Zombieland (Blu-ray) (2009)

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Released 3-May-2010

Cover Art

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Comedy Audio-Visual Commentary-Beyond the Graveyard - Picture-in-Picture Track
Audio Commentary-with Harrelson, Eisenberg, Fleischer, Reese and Wernick
Featurette-Making Of-In Search of Zombieland
Featurette-Making Of-Zombieland is Your Land
Deleted Scenes-Seven Deleted Scenes
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Visual Effects Progression Scenes
Teaser Trailer-Theatrical Promo Trailers
Trailer-Bonus Trailers
Web Links-BD Live
On-Screen Information Track-MovieIQ
More…-Playstation 3 Theme
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2009
Running Time 87:42
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 4 Directed By Ruben Fleischer
Studio
Distributor

Sony Pictures Home Entertain
Starring Woody Harrelson
Jesse Eisenberg
Emma Stone
Abigail Breslin
Amber Heard
Bill Murray
Derek Graf
Case Amaray Variant
RPI $39.95 Music David Sardy


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame Unknown English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
French DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 5.1
English Audio Commentary Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.40:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English
English for the Hearing Impaired
Arabic
Danish
Dutch
Finnish
French
Hindi
Norwegian
Swedish
English Audio Commentary
French Audio Commentary
Dutch Audio Commentary
Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, a funny scene with Bill Murray

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

    The release of The Book of Eli, The Road and Terminator:Salvation in the last 12 months has seen a return in popularity of a genre of film that was popular during the height of the cold war, the post-apocalyptic film. Even animated films are getting in on the action with 9 and even Pixar's Wall-E. Whether caused by nuclear holocaust, war or environmental mismanagement, these films are modern-day dystopias, warning of the decline of society. Zombieland is a different kind of post-apocalyptic film because although it differs from other zombie films in that the spread of the plague that causes zombies has seemingly effected all of America, unlike other zombie-themed films where the zombie outbreak is more isolated, the film is very much a comedy in the style of Shaun of the Dead, to which it has been compared.

    Jesse Eisenberg stars as a neurotic, obsessive-compulsive student who is a loner. At the beginning of the film we learn that his anti-social nature has kept him alive for two months, his overly overcautious personality has allowed him to define a set of 32 rules by which he survives in 'Zombieland', although we only ever get to know 10 of them. Because he comes from Columbus, Ohio he is named as such in the film. Columbus becomes our narrator, we get to follow the action of the film from his viewpoint mainly. After his vehicle breaks down he meets another difficult personality in Tallahassee (played by Woody Harrelson) a zombie-killing addict who is hell-bent on find the last fresh Twinkie in America. Columbus' plans seem to differ greatly, he wants to actually go to Columbus to see if his parents are still alive. Tallahassee and Columbus come across a supermarket and go inside to find Twinkies. They meet sisters Wichita (Emma Stone) and Little Rock (Abigail Breslin) who con them out of their weapons and vehicle. When they meet them down the road after running out of petrol, they get conned again, albeit this time Columbus convinces the sisters that they should travel together. They end up travelling west because the sisters want to go to Pacific Playland, an amusement park in Los Angeles rumoured to be 'zombie-free'.

    The four main characters stumble upon Bill Murray's mansion and get to meet him. His cameo in the film is absolutely hilarious although I highly doubt that Mr Murray is that approachable in real-life, after all he is noted as being very difficult to contact with casting agents offering him acting jobs via a personal telephone number attached to a voice mailbox, for example. The film climaxes at Pacific Playland where all four characters band together to take on a zombie-attack.

    Jesse Eisenberg gives us a new take on the role that Michael Cera seems to play in all his films (i.e. in Juno and Superbad for example), he is really the star of the show here. Woody Harrelson's Tallahassee is difficult to sympathise with until we learn that the loss of his son is what motivates his actions. The two sisters, with their con-tricks, seem to be the least sympathetic characters in the film. However, when one learns that writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick originally wanted to make a 23 part television series out of the original idea of Zombieland, and the film represents the second part, then maybe the characters of the two sisters will be 'fleshed out' in the upcoming sequel, approved by Sony after the film grossed $US102 million from a budget of $US23 million.

    The comedic nature of the plot invites comparisons to Edgar Wright's 2004 film, Shaun of the Dead. I believe the strength of that film is the relationship of Simon Pegg's and Nick Frost's characters in the films who play unlikely buddies. The 'unlikely buddies' theme is also repeated successfully in Edgar Wright's 2007 buddy-cop genre comedy, Hot Fuzz, again by the same actors. In Zombieland, Woody Harrelson's and Jesse Eisenberg's characters are simply 'buddies' by circumstance. Perhaps the sequel will be able to expand their unlikely friendship as a plot point. We see glimpses of this in the extra on this Blu-ray release where Harrelson and Eisenberg team up in five funny theatrical promo trailers.

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Transfer Quality

Video

    Zombieland looks impressive on Blu-ray, despite its small budget. Especially effective a slow-motion scenes during the opening narration.

    The aspect ratio of Zombieland is 2:40:1, 16x9 enhanced for widescreen televisions.

    Shot digitally using a Panavision Genesis camera, the video transfer looks superb. It uses a AVC MPEG-4 codec to deliver sharp images, pristine blacks and fine detail.

    Colours are bold and contrast is strong. It is in the deep blacks, in night scenes, that the strength of the video transfer is evident.

    There are no film artefacts. There is not a hint of grain or low level noise either.

    Subtitles are provided in English, English for the hearing impaired, Arabic, Danish, Dutch, French, Finnish, Hindi, Norwegian and Swedish. There are even three subtitle tracks for the audio commentary in English, French and Dutch.

    There is no RSDL change as the film is presented on the first layer of a dual-layered Blu-ray disc.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

    The audio transfer is not as immersive as the video transfer, although the soundtrack is varied and suits the movie well.

    The main audio track is an English DTS-HD Master Audio lossless 5.1 track. There is also a French DTS-HD Master Audio lossless 5.1 dub track, an English Descriptive Audio 5.1 track and an audio commentary encoded in Dolby Digital 2.0.

    Dialogue is clear and audio is synchronised.

    David Sardy's original soundtrack blends in nicely with the eclectic mix of licensed songs such as Metallica's For Whom the Bell Tolls, Van Halen's Everybody Wants Some, The Velvet Underground's Oh! Sweet Nuthin, Blue Oyster Cult's Don't Fear the Reaper and even Johann Strauss' Vienna Blood Waltz, Op. 354 and Mozart's The Marriage Of Figaro, K.492.

    Surround channel usage is not as discrete and obvious as other audio soundtracks from modern films. For most of the film we get pans across the rear channels when driving or other ambient background noises. It is not until the final climax at Pacific Playland that the audio mix is amplified in all channels.

    The subwoofer is mainly utilised to support gunfire and the deep bass of the film's heavy metal soundtrack numbers.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Audio-Visual Commentary - Beyond the Graveyard-Picture-in-Picture Track

This picture-in-picture commentary features interviews, storyboards, green screens and interviews. There are gaps in this visual commentary unfortunately which makes it not as engrossing for the viewer as it could be.

Audio Commentary with Actors Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg, Director Ruben Fleischer, Writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick

This is a light-hearted personal commentary about the production of the film between the main participants. We get to hear how they managed to shut down some major Los Angeles roads for a day, how they used another mansion in Atlanta, Georgia rather than Bill Murray's real home for his mansion scenes and even how they used a set for the supermarket scene. It's a decent commentary whereby you feel like a participant among friends reminiscing about their enjoyable time making Zombieland.

Featurette - In Search of Zombieland (15:57)

This extra looks at the origin of the project from a television pilot, the casting process and getting the look of the zombies through the use of make-up.

Featurette - Zombieland is Your Land (11:59)

The production design is the main focus of this extra including the work done in the supermarket scene and at the night-time amusement park scenes for the film's finale.

Deleted Scenes (5:28)

Seven short deleted scenes are presented. These scenes are fairly innocuous, there's nothing new to be gleaned here from the main feature.

Featurette - Visual Effects Progression Scenes (2:08)

Four scenes are shown where digital effects are added to show the viewer how the final scenes were achieved.

Theatrical Promo Trailers (6:04)

Five mock trailers are shown whereby Tallahassee (Woody Harrelson) and Columbus (Jesse Eisenberg) respond to viewer mail in a mock television show on Zombies...very clever!

Trailers

Trailers are included promoting Blu-ray Disc is High Definition! and other Sony films such as 2012, Year One, Zombieland and The Boondock Saints II: All Saints Day.

Web Links

If your Blu-ray player has an internet connection you can use it to connect to the internet via BD Live. Apparently it is not content-specific to the film Zombieland though.

On-Screen Information Track

The film gives you the option of connecting to the internet an watching it with MovieIQ which is an on-screen information track giving the viewer background details to the film, credits and up-to-date filmographies of the cast and crew.

More…

Apparently if you put the disc into a PS3 you can download a Zombieland theme under the game tab. Try it!

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

    Zombieland has been released in the United States and in the United Kingdom in Blu-ray ALL versions, like the Australian release. These releases have the same extras with only minor differences in subtitling options and trailers. The United States release includes a second disc as a digital copy.

Summary

    At just under 88 minutes, Zombieland seems to finish just as it gets started. With the main for characters gathered in their truck by the end of the film, who knows where they will end up in the sequel. Hopefully the sequel will show more development in the background story of Tallahassee, Columbus, Wichita and Little Rock.

    Director Ruben Fleischer has done a good job in presenting a funny zombie film on a relatively small budget. Personally, I would have enjoyed it more if the two main lead characters were written with a stronger 'buddy' relationship, like Simon Pegg's and Nick Frost's characters in Shaun of the Dead and Jonah Hill's and Michael Cera's characters in Superbad.

    Zombieland is presented on Blu-ray with an immaculate video transfer and excellent audio transfer. The extras are not as in-depth as other contemporary Blu-ray releases, although the audio commentary is a quite good and is a decent addition to the film.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© John Stivaktas (I like my bio)
Tuesday, May 11, 2010
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S550 (Firmware updated Version 020), using HDMI output
DisplaySamsung LA46A650 46 Inch LCD TV Series 6 FullHD 1080P 100Hz. Calibrated with THX Optimizer. This display device is 16x9 capable.
Audio DecoderSony STR-K1000P. Calibrated with THX Optimizer.
AmplificationSony HTDDW1000
SpeakersSony 6.2 Surround (Left, Front, Right, Surround Left, Surround Back, Surround Right, 2 subwoofers)

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