New Release: Warm Bodies
The month of romance brought us the age-old tale of star-crossed lovers, one a beautiful, lively young woman and the other...a zombie.
R (Nicholas Hoult) is a high-functioning zombie who collects things, can grunt actual words occasionally, and, upon seeing the very alive Julie (Teresa Palmer), even falls in love. Once the other zombies see the connection between R & Julie, something in all of them begins to change and they feel as if they may actually have something to live for. Unfortunately, Julie's father (John Malkovich) still sees them all as lifeless, brain-sucking fleshbags that must be destroyed.
It's becoming increasingly difficult to escape the zombie craze that has taken over cinema, television, literature and many more forms of art in recent years. Zombies have been used for horror and comedy, social commentary and pure entertainment. So how can one possibly bring anything new to the sub-genre? Well, they really can't. Granted, a film from the zombie's point of view (in this case R narrates the film) is a new-ish spin, but it's not entirely original, just original for the mainstream. A quick search on Netflix streaming turns up endless zombie films, and even a few zombie-point-of-view films, but these are certainly low-budget and easily overlooked, though the concept of Aaah! Zombies!! is good for laughs as we actually see the humans turning into the undead from their perspective.
So now that zombies have a voice in the theater, what do they actually have to say? For Warm Bodies, it's nothing entirely new. The film is a very on-the-nose interpretation of Romeo and Juliet, with characters R, Julie, Perry, M and Nora (who even wants to be a nurse) and an actual balcony scene. But there's nothing like a new spin on an old classic, and Warm Bodies delivers the laughs along with the warm fuzzies as two beings who really shouldn't be together find a way not only to make their love happen, but change the world for the better.
It's not the first zombie-point-of-view-film and it's not the first story about star-crossed lovers, but so far Warm Bodies is the only zombie film that ends with genuine love and hope, where the world is a much better place by the end of the film, possibly even better than before the outbreak occurred. And that is rare.