the ability to. That movie would turn out to be a lot like Zombieland. It's not a horror flick but it has scares, not a comedy (although there are a lot of jokes)- it strikes a great balance between the two. You want to see realistic characters acting the way you might if you were faced with the chance. This is a movie that lets you do whatever you want in an empty world while having to fend off the undead. That's a big part of what makes it fun! When the crew steals vehicles, smashes stores, raids grocery stores, goes to amusement parks, you can certainly envision yourself doing that.
On top of that, the cast is fantastic and just about perfect. The awesome Woody Harrelson absolutely owns as Tallahassee (no names in Zombieland, just places), the rebellious outlaw who kicks ass and takes names. Jesse Eisenberg is the Michael Cera-esque awkward OCD teen who makes up rules to survive (which is another BRILLIANT part of this movie, you WILL remember the double tap), and the gorgeous Emma Fox and her young counterpart Abby Breslin as Wichita and Kansas, the two con-women turned companions that the men are forced to play off of. Everyone is funny, capable and entirely believable- such a great mix of characters really drive this movie, because this is a very character driven flick.
The zombies are awesome too and you'll notice many different types. They're gore soaked and ugly and you will cheer when they get dispatched in so many different ways. I'd of course be amiss if I didn't mention the best cameo to come along in years- if you haven't seen it, I won't spoil it but it makes a great movie that much better. Everyone I've spoken to mentions that part as one of their favourites.
There's a lot to love about Zombieland- it's funny, it's clever, features great little running gags, has strong characters, great gore and fun set pieces. There truly is very little else I could ask for in an attempt to make a decent American zombie flick and I hope there are many decent sequels coming down the pike.
Video / Audio
Zombieland comes to use in a 2.40:1 transfer in glorious 1080p. This looked pretty flawless to me as I absolutely love the sharp, digital look of the film quality.
Audio quality is also superb, coming in loud and clear on a DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1. Sounds absolutely fantastic.
First up is an EPK called In Search of Zombieland. It runs about 16 minutes long and although I love this movie and it seems okay to me, it is nothing but glad-handing and back slapping.
Zombieland is Your Land is a superior feature that deals with creating the sets, and it's a great feature. Really informative and honest stuff and I wish it were longer.
There are seven deleted scenes, one of which instils a new rule. None of them are overly funny though, so better left on the cutting room floor I suppose.
The visual effects progression stuff runs about two minutes and shows all of the VFX as they are added on to each shot. It's cool stuff but there's no real commentary or explanation on them, which is weird.
There's also an audio commentary with Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, director Ruben Fleischer and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick. This is a great commentary track, full of information and candid comments. Jesse Eisenberg is absolutely hilarious throughout, and Woody Harrelson sounds like he's surprisingly under the influence (hmm).
Finally there's the "Beyond the Graveyard" picture in picture track which shows all of the extras while you watch the movie.
For those of you who like BD-Live stuff, you can also use Sony's MovieIQ application, which is cumbersome and repetitive.
I love this movie. It has thrills, adrenaline, great and memorable characters and zombies. The set pieces are well designed and the movie is just plain entertaining. This is a blu-ray I'm proud to have in my collection!