Ten years. A lot has changed over the last decade. Britain has had three prime ministers, the US two presidents. Kendrick Lamar’s entire discography of studio albums was released during the last ten years, as was a majority of the MCU (save for Iron Man and The Incredible Hulk). An entire generation of gaming consoles started, and will soon be coming to a close with the release of Xbox’s new console next year. Finally, after all these changes, we are getting a Zombieland sequel! After such a large gap in time, the trailer, which came out yesterday, had to successfully remind audiences why the first one is so great, justify the existence of a second one, and excite audiences enough to forgive the studios for such an excruciating wait.
What is most noticeable is the lack of actual zombies. Given its title, and even its subtitle, there is an irony hanging over the whole trailer, for most of the trailer presents us with shots and scenes featuring the original cast, and very human new additions. Ultimately, this is probably a smart route for the second film to follow. If the emphasis laid on the zombies, it would risk prioritising action and spectacle over character and comedy, which are the main strengths of the original movie. Plus, The Walking Dead buzz is certainly much quieter now than it was ten years ago. Giving the zombies the primary focus would not have sparked much hype, for it is the characters we want to see return.
Character appears to be the focus of this second instalment, which I’m very happy to see. The scenes in the Oval Office feel very real and genuine- if I were one of the few to have survived the apocalypse, the first thing I’d do is go visit all the places I was not allowed to go before. The Oval Office would probably be one of them (maybe Area 51 as well, if it is not already “stormed” by that point). It also fits the characters, who, in the first film, break into Bill Murray’s house. I’m glad to see their sense of curiosity, and their desire to explore remnants of the old world, have survived the ten year jump. Further, there is a strong emphasis on the family dynamic. “I’d really like for you to stop calling me little girl”, says Little Rock to Tallahassee out of frustration for being seen as the baby of the group, hinting that the film may focus on how the family dynamic, set up in the first Zombieland, has changed, grown, or struggled over the last decade. Perhaps this sense of inequality is why she ends up running away, as the trailer implies. More tension appears to come from the introduction of new characters into the group. The film appears to be centred on the family and how it works, which is a lot more interesting than seeing the same group fight some zombies again.
Of course, the original film was a comedy, so it is great to see that the franchise’s sense of humour is still as golden as ever. All of the jokes work and made me laugh- particularly the joke about Tallahassee not “giv[ing] a shit” about Columbus, and the weed gag. Hopefully, these are not the only good jokes, nor simply the best gags. I do have hope the film has a whole has more to offer. The scenes in the Oval Office certainly allow for some biting satirical commentary, which will always be a pleasure to watch.
This new trailer is very successful. It reminds me of why I enjoyed the first film so much- the characters and the humour- and reassures me that they will be the focus of the second one. There is also a lot of potential in the “ten years” later set up, as well as a lot of potential for humour in the film’s choice of setting. I’m very excited to see this movie. It is such a shame I had to go through the whole of secondary school, sixth form, and university to get to a point in my life when I can finally see the Zombieland sequel. It has been a long wait, but I’m sure it will be a worthwhile one.