Who knew Zombies 3 would be intergalactic good fun? Anyone paying attention. There are a certain things that Disney is not only known for but potentially best at, and movie musicals are at the top of the list.
Ever since the extreme success that followed High School Musical, we have seen Disney Channel produce and reproduce similar content, from Camp Rock to Teen Beach Movie, the popular Descendants series, and now the trilogy of Zombies. Zombies 3 debuts today on Disney+ and will be the last installment of what some might argue the best series yet.
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Don’t get me wrong, every series I’ve mentioned has its up and downs in their own way with Descendants being a hard giant to defeat. But there is something truly special about the Zombies series that just makes it exceptional. And the newest installment is no different. In fact, Zombies 3 is probably what will solidify this series as one of the best.
For Zombies 3, Consistency is Key
One of the hardest things to do with these series is to make the flow between each movie connect. For me that probably was the one of the biggest hurdles that Descendants faced. But Zombies 3 wasn’t just a beautiful blend of the previous movies plot points, but it felt like a giant thank you to fans. With this being the last installment, the bar was set pretty high. And it’s safe to say that last installments, series wrap-ups are always bitter sweet with things fans will find to nitpick over because it didn’t end how they wanted it to.
But as I watched Zombies 3 last night, yes I stayed up till 2am to watch as soon as it dropped. I was so utterly invested in the plot and the characters, that for me the movie was over to fast. There was no random, big leaps from the source material that made me double take and ask, “wait what?” And sure, the styling from Zombies in 2018 to today is leaps and bounds better. The characters, the music, the overall feeling was everything that fans have loved from the start.
Including finding the perfect way to reprise probably the biggest fan favorite song, “Someday”. This originated as the song the two main characters, Addison (Meg Donnelly) and Zed (Milo Manheim) sing when they first meet back in Zombies. Then we get a small part of it in Zombies 2 towards the end. But when it came up in Zombies 3, it was the perfect choice to match the feeling of the moment but also the feeling of fans saying goodbye to the series. Especially since this number now wasn’t just between the two lovers, but showcasing all the relationships and friendships that were made through the series.
And while it could be debatable if “Someday” was an ode to the fans and the series, there is one other song that can’t. The finale credit song, “Nothing But Love”, is filled with a collection of things that any true Zombies fan would instantly pick up. Including, my favorite line “do it like the zombies do.” Which references my favorite song from Zombies 2. Check it out in the video below.
No Song Skips
Any musical lover will usually have a song or two they skip. And that’s ok because no one expects every song to be a bop. That is unless you have composer George S. Clinton leading the charge. As well as composer Amit May Cohen who joined the team for Zombies 2 and now back for Zombies 3. Every song from the three movies are always catchy and fun.
One of the biggest reasons I think the music connects so well, is that each character has their own sound. This keeps from songs blending together and sounding repetitive. As well as connects a variety of music fans to the show. And it’s a testament to the true composers genius that they are able to take all of these different sounds without anything sounding out of place. For example in Zombies 3, we go from one second rocking out with Addison and Zed in a pop retro vibe that has you bumping and grinding. To trying to break it down with the wolf pack in a more nightclub dance theme.
The only thing that felt lacking in Zombies 3 in the music department, was the lack of the aliens participation. In Zombies 2, the wolves had multiple songs that allowed fans to really connect with them and show off who they were. And with the aliens being introduced in the first number so strongly, I had expected to see more in the music department.
Perhaps there wasn’t enough time, or perhaps it didn’t fit into the character development of this new group. And that is definitely understandable, but I can’t help that it left me wanting just a little more. This feeling of wanting more, is probably due to the fact that all three of the leads for the aliens were so strong in their own way that you couldn’t help but crave more of them.
A Blend of a Strong Plot and Characters
Sometimes we will see a movie do so well, that during the sequel they just repeat the plot but in a new situation. One of the great things about Zombies 3 and the entire series, was that this was the first time the plot and character development progressed together so well. In the original movie, we are introduced into this “perfect” world of humans being impacted by zombies just wanting a chance to co-exist.
In Zombies 2, change is happening, but like most things it’s happening slowly. So when a new set of creatures, the werewolves, are introduced, we start to see how this impacts not only the humans but the zombies in different ways. As well we get to see how the wolves themselves are impacted.
It’s so important that we focus on how amazing the character development is for all fractions because it speaks to the overall message we get in Zombies 3. We might not see a lot of the side characters, since the plot revolves mostly around Addison and Zed. But the fact that as audiences we not only feel so connected to these side characters, but also have a strong understanding of their own progression speaks volumes to the overall plot of the series.
Not to mention how well thought out all these characters are from start to finish. Even at times of Descendants, it felt like some of the main four characters were just easily forgotten in efforts to push the main couple.
For me, Zombies 3 really hit home just how far we all had come. There is a moment in the first song, when the aliens arrive that Addison and Zed share a moment. In the second movie he himself tried to fix things and control the situation to keep her safe. But in this small exchange, we see him express his side but also be willing to understand where she is coming from. It might be such a small thing to some people, but to someone who has watched all of these Disney Channel musical movie series, this small thing is a HUGE difference from what we normally see. And in the end makes the series Zombies so strong.
And while that moment I mentioned might be small, it isn’t the only example we can pull from. Especially regarding Zombies 3, which probably had the best overall message in any of these musical series so far. But you will have to watch it for yourself to find out what I’m talking about.
Shows come and go, and pretty soon another musical movie franchise will replace this one. But I have personally never felt such a loss like I did as Zombies 3 ended. The beautiful blend of music, dancing, plot, and characters has left an imprint on our hearts. As well should be referenced as a guide for future projects Disney does in this genre.
And it isn’t just the overall franchise. I don’t know if I would be as obsessed with the franchise right now, if it hadn’t been so amazingly wrapped up by Zombies 3. So often Disney pushes out these musical series because the fans want them, but end up ruining the magic with sequels. The fact that Zombies 3 connected to the prior movies so effortlessly, solidifies this as one of the best musical movie series of Disney history. Not to mention that Zombies 3 felt as good, if not better than the first.
To the point that the only thing that is left to be said to everyone involved in Zombies 3 and the prior movies over the years is, bravo. You are exceptional!