Sunday, March 28, 2010

Zombieland

My friend Bobby loaned me Zombieland over the weekend, which was super awesome. I had to watch it late at night with the sound turned off, because neither my wife nor son wanted any part of this. I knew from previous reviewers I trusted that the gore level of this film was over the top, and since blood in general is a problem for my lovely wife, I knew this was a no-go.

I've been told by many people I usually agree with that this was a great movie and very funny. Maybe it's because I watched with subtitles and no sound, but I didn't think that it was that funny at all. Usually, when I watch a funny movie with subs, I can at least see the possibility of comedy, but there was not much of that here. There were a few instances I thought might be humorous if heard rather than read, but it's hard to tell.

It WAS a good zombie movie, but that's a different beast. I did like the survival rules. Good that some screenwriter put enough thought into that to make it a working, recurring theme through the movie.

Down to my quibbles, which are some readers' favorite parts of my reviews. This movie had over the top goriness. Sometimes that's good, sometimes that's bad. In this, it didn't work for me, because it was done incorrectly. Humans (or even ex-humans) do not have the jaw strength to do a lot of the savage ripping shown in the shock scenes. Humans can bite off flesh, yes. Humans can not disembowel with their teeth or rip abdomens apart. It's why we developed tools for those tasks. It seems like someone watched animals feeding in Africa and then transposed those actions onto humans. Jackals and Hyenas have the kind of jaw and neck strength for these tasks. Look at the shape of their faces and necks. You can see it. Romero had it right (though probably from lack of budget rather than real research) when he had zombies gnawing rather than ripping. Zombies who did that would soon be toothless, then all you would have to worry about would be a savage bruising as the undead swarms gave you a bad gumming.

One other thing I noticed here (though it is on a lot of movie covers) is that the picture has been edited incorrectly to show Woody Harrelson holding a fusion of a sawed off lever action rifle and a double barrel shotgun. God that annoys me. Do people really know this little about firearms? It was probably done because his Mare's Laig (collector term for a lever action rifle turned into a pistol, like Woody's in the movie) is too short to have a barrel over his shoulder in the cover pose. I have seen that done with pump-action/double barrels in the past, but at least those are both shotguns. I can admit the potential for confusion there. This is almost as bad as the cover for Mr & Ms Smith, where Brad & Angie both have 1911s, but Angelina's is a shrunken photoshopped version edited into her garter belt.

Yes, most of these quibbles can be traced to the problem my wife pointed out, that I try to watch every movie as a training film. The real shame is that these detract from an otherwise pretty darn good zombie movie. Did I think it was funny? No, not really. Did I think it was a good movie anyway? Yes, you should watch it. Just try not to notice or be put off by its foibles.

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