This is a review of the movie Zombieland starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Bill Murray.
Plot Summary: A cowardly shut-in named Columbus is forced to join up with a seasoned zombie slayer named Tallahassee in order to survive the zombie apocalypse.
The Honeybee: That smells good, what’s for dinner?
Me: It’s a little Asian/Mexican fusion dish I’m putting together.
The Honeybee: Yummy — that sounds like a fun combination.
Me: Part of the allure behind fusion cooking is the risk factor — when it’s done well, the results are tremendous.
The Honeybee: Yeah, but you’ve also tried a few combinations that failed miserably. Remember that lame Polynesian/French fusion idea of yours?
Me: You mean my baked onion stuffed with pineapple and coconut topped with a rich curry sauce? How can I forget? You’re always telling everybody about that little disaster.
The Honeybee: So? It’s my way of coping; that meal was a very traumatic experience for me.
Me: Yeah. You know fusion brings the same je ne sais quoi to movies as it does to cooking. Zombieland is a perfect example of that, fusing horror and comedy together. And just like in the kitchen, sometimes it works and the results are magical.
The Honeybee: Then again, sometimes you end up with a baked onion stuffed with pineapple and coconut and topped with a disgusting yellow sauce that looked and smelled like baby —
Me: Enough! I’m sure our readers get the point, Honeybee.
The Honeybee: Maybe you should give an overview of the story now, Gordon Ramsay.
Me: It’s a zombie movie so, by definition, the plot isn’t too deep. Basically an e coli virus mutates into a bug so terrible that it makes H1N1 look like a mild cold, turning everyone it infects into flesh-eating zombies. Before long, the United States has turned into Zombieland, presumably opening the door for the eventual arrival of the Roddy McDowell and the rest of the cast of Planet of the Apes.
The Honeybee: Basically this was the story of four people somewhere in Texas who managed to survive the infection and were trying to find a rumored “zombie-free zone” at a Southern California amusement park called “Pacific Playland.”
Me: Doesn’t the Red Line stop by there?
The Honeybee: That’s Universal Studios.
Me: I was kidding. It makes you wonder though why they didn’t go there instead.
The Honeybee: I’ll bet it was because the Jurassic Park ride was closed for maintenance.
Me: Word to your momma. Shall I continue?
The Honeybee: Please.
Me: Each of the main characters were named after their home towns. Our hero is Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg), a nerdy college kid from Ohio. Early on he is joined by a slightly manic guy named Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) who loves guns and Twinkies and is still smarting over the loss of his puppy. A bit later, the two are joined by a hot little number named Wichita (Emma Stone) and her younger teen sister, Little Rock.
The Honeybee: Who played Little Rock?
Me: I can’t remember her name, but she was in Little Miss Sunshine. Anyway, the rest of the movie is really nothing more than a series of hilarious skits focusing on the interactions of the four main characters, including Wichita’s and Columbus’s will-they-or-won’t-they relationship and quite possibly one of the best cameos of all time, with Bill Murray playing himself as a celebrity survivor in a hilarious sequence that was, for me, the highlight of the movie.
The Honeybee: You’ve hardly mentioned the zombies. The opening scenes were very heavy on the zombie theme but, after awhile, the zombies seemed to disappear into the background. To me, Zombieland was clearly more comedy than horror movie.
Me: Absolutely, Honeybee. They really were the comic extras, so to speak. Horror buffs should enjoy the fact that Zombieland doesn’t shy away from the blood and guts. Part of the fun was watching all of the highly creative ways our heroes used to knock the undead out of commission.
The Honeybee: Another thing that I really liked was all of the graphics and super-slow-motion the director used at just the right moments. It really gave the movie a liveliness that kept things fresh.
Me: There was definitely a method to first-time director Ruben Fleischer’s madness in employing the slo-mo. For those who haven’t already seen the movie, make sure you look at everything going on in those particular scenes — including in the background. If you don’t you’ll miss some really hilarious stuff.
The Honeybee: My only complaint was that the ending was a bit lame.
Me: Well, for me, everything after the Bill Murray cameo was anti-climactic. But that is a minor nit, in what I felt was otherwise a very funny and entertaining film.
The Honeybee: I’d have to call it the feel-good zombie comedy of the year! Oh, and I rate it a “buy.”
Me: I rate it a “buy” too. For you fusion buffs who like their comedy topped with a big heaping pile of steaming entrails, this movie is definitely for you.
The Honeybee: Now that is disgusting!
Me: Thank you.
The Honeybee: But it’s definitely more palatable than your lame baked-onion dish.
Me: You won’t ever let that one die, will you?
The Honeybee: Never, Wolfgang Puck.
Hey Len, Zombieland was a classic. I thought this movie was very similar to Shaun of the Dead, which was very good zom-com too!
Len Penzo says
T-bone: One of my all-time favorite horror-comedies was An American Werewolf in London, which was made in the early 80s if my memory serves me correctly. It was directed by John Landis, and starred Micheal Naughton – who folks older than 40 would know as “the Doctor Pepper guy.”