Tuesday, April 28, 2015

Zombieland: Film as Literature


Compose a 4 paragraph response (introduction; parody; satire; conclusion) to the following prompt:

Is Zombieland a satire and/or a parody? What elements of the film qualify as such?

14 comments:

Allek Johnson said...

To begin, Zombie Land is a less serious, more light-hearted version of a regular 'Zombie Film' Which the regular traits would be Serious, less humor. Which qualify this film more of a satire than a parody.

First of all, a satire is the use of Humor, exaggeration, and irony. Which this movie has an abundance of. Zombies, and the end of the world are supposed to be taken with the utmost seriousness. 'The Walking Dead' for example uses less humor, although they do, but it's mostly a serious thing. While in 'ZombieLand', Looking for Twinkies, driving across the country to go to an Amusement park that may/ may not be infested with infected, In which they should of been way smarter than that. I mean it's Zombie 101... Lights and sound attract them so i don't know what possessed them to do that.

In a parody, They usually make fun of the topic in a funnier way. 'South Park' for example, uses A LOT of this. Usually offensive, but they do it. There isn't a complete lack of parody elements in this film however, Like when they get to Bill Murray's Mansion they would want to live in, And they find him acting like a zombie to blend in. Later he tries to trick Columbus that he's a zombie which is the stupidest idea ever in a zombie movie. He gets shot and that's that.

The final verdict i think, is more a satire than anything.

Anonymous said...

The serious horror topic of zombies regained its popularity in the 2000s. Many companies made a push to get out these intense zombie movies to earn a quick dollar. In the film Zombieland directed by Reuben Fleischer, a different approach on the topic of zombies was approached. The more comedic parody/satire than a thriller or horror movie. That being said, Zombieland is both a parody of other zombie movies and a satire.
The film likes to poke fun at other zombie movies. As with most parodies, Zombieland mocks some of the absurdities of some of the more serious zombie movies. One of the thing that happens in the movie is the bottomless ammo clips. The guns never need to be reloaded. The double barrel shotgun was able to shoot way more than two rounds without ever needed to be reloaded. Another parody is the codenames given to the characters. The characters give everyone codenames based on where they are from or headed. As well as the codenames the characters have ridiculous goals in the movie as opposed to surviving. Little Rock and Wichita’s goal was to go to an amusement park and Tallahassee’s goal was to find a Twinkie.
Zombieland also has some satirical elements throughout the movie. Tallahassee tells Columbus that he had a puppy that he adored and loved more than anything. In a later scene when all the characters are playing a board game he discovers that it was not a dog but a puppy. This is deeper than just making a joke about a man loving his dog, it had to do with him hiding from the fact that his son was taken from him. Another example of satire in this movie is when the characters are chasing their goals. The goals were fairly goofy which adds the comedy aspect, but it has a possibility of being something more than just comedy. It could show that a person’s judgment can be clouded by trying to achieve a goal and they will not fully think things through. When Little Rock and Wichita finally achieved their goal and got to the park, they didn’t think that turning everything on in the park would attract zombies. They were just so focused on getting to the park and riding the rides.
Elements of parody and satire are present throughout the duration of the film. It is difficult to pin it as just one. The movie contained aspects of comedy purely for fun, and others with a deeper massage that make you think a little more.
Ryan Wheeler

Anonymous said...

Zombieland -parody or satire?

In my personal opinion I believe that the film Zombieland is a parody for obvious reasons. Over the course of the movie many examples of parody are shown in different ways that make this film so iconic and hilarious to not only zombie film fans but any person who wants a good laugh. This movie is one of the most perfect examples of parody and here is the argument to prove it.
To begin, this film uses a few examples of parody to create its iconic remembrance. One of the boldest examples of parody is the survival list of random things to survive. Even though any zombie movie would create a reasonable list of imperative survival techniques Zombieland creates a list of things that would be needed to survive the real world, forget zombies. On top of the insane list, the one narrating the list as well as the entire film is a nerdy/quirky college kid. Though anyone has a chance at survival this kid is definitely not the person who could survive even in real life.
On top of the silliness of the begging it gets much funnier as it progresses. Towards the end of the film you start to see more parody in the characters as well as knock offs on older films. Some characters that defiantly assist that parody feel are Tallahassee, the Twinkie loving tough cowboy with big guns. Throughout the course if the film he is on the hunt or one single Twinkie. Though no one knows why it’s makes the comedic background much stronger then it would be if he wasn’t there. Probably the icing on the cake of this film being a parody is one of the most classic and hilarious scenes ever filmed. That scene is when Bill Murray shows up and everyone is so happy, but when he puts on his zombie camouflage to fool Columbus, Columbus gets scared not knowing it’s not just another zombies and shoots a hole right in Bill’s chest. Though it is a death it creates that feeling of humor in viewers.
To conclude the film Zombieland is a parody for those blatant reasons. They truly show that Humorous technique used by many directors over the years. Parodies tend to be a humorous copy of serious movies, in this case Zombieland is a copy of pretty much every zombie film that’s ever been made. That is why in my opinion Zombieland is a parody.

~Connor Binegar

George Reese said...

George Reese
5/1/15
Using a comical approach to a generally serious genre, Ruben Fleischer creates an engaging, emotionally powerful film. Although they are fiction based, zombie films typically have a somber, dark mood; Zombieland gets the fear and anxiety of a post-apocalyptic across while stressing social issues through satire and lightening the mood using parody. Throughout the movie, Ruben Fleischer uses satirical situations to poke fun at many social issues affecting society, as well as using parody to uplift the dark depressing aura surrounding a zombie infested America.
Parody is an important part of Zombieland, influencing the plot many times, as well as giving the movie a comedic value. This parodical theme is evident early in the movie when Columbus is forced to crash, and the zombie goes flying through the window, this is a comical take on something as important as wearing a seatbelt; showing that this is a serious situation but it is taken lightly because of the comedy. Another parodical aspect of the movie is the list that Columbus made, it has many important rules such as cardio, seatbelts, beware of bathrooms, and double tap; but on the contrary it has humorous silly rules such as Bounty paper towels, cast iron skillet, and clean socks. Another obvious element of parody is Tallahassee’s pursuit of a Twinkie, despite it having little to no survival value he is willing to risk anything to obtain it. Parody is an important aspect of this film, allowing the director to convey his message without evoking negative emotions in the audience.
Another essential component of this film is its use of satire. Satire is used in abundance in this film, from beginning to end. This is obvious when Columbus introduces rule #1, claiming that all the fat people were the first people to be killed because they lacked cardio. This reflects back on society’s weight problem, encouraging heavy people to lose weight in case of a zombie apocalypse. Another important example of satire is when Tallahassee mocks society’s hope saying, “Out west, we hear it's back east. Back east, they hear it's out west. It's all just nonsense. You know, you're like a penguin on the North Pole who hears the South Pole is really nice this time of the year.” This criticizes the fact that even in the worst situations, people will lie to themselves and believe there is hope where there is none. The film also highlights people’s struggles to resist becoming attached to others, this is evident in Wichita’s decision to leave Columbus and Tallahassee after she becomes emotionally attached to Columbus. This is ironic because although she wants to avid pain by becoming attached, they could possibly be the last people left on the earth so there is no reason to not be together. Overall the satire in this movie allows it to carry a deeper, more authentic meaning. It allows a movie about how society has ended to show how society went wrong before it ended, and it allows for those in real life to realize what they are doing when they make similar decisions.
In the end, Zombieland is extremely effectual in conveying messages about our current day society, and how social interaction is and should be. This movie, through parody and satire, portrays a light hearted uplifting story of someone completely alone who finally found where he belongs. Also it shows that people aren’t what they seem, and the shut in college kid might be a little scrawny and paranoid but when the world ends he’s one of the best allies you could have.

Gianna Larson said...

The movie Zombieland is a humorous film set during the zombie apocalypse. Zombieland incorporates elements that make it both a satire and a parody. In the film, satire and parody play different roles in the society and how each is conveyed. Zombieland is a satire in a way, some scenes in the movie make a point to how society is living and what it should do to change. In the movie, serious points are made through humor. Zombieland also is a parody, mimicking the whole idea of the zombie apocalypse. Zombieland over exaggerates scenes to make it a comical film that you can laugh to. Zombieland does contain elements that are not at all serious, and just pure entertainment for the audience to enjoy. Zombieland efficiently incorporated both elements and they are distinct in how each is displayed. In Zombieland, social change is what best represents the satire, while mimicry of the apocalypse represents a parody.
In Zombieland, there are many elements that show parody. Parody is the mimicry of an established concept, idea, or person. Zombieland directly shows the humor through the only humans left to survive from the apocalypse. In the movie, the guy Florida is very tough and is the one who comes across as the strongest person out of the characters. Out of all the things you could do to survive in a zombie apocalypse, he is destined to find Twinkies. It’s practical that anybody left in a zombie apocalypse would focus on surviving, but this film is a parody, therefore, the search for Twinkies is humorous. Throughout the movie, the characters never once run out of ammo, like in TV series “The Walking Dead,” The people trying to survive do run out of ammo. In Zombieland, the guy Columbus is introduced with a set of rules on how to survive. The rules are incorporated all throughout the film and how the characters follow these rules is very humorous. The way that the rules are tied together in Zombieland, also represent a satire.
A satire is more subtle than parody, and it involves mockery without mimicry. Zombieland shows this element of satire through the set of rules introduced at the beginning. The rules do make the audience indulge in thought, for example, one of the rules was that fatties go first. This rule represents what our society looks like now and how we should change it, which is another rule. Cardio is another main rule that the film makes known. Getting in shape is how you will survive in any society, in a zombie apocalypse or not. Throughout the movie having family around is important to the characters, and it is also important in the real world. Columbus makes a serious point that he just wants a family, and that the friends that he has made along the way are like the family that he never had. Zomieland is more of a satire than a parody, mostly because of the life lessons that you can learn through the action in the movie.
Zombieland does a good job of incorporating two different elements and tying them together into a humorous film. Even though satire and parody both relate to humor, it is very complex in how it relates. Zombieland has some serious scenes that are funny to make it a satire, and funny things that are never serious which make it a parody. This movie addresses the society as a whole, which is why it leans more towards a satire. The rules at the beginning set a base for satire and how it continues throughout the rest of the movie. It also pokes fun at the things we are not doing now that we should be doing to survive. Like in the real world, a Twinkie is not an important necessity to make us survive. In the US now most people are obese or on the verge of obesity, and this movie just comes to show the things we can do to make it better.

Arianna Heath said...

The film zombieland has many different characteristics that could classify it as both a satire and a parody. The movie depicts an apocalyptic wasteland overrun by the dead but they add humor to it which is generally shown as being a satire characteristic. Also the film shows many examples of stereotypes that can be found in any film which again shows a parody like aspect. So to say it is simply one or the other would be inaccurate because it is both.

Throughout the film the characters are dealing with many different struggles including keeping their loved one’s safe, looking for family, finding shelter and surviving in general. With that said they also have priorities that are not necessary and could very well send them to their demise. Tallahassee has only one goal, and that is to find a twinkie. Wichita and little rock want more than anything to go to pacific play land. Lastly Columbus wants to find a girl and brush her hair behind her ear. With these being their priorities it shows that the creators are adding a comedic accent to the harsh world. Which is the the basis of a satire, a satire is the use of humor, irony, exaggeration, or ridicule to expose and criticize people's stupidity or vices, particularly in the context of contemporary politics and other topical issues. They time after time find themselves in situations that cause havoc for them because they want to have some fun. When they go to Hollywood they stop to get a map surrounded by the dead just so they can stay in a celebrity's house, they seems a bit ridiculous to say the least because they go to a heavily zombie populated area to spend the night, that's a number one no no in any zombie film. Another example of when they give way to their need of life prior to this havoc the girls go to the amusement park turn on all the lights and the sound which always is a sure way of attracting unwanted attention. All of the examples in which they sucum to show how this movie could very well be a satire from character actions alone.

The film shows time after time stereotypes from all different genres, referring to topics that add humor because they do not necessarily go together, and adding scenes that are shown out time after time. All of which are placed specifically to own in on what is expected from a parody. An example that displays this so much is how Columbus says time and time again of his hatred towards clowns, at the end it shows a zombie clown. Parody at its finest.

The film as a whole showed many different characteristics that help to show what they are going for. So to put it simply it can be both classified as being a satire and a parody.

Skylar Daley said...

The zombie craze is something that everyone has become familiar with it, whether they are a fan of the undead or not. Zombies are around every corner these days; from books to movies and everything in between people can not get enough. It has become a trend throughout the entire world, and now everyone has an appetite for brains. Because of its newfound popularity, more and more films are being made mocking the phenomenon. Zombieland is one of these, using some of Hollywood’s biggest stars in a big-budget mimicry of zombie films and television series. It both pokes fun at some of the concepts and makes statements about today’s society, making it a must-see for those who live for the undead.
From the opening scene of the movie, it is clear that Zombieland is a parody. Its jokes incite laughter throughout the entire film. It points out the flaws that series and movies seem to skim over; somehow, despite being in the middle of the apocalypse, all of the electricity still works and everyday characters who have no knowledge of producing ammunition never seem to run out of ammo. The movie exaggerates the zombies by making them less realistic and even humorous. Like many parodies, Zombieland featured celebrities as themselves mocking themselves. Bill Murray, who is known to be fond of drugs, is featured getting high in the film. It is also in comicality that one of the survivors is one of the weakest beings possible, full of fear and lacking the courage needed for survival.
A movie such as Zombieland can also be used to make statements about society in an entertaining way that people will actually listen. In the introduction of the movie, the narrator says that fatties are the first ones to die, always. With the rate of obesity increasing an alarming amount in the country, this is a relevant point to make. More notably, when the group of survivors go to Hollywood, it is a complete ghost town. Even the most elite people could not survive the apocalypse. It shows that the fact that someone was rich and famous does not mean they will survive, something that many people believe in our time
On the surface, Zombieland is simply a funny movie with zombies where the weakling gets the girl and finds his courage. However, upon closer inspection, it is apparent that the movie serves a double purpose as both a parody and a satire. At the same time it makes audiences laugh, it causes them to think as well. Scratch away all the blood and guts and you will find a movie that is very important to the zombie phenomenon.

Emma Sudduth said...

Zombies are immoral and a plague to the earth, but could these blood drenched villains actually be a message to the public? The media is overloaded with zombies like in the movie Zombieland and their popularity may have to do with the fact that these heartless cannibals illustrate a world where the values we find so high in society would not help those with them if the apocalypse occurred. Another way that zombie culture reaches the public is shown again through the film, Zombieland, and it is that certain zombies are just a good way to get a good laugh and forget your problems for an hour and a half. In the film, Zombieland, elements of both a satire and a parody are present to bounce of one another and meld serious messages into funny scenes.
Zombieland could be considered a satire through the almost imperceptible jabs at the values in American culture. Within the opening credits the main character describes how the first to die in the zombie apocalypse were “the fatties”. Today a huge percentage of the United States is overweight and this film is trying to say that you should not lose weight for yourself, but rather you should lose wait so you are not eaten. Another element of satire in the film was that when the characters meet Bill Murray he tells them hoe even some of his richest friends have turned into zombies. This is trying to depict how keeping the American dream based on the amount of money you get in income is not going to turn hungry zombies from your door. Sometimes wealth can even be hurtful in an apocalypse because the rich depend on everyone else to make their lives easier, and it would be everyone for themselves when people start eating other people. The last aspect of satire is the idea of four people with opposing personalities creating a tight-knit group when society comes to an end. This family persona is a way to depict how family is an important part to life and that everyone will fit in somewhere. The hints of a satire in Zombieland are placed to demonstrate what is right and wrong in this world to make the audience start questioning what really goes on in their life.
The film, Zombieland, depicts comedic elements to entertain a wide spread audience. One aspect of comedy was the main character who always stayed indoors playing video games, is weak, and whose most noteworthy personality trait is being a coward. The protagonist of a cheesy yet bloody zombie film is a boy who cannot go two feet without squealing or running for his life. The next funny encounter in the film is through the character Florida. His main goal in the apocalypse is rather than finding loved ones; it is to eat one of the last Twinkies in the country. He puts the main character in constant peril because he wants a sweet treat. Another instance of being a parody is when the movie brings in the notable actor, Bill Murray, and some of the first things he shares with the survivors are drugs. Instead of making Bill Murray a serious leader in the Earth’s downfall they have on of the richest men left in the world doing drugs which he is known to do when not on camera. By having the plot be humorous and full of random occurrences of modern indulgences Zombieland can be viewed by die-hard zombie addicts or group of young teen boys looking for a laugh.
In conclusion, Zombieland gives notice to both good and bad ideals in modern society, and it does this through masking the serious issues with a comedic plot to keep the audience entertained while unconsciously deciphering these messages. Zombieland is neither just a parody nor satire because without one the other would not succeed in reaching the audience it is grasping for. This film brings into light what needs to be changed and highlighted in society while it captures the audience’s attention through easy jokes and laughter. Zombies are such an open ended and interchanging genre that it can convey a higher purpose while making anyone chuckle at a man beating a zombie with a banjo to stop it from eating him.

Rachel Brunault said...

It is human nature to want a good laugh, and since the ancient times, comedy has been tradition in storytelling. In the art of comedy, mockery is some of our most favored. From this, two kinds of comedic entertainment have evolved; these are known today as parody and satire. In the comedy film Zombieland, there are many elements of satire, however there are also several aspects of parody as well.
The definition of satire is to mock a general theme, concept, or idea. In this movie, we see a lot that; the significance of the mockery being driven towards the many zombie movie franchises of the past century or so. One of ways this is accomplished is by producing a very generic/ stereotypical cast assortment. We have all seen it: the surprise hero, the mysterious hot girl, the kid that has their childhood affected by the problems in the story, and the big, tough guy with a soft spot deep inside. These characters are very often the collective cast of protags in a post-apocalyptic themed movie. Another way Zombieland shows some more of its satirical points is through analyzing the plot. One of the aspects of satire is that as much as the story is in itself very comical, it also has moments where more serious topics are addressed. Such concepts as mentioned are frequent throughout the film, discussing things such as loss, family, friends, loyalty, trust, and survival, which are all rather serious topics. These were, however, often glossed over with goofy one-liners,Twinkies, and Bill Murray, thus bringing us into the movie’s aspects of parody.
Parody, unlike satire, is a direct use of mimicry more than that of mockery, this appears in Zombieland in a number of places as well. A very notable use of this mimicry was when double barreled shotguns and six-round revolvers seemed to never run out of ammo. Much like in other zombie films and shows including The Walking Dead, in a world where you are always surrounded by zombies to kill and are just barely surviving, running out of ammo never seems to be something to worry about. Also in comparison to satire, parody does not have any serious points at all, it is purely comical the whole way through. It may not be entirely present in the movie, but elements of this were still apart of it. An example of this would be in the motives of the characters. Think about it, it is the middle of the zombie apocalypse meanwhile Little Rock and Wichita want to go an amusement park and Tallahassee is on the desperate search for some Twinkies. Instead of having more understandable and practical things of their mind when it is hard enough just to stay alive, having their priorities be so strange and ridiculous gave the story that perfect level of idiocy needed in a parody.
Overall, there are elements in the film Zombieland that present a combination of both satirical pieces and also that of parody. It is hard to say which it is more of, some will argue satire and others parody, but I believe what makes this movie so good is how well the combination is woven together.

Jillian Blye said...


Jillian Blye



In the 2009 film Zombieland, directed by Ruben Fleischer there are many elements throughout the film that make the viewer question if the film is a parody or a satire. The 2000s was the time period that highlighted zombies the most. There are now so many zombie movies that they all seem to be the same. However, Zombieland had a twist to the plot. Zombieland was made to give the viewers a good laugh. There is a level of comedy and humor introduced to the script to be more appealing to all ages. Zombieland is proven to be a parody and a satire provided by the random humor to last you a lifetime.
The parody throughout the movie gives a comedic feeling towards the setting and plot. The parody aspect of the film is introduced early, when he talks about his list and what he is scared of. Instead of being scared of the zombies, he instead is petrified by clowns. Clowns are suppose to make people laugh and be funny, but he thinks the complete opposite. Columbus is put through fear at the end and a choice when there is a zombie clown standing in front of him. He needs to save the girls and kill the zombie land to get to them. That is when one of his rules changes into being a hero instead of not being a hero. Also, Tallahassee is obsessed with twinkies and his only goal is to find at least one still left in the world. He is continually searching up and down for one. This shows the parody because even though they are living in a world full of zombies, he will fight and kill all of them just to get a twinkie. Also, twinkies are very fattening and Columbus always said the fatties die first. The director shows the aspect of parody in these scenes plus many more though through the movie.
While there is parody in the film, there is also satire. Both these components make up the film in their own way. The satire in this film uses mockery. Columbus mentions how important cardio is when trying to survive in the world. He says the fat ones always die first and when he says this, there is a scene of a man running very slowly then a zombie attacking him. This shows a part of the satire used, just from this scene. Columbus always said he wanted a family and that he never belonged. He had lost his real family to the zombies but eventually created a new one. When the zombies first become to rule the world, no one could trust each other. But he then began to see Tallahassee and the girls as part of her family. There are life lessons taught in the money with the satire.
The film has a combination of parody and satire all through the movie. There are way too many examples that could prove it. It all depends on the person and what they think there is more of. In my personal opinion, they both equal out. I think the combination made the film even better because there were humor mixed with life lessons and real situations.


---I was on the math field trip while this was an assignment in class.

Kaleala KF said...

Zombieland, directed by Ruben Fleischer, is a movie about how a disease spreads and causes people to become in this zombie like state. I believe this movie is a satire because I didn’t see a movie that Zombieland could be poking fun at. Also the movie accentuates the need for a Twinkie more than the need of something more important to life.

Parody is making fun of something that already exists. The Scary Movies are many parodies of movies put into one movie. Parody involves more crude humor than satire does usually. My movie interests do not include parody movies so I am probably not answering this question correctly.

Satire uses humor to make fun of something but it’s original and not a copy of something. Satire usually creates a situation that is stupid and would never happen, for example: the Twinkie craze. I don’t really watch satire films so I don’t really know how to relate to this.

Zombieland was a great satirical movie and rumor has it that there will be a second one coming out shortly which I will be definitely watching. Overall, this movie is definitely out of my movie watching genre but I enjoyed it because having Jesse Eisenberg as the main character was humorous. I am definitely more interested with zombie movies now because some of them can be rather entertaining as Zombieland was.

Amanda Towne said...

The idea of Zombies has come back over the years and has gotten more popular than ever. Some of the most widespread films, books, and games have included the zombie apocalypse theme. Zombie films provide a sense of thrill and intensity that the crowd enjoys. In the well-known film, Zombieland, the director creates a thrilling sensation through violence and humor. While a parody is just a mimicry of an established concept, idea, or a person and a satire is something spoken in humor without reproducing the subject directly, Zombieland’s main focus leans towards a parody. The film’s main point of view of the zombie apocalypse theme is more out of humor than a serious topic.
From the beginning of the film, Zombieland leans towards a satire standpoint. They created a set of rules to survive the zombie apocalypse made out to change a certain point in society. Some of the rules opposed how society would normally be classified. For example, the rules of survival mention the fattest people die first because they can’t run away from the zombies. Outrunning zombies are the most important thing to survive a zombie apocalypse therefore you have to be fit to run fast. Another rule to alter society is the concept not to be a hero. Basically saying, save yourself before you save someone else. Also, when the characters drove to California, everyone was a zombie except Bill Murray who they come across later. In other words, money didn’t help the rich and famous survive. Bill Murray used his own tactics to survive by himself. The portion of the movie that reflects satire is directed towards a change in society.
Although the movie reflects some of the traits of a satire, it is mainly redirected as a parody. A parody doesn’t involve any serious topic, just mimics a subject directly with humor. The zombie theme throughout the whole movie was just for entertainment and thrill. There was no intended mockery in it. During the zombie apocalypse, Tallahassee was on a mission to find a Twinkie. Humor was intended in this piece of the film because during this serious matter, his only goal is to find a Twinkie because it brings him happiness. Each character in the movie has something they are trying to survive for, whether it’s their family or their own benefit. One of the only ones left to survive the zombie apocalypse was the weakest character. The main character of the movie, Columbus, explained the many issues he had. It was surprising he survived over everyone else because he was the most likely to get attacked first because he is so weak. Later in the movie, Bill Murray makes an appearance when he pretends to be a zombie to stay alive. Essentially, they were making fun of him because the use of drugs was presented. Throughout the movie, the zombies that were characterized seemed to be more exaggerated than the typical zombie phenomenon. All in all, Zombieland seems to lean more towards a parody rather than a satire for many reasons.
Even though Zombieland was made out to be a humorous film, the intentional point the director made was to mimic zombies. The zombie sensation has come back intriguing viewers with a thrill. This common subject has become more popular over the years in many movies. Most zombie themed films focus more on parody because the zombie idea isn’t any serious matter. It is strictly for entertainment among many. The popular film, Zombieland, is fixated mostly as a parody considering moments where it can be believed to be a satire.

John Cormier said...

Zombieland (2009) directed by Ruben Fleischer is a horror comedy that owes its existence to movies, like Shaun of the Dead, that came before it. Despite debuting in the oversaturated zombie genre Zombieland stands out thanks to its use of humor; be this in the form of physical or intellectual jokes. However Zombieland also utilizes elements of both satire and parody.
The film earns its right to satire through its original scenes of intellectual humor and witty social commentary. This starts with the opening narrated by our protagonist, Columbus, describing how the world reached this zombie ridden apocalyptic state and how to survive. While laying out his rules of survival he makes the comment of how “the fat ones were the first to go”. This induced a cheap laugh based on the idea of a fat American running, but also acted as a criticism of the obesity rate of today. Those rules laid out by Columbus are also a satirical device as they show both basic survival techniques and reveal humorous details about want is important to this character yet behind the scenes it criticizes some of these aspects. An example of this would be the travel light rule which shows us how Columbus is used to being alone but it also is a criticism of that life style as in a group he is clearly much safer. However besides these examples Zombieland is lacking in satire.
This is because it relies mostly on mimicry to get its point across, Zombieland is more parody then satire. With jokes that incite laughter without critical thinking. Take for example the over the top slow-mo action sequence featuring a screen writer of the movie in a white tux firing a machine gun. The movie subtly points out the flaws that other zombie movies seem to ignore. Like how characters that have no knowledge of producing bullets never seem to run out of ammo and never need to reload unless it is for a joke. Then there is Bill Murray, who is featured smoking drugs and insulting his own works while later also dying due to an ill-conceived prank. Finally there is the group’s plan of going to an amusement park. This is something that any serious zombie movie character would try to avoid because of the loud noises and bright lights that are bound to attract hordes of the undead, yet in Zombieland it is the perfect place for a lot of amusing zombie killing. One could even draw this scene up as a parallel to the one in Shaun of the Dead where Shaun accidentally flicks on and off the bars lights inadvertently attracting more zombies to himself.
By the end, Zombieland makes a few jokes a societies expense, but most of it is harmless parody. Though when it does slip into satire it executes it well but strays away from making truly deep social criticisms. Yet it is by stealing from and mocking elements present in other zombie movies that Zombieland gets most of its laughs from.

Anonymous said...

‘Parody’ and ‘satire’ are two terms that are often confused for each other. Their meanings and their innerworkings overlap, and that lends to people sometimes naming a parody a satire, and vice versa, or a debate on whether a movie or television show or a novel is a parody of something or a satire. There is no right or wrong answer, necessarily; as with most stories, whatever the medium, it’s all about individual perception. The 2009 film Zombieland is no exception. It wouldn’t be hard to make a case with either option, but, in the long run, Zombieland comes across as more of a parody than a satire because of its lack of societal commentary and the way it presents its story.
One of the main staples of satire is that it says something about a negative aspect of society, and advocates change. Zombieland reflects the zombie phenomenon that's currently gripping America, and that's no negative thing (though that depends on who you ask and how disdainful they are of popular culture). It's not encouraging any sort of change, either. It plays on typical zombie apocalypse tropes, and turns them inside out in a comedic manner, which is a main staple of a parody. It's not saying anything profound, nor trying to.
The serious notes in the film may sway people to label Zombieland a satire. Most people consider parody to only ever be obnoxious, teeming with gross-out, lowbrow humor that mainly appeals to the teenage boy demographic. But that's not necessarily true. Zombieland can have its clever writing and solemn moments while still maintaining its parody status. For example, while a serious zombie story may be a gritty survival tale, but Zombieland flips this around with the running joke of Columbus's rules of survival that float on screen. Not only that, but his rules are points of comedy (one of his rules is to always wear your seatbelt). When you add in Columbus's cynical, disaffected-youth attitude, you have a perfect formula for the parody version of the characters in zombie stories who are desperate to survive.
None of this means that calling Zombieland a satire is necessarily wrong. As previously stated, it depends on the person. Based on the aforementioned points, however, certain elements of the the film, from the script to the execution, push Zombieland into the territory of parody.
- Laine Parker