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    « James Burke: Connections | Main | Mameshiba »
    Tuesday
    Oct272009

    Zombieland

    Zombieland
    Directed by Reuben Fleischer
    Written by Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick
    Starring Jesse Eisenberg, Woody Harrelson, Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin 

    A WITH BOTH HANDS MINI-REVIEW

    Whenever I watch or read something about zombies these days, I always pay heed to the warning of my friend John Reilly who warned me that zombies have no valuable metaphysical significance. Werewolves are tragic, and vampires have pathos, because they retain their humanity through their transformation, but zombies are just meat puppets. Nothing good will come of the current obsession with them, he warned me.

    I know, but I like the genre just the same. It is perhaps something of the temper of the times that the intersection of millennialism, the germ theory of disease, and inchoately materialist metaphysics should coincide to create the zombie movie. The genre has moved quickly of late. George Romero's Night of the Living Dead came out in 1968, but remained a cult classic until the mainstream movies of 2002, Resident Evil and 28 Days Later. Now we have a mainstream zombie parody.

    I found Zombieland hilarious. I hadn't really expected a zombie movie to be funny, but there you have it. Dark humor, of course, and mostly by way of reference to the genre itself. I wonder whether it is quite as funny to those who haven't see all the terrible movies that preceded this one.  These zombies are really more comical than menacing, but that is just fine.

    Nonetheless, a good movie, and perhaps worth seeing even, or especially, by those who are not zombie fans.

    My other movie reviews

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    Of course they have value, they are the very definition of pathos. The fun thing is that they are often both directly representative of their own pathos and also agents of others. A zombie can represent the tragedy and downfall of man because of his own hubris, as in 28 days later, or the tragedy and downfall of man because of his own terrible virtues in the face of certain demise. The latter is, of course, the more common model that we see in zombie films. The zombies may seem to be a mindless threat, but what they really are is a catalyst to the living's own self destruction. They bring pain, suffering and tragedy to those that encounter them not only through a primal taboo of cannibalism, but by forcing those who can think into a situation where moral ambiguity and raw survivalist instinct reign supreme. They represent the destruction of the values of humanity and civilization in a literal and metaphorical sense.

    In that way, I would say they have more value than any mere vampire or werewolf.

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