Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Playing by the rules

After watching Zombieland I went to its IMDb page to read the trivia, as I so often do after watching movies. I found out the writer was inspired to write it after seeing Shaun of the Dead. Unfortunately, Zombieland isn't nearly as brilliant, but i give it an "A" for effort.

It is incredibly funny and I love the gory zombie-killing in it. The performances given are admirable and overall the film ranks pretty highly on the awesome scale.
We meet Columbus, a young man who has successfully survived the zombie plague thus far because he lives by a set of rules. He soon joins up with Tallahassee, Woody Harrelson in the kind of role he was born to play, and sets off to navigate his way across the zombie-infested country to find his family. And find his family he does, but not in the way he thought he would. It's a hell of a ride, so it's a good thing that seatbelts are on Columbus' list of rules.
This movie is effortlessly funny, and the running jokes and the gags are very clever.

Visually, it's a lot like Shaun of the Dead. Bright colors, sharp contrast, and the zombie blood is almost black.

Really, the characters are so likable and plot so novel that I really hate to nitpick and point out the gaping plot holes. So, if you haven't seen this movie yet, read no further. Watch it an enjoy it for what it is: a comedy zombie movie where Woody Harrelson kicks ass, a white kid is awkward and funny, and Bill Murray is the best thing ever.


- Gaping plot hole #1 that drove me insane: How in the hell is post-zombie-apocalypse America still enjoying an electricity supply?
Powerplants need to be actively operated by people, and I'm sure that a few utility boxes, poles and/or cables were damaged when virtually all people became the rampaging undead. The fact that the power supply was the sole (albeit inexplicably) untouched man made system in "Zombieland" bothered me a great deal.
- Gaping plot hole #2: Columbus readily abandons or violates his own rules when convenient but takes them up again when the plot decides he should. He readily trusts Tallahassee, Wichita and just about everyone except Bill Murray. After the encounter with 406, you'd think he'd be less
trusting of girls, yet he and Tallahassee follow Wichita into a dark and secluded storage room without properly accessing the risk of doing so.
Double-taps are skipped unless they serve as a punchline. He limbers up only once in spite of the fact we see him enter several potential-zombie-bearing situations. He only once secures an exit before proceeding into a room.
Helpful hint to writers: When you point out rules in order tell the audience that they are important plot points, be sure to follow them.
- Gaping plot hole #3: No one ever stops for gas. I'm interested to know how gas stations were still in operation after the zombie apocalypse. Maybe they're run by the same people who run the power plants.

Other stuff that annoyed me:
- Tallahassee frequently abandoning his weapons after using them once.
- Columbus not taking any food or water from the grocery store.
- We see someone use a bathroom only once in spite of the important bathroom rule. I would have liked to know how they managed the whole bathroom issue, especially on a long road trip.
- It is very easy for a fit adult male to grab a gun away from a waify 19 year old, it's even easier for him to grab a gun away from a little girl. Yet Tallahassee fails to realize this until halfway through the movie.
- Why would Wichita and Little Rock only bring one gun each and no ammo into the amusement park?
- How do you operate amusement park rides without having to stand at the controls?
- Why would you run into a fun house you've never been in before when you have zombies chasing you, being that funhouses are confusing and treacherous?
- Why was Tallahassee the only one who ever geared up to enter zombie-full places, even though a munitions supply was available to everyone?
- Why would you purposefully strand yourself at the top of an amusement park ride with no food, water or back up ammo supplies?
- How does Wichita manage to keep her white tank top- the only one she wears through the entire movie- so clean? No blood-spatter? No sweat-stains? No visible signs that she's been wearing it everyday for God knows how long?
- How does Wichita keep her makeup so fresh? We never see her apply it, yet she and Little Rock even discuss their lack of showers. Is it tattooed on?

This movie failed to rise above most other zombie movies. We are left yelling at the protagonists through our screens and wondering why they have momentarily abandoned all logic. Shaun of the Dead was a game-changer because it avoided that same pitfall by adhering to common sense- what would a regular person do during a zombie plague? Zombieland misses that mark because it strives too hard to be glamorous, but is still very entertaining and worthwhile.

-- Noel
Sent from my T-Mobile Sidekick®



Nena Nadine said...

I completely agree

Noel said...

Always good to know I'm not alone!