Let’s be honest: one of the coolest pieces of music in cinema is the locket song by Ennio Morricone from For A Few Dollars More. The importance of the locket and the beauty of that song and the final showdown in that movie? Seriously, one of the best things I’ve ever seen on film. I love it.
So you can imagine the high-pitched squeal of excitement I made when I heard those familiar chimes as part of the score when Columbus and Tallahassee first meet.
I think that was where I fell in love with the movie, and Zombieland would have to screw up a lot for me to hate it.
Fortunately, it didn’t, and while it’s not my favorite zombie movie, it’s a fun addition to the genre.
In Zombieland, the world’s gone entirely to the zombies (as you might gather from the title). Our narrator is Columbus, an introverted college student who has survived the zombie apocalypse thus far by sticking firmly to his list of rules. At the beginning of the movie, he’s heading north to Ohio to see if his parents are still alive.
On his way, though, he hitches a ride with Tallahassee, a zombie-killing badass, and then they meet up with Wichita and Little Rock, two sisters who are heading west to an amusement park that they believe is completely free of zombies. And as Columbus spends more time with them, he begins to find a life worth living, even after the end of the world.
Surprisingly, I liked Columbus as a narrator (surprising because voiceovers are a dicey proposition with me), and I really loved his rules and the way they show up throughout the movie. I haven’t seen anything Jesse Eisenberg’s been in before, but I really liked him as the awkward, anti-social college student.
Overall, the entire cast did a great job, and I suspect the relatively tiny size of the cast contributes to the sense of isolation we get throughout the entire film. With a bare handful of exceptions, we spend most of our time with Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita, and Little Rock, getting to know them as they get to know each other.
I also suspect the small size of the cast also contributes to the brisk running time: the entire movie is right at an hour and a half, and so it never really has a chance to drag.
Plus, the final showdown with the zombies at the amusement park? Brilliant. I loved every single second of it.
Where the movie fell a little flat was in its predictability. There were a couple of parts where I looked at the screen and said, “X is going to happen.” Sure enough, it did, each and every time. It made for very few surprises, which is unfortunate because the jumpy parts are part and parcel of a zombie movie.
And frankly, anyone who’s watched a zombie movie before will facepalm at a couple of character actions–characters that otherwise do a good job with surviving in the post-apocalyptic world.
(And it annoys the hell out of me that I have NO idea where they get gas or ammunition. Yes, yes, “say to yourself ‘it’s just a show; I should really just relax.'” I know. But COME ON.)
Despite the flaws, though, I really enjoyed it. The best zombie movie I’ve ever seen remains Shaun of the Dead, but Zombieland ranks a solid second place.
Have you seen Zombieland? What did you think? What’s your favorite zombie movie?