Arts & Culture / Mosaic / February 25, 2010

Zombieland: Undead walk in Kresge

As part of an onslaught of wintertime events, Union Board put on a showing of Zombieland on February 20 in Kresge Recital Hall. Senior Virginia Graves, of Union Board, said the group decided to show the film because these sorts of events are usually inexpensive to run while still providing a fun activity for students.

It was shown on Saturday in response to student sentiment that more films should be shown on weekends. Zombieland had been chosen in particular for its recent release and general appeal to campus, as was evidenced by the multitude of students who attended.

“Kresge was almost full,” said Graves. “Apart from a small technical problem, everyone seemed to have a good time!”

Graves went on to say that students can expect more films in the future and that Union Board has showings planned every other weekend during the coming term, including a few outdoor movie events.

The film itself surprised me. I had, of course, heard the glowing reviews of my peers and critics alike, but had not taken the chance to see Zombieland until now. I knew that it was a zombie comedy, and my mind immediately made the leap to Shaun of the Dead, the pinnacle, in my mind, of undead humor. I foolishly thought that such a movie could not be comparable to the master. This judgment, though, is unfair, as I discovered. Whereas Shaun of the Dead is a zombie film with comedic elements, Zombieland is a comedy with zombie elements, as evidenced by what I felt to be a general lack of zombies. The opening scenes featured the walking dead, as did the climactic scene of the film, but in between these, the viewer is only treated to a sparse few moments of undead action. This is in no way a bad thing, because Zombieland works great within this framework, but it ends up being a quite different product than the film I had previously equated it with.

The actors, by and large, do an excellent job with their characters. Jesse Eisenberg, who plays Columbus, essentially reprises the role he had in Adventureland: namely, an awkward and bumbling virgin, and he once more pulls it off with aplomb.

The little mannerisms, like the way his movements become jerkier and more unsteady when dealing with women, play wonderfully into the comedy inherent in his paranoiac character.

Woody Harrelson likewise proves that he still has his comedic chops with the patently ridiculous badass that is Tallahassee. Everything the character does is so over-the-top – the never-ending search for Twinkies, luring zombies with a reference to Deliverance and pretty much the entire climax of the film — that one cannot help but like the abrasive man.

Emma Stone does well in her role as the love interest Wichita, but to be honest, there are times when both she and Little Rock (played by Abigail Breslin) seem a bit tacked on, only serving to justify the oddball humor of having a zombie attack in an amusement park.

Despite its occasional flaws, Zombieland is overall a charming and funny post-apocalyptic film, with plenty to laugh at while simultaneously providing some jumps and scares, though these are admittedly far and few between — perfect for the more squeamish viewer.

Dan Dyrda


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