Zombieland appears in an aspect ratio of approximately 2.40:1 on this Blu-Ray Disc. Though not stellar, this was a consistently solid presentation.
Sharpness was very good. At no time did any softness interfere, as the movie came across as tight and well-defined. No problems with jagged edges or shimmering occurred, and edge enhancement remained absent. In terms of print issues, no concerns materialized.
Like most modern horror movies, Zombieland went with a stylized palette. Much of the flick stayed with a pretty desaturated set of tones; only a few brighter colors popped up – mostly at the amusement park - which made sense given the movie’s desolate settings. Within those constraints, the hues were appropriate and well-rendered. Blacks seemed dark and tight, but shadows were a little heavy; low-light shots lacked terrific detail. Despite that, this was a positive presentation.
Similar thoughts greeted the good DTS-HD MA 5.1 soundtrack of Zombieland. The soundfield mostly came to life during a few action sequences. These provided fairly good material from the side and rear speakers, as these scenes used those speakers to a positive effect. Wild action elements cropped up around the room and created a fair amount of nutty action.
Audio quality satisfied. Speech sounded crisp and distinctive, and music appeared robust and full. Effects were accurate and dynamic. Low-end response showed good thump and richness. Nothing here dazzled, but the audio merited a “B+”.
The Blu-ray boasts a pretty nice set of supplements. We open with “Beyond the Graveyard”, a picture-in-picture feature. It mixes raw footage from the shoot, pre-viz material and storyboards, and interviews. We hear from 2nd unit director/stunt coordinator George Aguilar, visual effects supervisor Paul Linden, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, director Ruben Fleischer, and actors Emma Stone, Abigail Breslin, Mike White, Jesse Eisenberg, and Woody Harrelson. They discuss stunts and effects, characters and their traits, cast and performances, and a few general thoughts about the production.
In the year or so that I’ve reviewed Blu-rays, I’ve seen some good picture-in-picture features. “Graveyard” won’t land on my list of the best of these; in fact, it’ll be on my list of disappointments. When the information appears, we find some decent material; nothing terribly scintillating pops up, but the segments have their moments.
Unfortunately, we find these too infrequently for them to make this a satisfying experience. I don’t expect PiP features to provide a non-stop barrage of components, but we should get those elements on a pretty consistent basis. Here we find a lot of dead space and don’t find nearly enough material to keep us occupied. “Graveyard” is only worth a look if you’re really bored and you can’t get enough of all things Zombieland; it’s just not a satisfactory program.
Next comes an audio commentary with director Ruben Fleischer, writers Rhett Reese and Paul Wernick, and actors Woody Harrelson and Jesse Eisenberg. All five sit together for this running, screen-specific take on the film’s origins and path to the screen, cast, characters and performances, story issues and editing, music and production design, stunts and effects, and sets and locations.
With noted eccentric Harrelson in tow, one might expect a loose, goofy chat. Instead, we get a very standard commentary. That’s not a bad thing, though the result never becomes especially memorable. We find a reasonably good collection of thoughts about the production, however, and we learn a fair amount about the flick here.
Two featurettes follow. In Search of Zombieland goes for 15 minutes, 57 seconds and provides remarks from Harrelson, Stone, Fleischer, Breslin, Eisenberg, Wernick, Reese, producer Gavin Polone, executive producer Ezra Swerdlow, key makeups effects artist Kevin Prouty, and actor Amber Heard. The show discusses the project’s roots and development, cast, characters and performances, zombie design and makeup.
“Search” provides a pretty mediocre featurette. Much of it stays with basic notes, and a lot of it also appears during the commentary. I do like the info about the nature of the zombie disease/design, though, and we learn some interesting thoughts about those characters.
Zombieland Is Your Land lasts 11 minutes, 59 seconds and features Eisenberg, Fleischer, Swerdlow, Wernick, Reese, Breslin, Stone, Harrelson, and production designer Maher Ahmad. This show looks at production design, sets and locations. Unlike the general “Search”, “Land” focuses on a pretty tight subject area. And that makes it more effective, as we learn a lot about the set design specifics in this satisfying program.
Seven Deleted Scenes occupy a total of five minutes, 27 seconds. As that running time indicates, we find no extended additions here; the longest segment lasts only about 90 seconds. A couple show more about the aftermath of Columbus’s experiences with 406; these provide unnecessary exposition. Others let us learn a little more about Wichita and Little Rock, and we also see some pangs of guilt over the way they treat the guys. The clips are generally interesting, but I don’t think any of them needed to be in the final film.
Under Visual Effects Progression Scenes, we see four clips: “Washington” (0:53), “Seat Belts” (0:27), “Banjo Zombie” (0:24) and “Falling Zombie” (0:19). Each of these silent pieces lets us see the shots in various stages; we watch the effects layers build in them. They’re a decent way to view the manner in which the movie created its effects.
Five Theatrical Promo Trailers fill a total of six minutes, four seconds. Like standard trailers, they include movie clips, but they mostly consist of zombie-related Q&A with Harrelson and Eisenberg in character. That factor makes them much more interesting than the usual ads.
The disc opens with a promo for Black Dynamite. That ad also appears under Previews along with clips for The Boondocks Saints II: All Saints Day, Universal Soldier: Regeneration, Breaking Bad S2, Ghostbusters, Michael Jackson’s This Is It, Snatch and Night of the Creeps.
No one should expect true greatness from a flick like Zombieland, but it definitely achieves Really Goodness. The movie combines action, comedy and horror in a genuinely satisfying package and keeps us amused and entertained. The Blu-ray boasts solid picture and audio along with a decent allotment of supplements. Zombieland offers “B”-movie fun at its best.