Monday With Mildred: “Zombieland: Double Tap”

Zombieland: Double Tap movie poster

Zombieland: Double Tap

Well, I was wrong. I wrote a scathing opening paragraph before watching the movie because I was convinced it wouldn’t be very good. It was great. Really snarky. Too bad you won’t read it.

Mostly I was concerned about a sequel ten years after the original movie. Most Hollywood productions don’t get the whole aging thing, I assume because women spend millions to appear un-aged out there and guys think that’s normal. This makes time passage a problem, for instance where a story is supposed to take place over a year and a half, two years, but the kid actor turns into a teenager *cough*walkingdead*cough* and nothing is ever said about it. In Zombieland: Double Tap there are several references to time having passed, and that’s a good thing, considering how much Little Rock has grown into a voluptuous woman. There’s even a joke about uber that went pretty well over my head until I listened to the director’s commentary and realized that uber wasn’t even a thing when the first film came out. Then the joke went from mildly amusing to really funny.

And, sigh, this is a very funny movie. Possibly funnier than the first one. Yes, yes, there are the problems everyone seems to have with longer than a first-night-of-the-apocalypse stories, like how the heck are they still eating so well ten years after and not one garden in sight? And why are the cars still in good working order (tires rot, you know) and where are they getting gas? As a zombie movie fan, I have long since trained myself not to think about those and even more egregious things, but they still bug me at the back of my mind. I have to send a shout out to the art department which did an excellent job dressing this film, especially the roads, that haven’t been driven on in ten years. I pass an old highway now and then that was cut off about twenty years ago, and I have to say these Zombieland roads look just about ten years aged. Speaking of shout outs, I recommend seeing this on disk so you can watch the extras, where I kid you not one of the featurettes has a shout out to craft services. Unheard of, and very kind. It made me like the filmmakers that much more.

There’s a lot to like about this movie, like the Columbia Pictures opening, which they had intended to do for the first film but didn’t. I loved Columbia bashing zombies with her peace torch and then resuming her regal position. I loved that the zombies have evolved in ten years and have since been named as types. The Homer zombie is hilariously introduced, and the Hawking zombie could give you bad dreams. The Rules still apply and are still both lampooned and mined for their humor. There are digs and nods to other apocalypse fiction and filmmakers, like Columbus reading a Walking Dead comic and muttering, “This is completely terrifying. And unrealistic.”  There is still a running gag about Zombie Kill of the Week, only now Tallahassee is angling toward of the Year, which Columbus insists goes to an Italian man who knocks over a famous building onto some zombies in a Roland Emerich joke.

Be sure to watch the end credits easter egg, which is long and involved and very funny.

All the original actors are back and still have a great zing of chemistry going for them. I had so dreaded the addition of new people into the mix. Remember the scathing opening paragraph you didn’t see? That was the number one thing I was wrong about because Zoey Deutch (Madison) fits into the mix beautifully and was a hilarious delight. I was not surprised to learn she is Hollywood royalty. She hasn’t been in the movies for long, but she’s already done a ton of work and I’ll be checking her out. Zoey was only one of several new faces in the story, but the only other one worth mentioning is Rosario Dawson, who is awesome no matter what she’s doing. Woody Harrelson was still funny but getting a little old for the action stuff. Jesse Eisenberg is as always great with the droll humor and still has good chemistry with Emma Stone, who is still subtly hilarious. Abigail Breslin unfortunately didn’t have much to do.

The middle drags a bit because the filmmakers concentrated so much on some of the newcomers in a very extended joke that started out as mildly humorous but went on way too long and counted too much on the viewer thinking the joke was as clever as the writers obviously did.

If you liked the first Zombieland I highly recommend you see Zombieland: Double Tap if you haven’t already. If you haven’t seen the first one what the heck is wrong with you? It’s a classic. See it.

LINKS:

ZOMBIELAND: DOUBLE TAP – Official Trailer (HD)

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