Kird Ward (Forrest Gump)
Tyler Ross (The Killing)
Maiara Walsh (The Starving Games)
Izabela Vidovic (Homefront)

Zombieland is based upon the widely popular movie of the same name that follows a group of four as they traverse a zombie infested world.  It was an incredibly simple premise that was made unique through it’s use of characters, style and humor.  Does the TV show manage to rustle up the same sort of charm or is it a pale imitation? Here’s the biggest problem Zombieland faces: The chemistry shared between Woody Harrelson, Jesse Eisenberg and Emma Stone really contributed to the appeal of the film.  Even more problematic is the character of Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson), who stood out as a fan favorite and became a pretty iconic figure in the world of zombies.  How do you duplicate that without feeling like you’re doing your best impression of those characters?To some degree, the show manages to create characters that feel in tune with their movie counterparts.  Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock more or less feel like the same characters that were introduced to us in the movie.  Tallahassee, however, feels completely different.  Maybe it was Woody’s charm or his natural bad ass attitude, but this Tallahassee seems more like a goofball than the film’s version.  Perhaps the characterization is the same, but Woody’s persona gave the character a bit of a cool factor which is completely lacking here.That being said, Kirk Ward who plays the TV version of Tallahassee does an admirable job of portraying the character.  He has a natural comedic talent that translates well to the sort of slapstick humor that Tallahassee gets up to in this episode.  However, fans will probably have a great deal of trouble accepting this version of the character.Zombieland-grandma-e1366480523933

The pilot does a lot to set up a possible story arc.  The main idea for the first season seems to be that the crew is looking to join a community of people.  To accomplish this they introduce a new character in the form of an OnStar operator who communicates to the crew through their SUV and serves as a guide.  It’s a little hokey and took me out of the narrative  but it’s also a necessary mechanic to progress their story.Overall they managed to keep the general tone of the movie intact.  There’s a strong comedic charm embedded in this first episode.  It’s not “laugh out loud” funny, but it does enough to keep you entertained and amused for the half-hour.  It’s not something that was inherently apparent to me at the onset of the episode, but as it went on I really began to appreciate what it was trying to do.gallery_tech_zombielandConsidering that they had a half-hour to convince me that this was a good idea, I think they made an admirable effort.  At some point my mind stopped making comparisons to the movie and instead focused in on and enjoyed what I was watching.  I could easily imagine a world where this series grows and becomes an entity worthy of the name Zombieland, Sadly Amazon decided not to go from Pilot to series so this the only episode made.




Jessie Eisenberg (Batman v Superman)
Woody Harrelson (The Hunger Games)
Emma Stone (Birdman)
Abigail Breslin (Scream Queens)
Amber Heard (Machete Kills)
Bill Murray (St. Vincent)

Right from the start Zombieland is in your face. The opening sequence alone is just great and recalls Max Brooks’ The Zombie Survival Guide. Also, it doesn’t try to copy any of the other countless zombie movies.

It’s a very direct film that doesn’t waste time with needless character buildup, that would only slow the pacing. Characterization is achieved in between humor and action sequences and that approach works well. Zombieland starts by introducing the overly cautious and neurotic, Columbus. Columbus is the quiet geeky guy who probably spent his high school years over thinking every detail and was quite possibly bullied by jocks. Now in a zombie infested world, he is forced to become more manly and athletic when taking on the undead. Then there’s Tallahassee, who is the gung ho bad ass. I think every zombie movie needs a Tallahassee type because they are so much fun to watch. Harrelson really steals the show in Zombieland. I don’t think I’ve seen him this good since Oliver Stone’s Natural Born Killers. He looks like he could have fun in any situation in life pre or post zombie infected. I like the scene where Tallahassee is standing next to a bright yellow Hummer and just randomly firing a machine gun.

Next up are the manipulating sisters, Little Rock and Wichita, who are both cute and annoying. I was annoyed with their characters at first and as their characters developed they became a little more tolerable. You also need sisters like this in a post zombie world because they will keep you on your toes. They are fun in their own ways and have both survived tough times together. Their strong bond makes them believable and you accept them for who they are.

With all the wonder characters and backgrounds aside, this is really about killing zombies. Who doesn’t want to roam America’s highways shooting zombies? It’s the ultimate road movie, as the four travel together and fight hundreds of zombies along the way. As much fun as that is, the ending sequence at the amusement park, cranks up the fun a lot higher. The combination of rides, amusement park games, and shooting zombies is very entertaining. Director Ruben Fleischer does a tremendous job directing action in the last half of Zombieland. That’s what these movies are all about to me.

The cheap thrills of just going for it and taking out all that pent up aggressive shooting, stabbing, running over, hammering, and beating the undead any way you can. Overall Zombieland is a lot of fun and a good way to kick off  a Halloween season.