Reviewed by Uncle Creepy
Starring Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Amber Heard, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin
Directed by Ruben Fleischer
Distributed by Sony Pictures Home Entertainment
There’s nothing — and I mean nothing — I enjoy more than a good old-fashioned zombie movie. Something about these undead creatures is endearing to the tenth power. I’m certainly not the only one who feels this way either as these cold cadavers have remained hot in the hearts of the fans for decades, as demonstrated by some better than average box office when a really good one is released. Is Ruben Fleischer’s latest foray into the world of the flesh-eater one of those really classic films? We’ll get to all that in a bit.
Zombieland tells the tale of four unlikely friends (Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg, Emma Stone, and Abigail Breslin) who are basically sticking to their own set of rules as a means to survive an apocalypse that has left the dead walking the streets. I’d tell you more about the story, but that’s basically about it, and there lies Zombieland‘s biggest flaw … there’s no real meat on these bones.
There’s no message. No subtext. Hell, there’s not even as much zombie action as there should have been. The undead mayhem is strong in the beginning and at the end, but the middle? It’s dry like the Sahara. The second act of the film, while home to quite possibly the best celebrity cameo of the last ten years, does nothing to make you care about the characters either and in the end only exposes the lack of an interesting plot even further.
Still, when the film is firing on all cylinders, it can be a damned good time with a few flashes of absolute brilliance strewn amongst the rapid-fire sight gags and carnage. There’s just nothing to really hold onto along the way. It kills me. As a zombie fan I should love this movie. In fact I want to love it. I just don’t. Shaun of the Dead this is not.
In terms of the DVD and the Blu-ray, while the DVD offers some solid sound and picture quality, the Blu is absolutely stunning. Really, folks, this is as good as it gets. The level of detail can be mind-blowing, especially during one of the film’s many slow motion scenes. You get it all! Every bit of shattered bone, feasted upon flesh, and squirting blood in incredible high definition goodness with barely a hint of background noise. The DTS-HD MA 5.1 lossless soundtrack also goes a long way in completing this truly excellent package. Wow. Just wow. This is what next-gen viewing is all about.
As for the bonus goodies the Blu-ray is also home to three exclusives. First up is the Beyond the Graveyard picture-in-picture track, which illustrates a ton of behind-the-scenes goodies from set construction to interviews as you’re watching the flick. Also included are MovieIQ: BD-Live enabled and a digital copy for your portable players. In addition to that, if you’re watching on a PS3, you’ll have access via your cross media bar to download a new custom Zombieland background for your system. Pretty nifty!
The rest of the features appear on both the DVD and Blu-ray editions. We get a commentary with actors Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, director Ruben Fleischer, and writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick that ends up being as much fun as the film itself, two above average behind-the-scenes featurettes clocking in at nearly a half-hour combined, seven deleted scenes, several included scenes that show off various stages of visual effects progression, and finally a chaser of five theatrical promo trailers. This is really, really good stuff that, despite the film’s flaws, contributes to making this one of the first must-buy packages of the year.
In the end, Zombieland is fun while it lasts but ultimately a pretty shallow experience. Still, you could certainly do worse, and some zombie fun is always better than no zombie fun. My best advice? Pop it in, grab a Twinkie, and turn your brain off.
Also, Only on Blu-ray High Def
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