Recent chatter suggests AMC may move forward on a Walking Dead spin-off that is a full-on comedy. Though without losing any of the dread or scares that come with the zombies. I’d have to imagine that Zombieland Double Tap is what it would eventually look like. Consider, Amazon already tried turning the original Zombieland movie into a sitcom. It didn’t pan out. But these characters are certainly welcome on the big screen every decade or so. It’s fun to be back in the good graces of Columbus, Tallahassee, Wichita and Little Rock for a second go around. And watching their antics in 4DX makes the ride that much sweeter.
A first, for me at least, is that there is snow. The movie opens with an icy white landscape, as Jesse Eisenberg’s Columbus talks about his makeshift family’s winter escapades in the apocalypse. During which, snow actually fell from the theater ceiling. A white drift that gently glided in front of the screen, setting up a truly immersive experience that is slightly more engaging than any 3D presentation I’ve yet experienced. There are a lot of great 4DX moments in Zombieland: Double Tap, and that push makes the extra ticket price worth it.
Ever want to experience the rage of Woody Harrelson internally? Here, one of his meltdowns over losing Little Rock to a hippie shakes and rumbles, rattling your insides, bringing a little something extra to his performance that you wouldn’t get in a regular theater. This time out, though, I must admit. I was having so much fun with the movie itself, I almost forgot I was even sitting in a 4DX theater. So, if you live in a state where 4DX hasn’t planted itself yet (such as Oregon), don’t feel like you’re missing out on too much.
While there is snow, there is no water. It never rains in the movie, and the characters never wade into the surf. If you hate getting wet at the 4DX theater, you don’t have to worry about this outing (though, you always have the option to turn off your water, anyway, but why would you ever do that?). There are a few good blood splatters when our heroes kill the zombies, but those splashes of delight are few and far between. This 4DX outing relies more on the roller coaster chair than anything else. And that’s just fine, as the theme park aesthetic matches well with what we’re watching play out on screen.
Like the first Zombieland, Double Tap is a series of vignettes and skits strung together in a linear bridge with the faintest story hanging around its edges. The main push is that Columbus wants to find a permanent home. He eventually does, with the Zombieland gang setting up shop in the White House. That causes some conflict amongst the others in this tight knit group.
Wichita feels suffocated when Columbus proposes, Little Rock wants a boyfriend and some freedom. So those two set sail for a brighter future, only leaving a note behind as to their whereabouts. Columbus, who feels abandoned by his girlfriend, and Tallahassee, who feels abandoned as a father figure, make the best of their new situation. They kill zombies, and go scavenging in the local mall. There they happen upon the original VSCO girl, Madison. It’s not long before Columbus and Madison are hooking up, and the boy is moving on.
Wichita returns to the White House for weapons and supplies. It seems Little Rock and her new Hippie boyfriend have fled to Graceland, which excites Elvis fan Tal quite a bit. And thus, we’re whisked off onto a road trip to Memphis with quite a few bumps and shakes along the way. A lot of attention is given to the Columbus and Wichita relationship, and a lot of jokes are pulled from having Madison added to the mix. Imagine your signifigant other hooks up with someone that embarrasses BOTH of you, and you have to deal with that while stuck traipsing through the zombie apocalypse. I don’t think that idea has ever been explored in a living dead movie yet. And here, it’s handled with an odd touch of magic and sweetness that brings a certain amount of needed heart to the proceedings.
The humor from the original remains solidly intact. And there are some great zombie kills to experience in the 4DX venue. The whole thing reminds me of a 90s sequel. It’s not better or worse than the first. It doesn’t add up to much at the end of the day. But it’s obvious everyone on screen is having a blast, and that sheer joy in slaughtering the walking dead is hard to deny.
There is one 4DX joke in the movie that seems a little out of place. Columbus remarks that, unless we’re sitting in a 4DX theater, we won’t understand how bad the apocalypse actually smells. Funny enough, the 4DX theater I was sitting in didn’t utilize this moment to shoot off some of its signature scents, as it’s known to do. Or perhaps I was too stuffed up to notice (it is cold and flu season after all).
I did bring a Twinkie into the theater with me, smuggled in my pocket. I was ready to experience the ultimate in immersive cinema. My plan in that bucking bronco of a seat was to pull out the Twinkie and eat it in unison with Woody Harrelson’s Tallahassee. Odd, though. There is not one single mention of Twinkies in the whole movie. I ate it anyway. And it did give me a good little sugar rush to go with the all the 4DX bells and whistles.
Zombieland: Double Tap is a swift, hilarious jaunt through the apocalypse, and I enjoyed it just as much as the first outing from a decade ago. The 4DX this time out definitely pumps up the overall enjoyment, especially during the climax, where the Monster Truck takes on a horde of T-800 zombies, thus named after the Terminator because of their relentlessness. This is one time though, where I think I would have enjoyed the movie just as much without all the extras to go along with it. It’s just a flat out fun ride in any format. You can check Regal Movies for a 4DX theater near you.
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