Over ten years ago, a cultural phenomenon swept our pop culture. This little wonder was a novel called Twilight. At its debut, I was probably within the age of its target audience, but instead of being pulled into its tidal wave, I gave it a bookish brush off. My reaction was probably something like that of a Violet Crawley-ism. In other words, I probably stuck my nose in the air and kept my attentions affixed on other things, like Jane Austen, which is (maybe?) why I don’t like zombies (aka the supernatural)!
Then something strange happened. A little film called Warm Bodies caught my attention circa 2013.
If I hadn’t known a zombie acted as its hero, I viewed its trailer as a sweet romantic-comedy that spoke to my romantic fangirl heart language. Alas, it did feature a zombie, and so, I probably (in poor taste) brushed it off. But fortunately for me, the little gem kept pestering me through the attraction of friends’ blogging about it, and even email conversations I was party to.
FILM REVIEW | Warm Bodies: A Cute Zombie RomCom of an Adventure
The supernatural phenomenon that celebrates these undead creatures baffles me. What is the attraction to an immortal, pale-faced guy (vampire) who proves a danger to anyone? Then there are the flesh-eaters (zombies) that don’t hesitate to feed their hunger. So the appeal is what? Sometimes the best stories come in quiet pictures of salvation. This is what I discovered with Warm Bodies. I didn’t want to be curious or actively invested in a story about the undead just the same I had to face facts: I was – and maybe, just maybe, the experience wouldn’t be so bad.
If you don’t know the plot of Warm Bodies, in it we meet R, a zombie. Like any of the undead, he is a creature of his cursed circumstances. He does what comes natural, and feeds off the human brain in order to survive lest he evolve to the point of no return. But at least he has the decency to feel bad about this. Whether or not R knows it, he’s fighting against doing what he naturally cannot help. Then he meets Julie. Julie is the daughter of the rebel leader, the last of the human race who are fighting to survive the zombie apocalypse. This human contact changes R, and he’s going to protect Julie; he’s not going to let anyone hurt her.
Minimally, if you watch this quirky dramedy, you’re likely to be left smiling. At its best, WarmBodies is a warm-hearted romance that doesn’t implement safety nets to tell its story. It isolates its characters, presents us with a murderous hero, and a whip-smart narration that not only entices laughter, but tugs at our heartstrings. Paying homage to the Romeo & Juliet tragedy may have been the outlying intention yet underneath it all, the threads holding it together there beats a heart of gold.
Striping away the speculative angles
and imagery, within these frames is a story of hope. R was dead, without
feelings or the capability to show compassion or love. Until he locks eyes with
Julie. In that moment, time stands still. She stirs something foreign in his cold
body. Unknowingly she inspires in him a desire to protect. That sprig of hope
is just the beginning; that connection slowly begins to redeem him, to pump life
and a beating heart back into his cold soul. Contrary to what this may
suggest, there is nothing ordinary
about this story. Love isn’t just one dimensional in this film – it takes many forms.
ROMANTIC MOMENT | Col. Darcy and Lizzy Bennet
Warm Bodies looks beyond the typical human behavior; it’s pure. Julie’s love for R is unconditional. She puts no limits on its price. Like the story, R isn’t just a paper cut-out character; the character is both protagonist and antagonist. His nature is to destroy, to rob the gift of life. Then Julie walks into his life, his saving grace. What’s more compelling about this story isn’t found in the pseudo happy ever after kiss. R’s reawakening comes in the unintentional persuasion of Julie. By her accepting R as he is (not who he was or could be), he was given a second chance.
Warm Bodies challenges our view of the superficial, and my ‘why I don’t like zombies’ viewpoint. It’s a twist on the Beauty and the Beast fable. In another way, it’s completely, uniquely its own DNA. From this sweet and complicated relationship, we learn something precious. Julie and R color “outside the lines” of their burgeoning relationship. At the end of the day, life could use a little more kindness. R and Julie are a perfect example of what that looks like.?Why I don't Like Zombies. And The One Time A Zombie Made me Smile. Talking on 'why I don't like zombies' with exception to one named R! #Zombies #Opinions #Random Click To Tweet
*Note: I wrote an article on Warm Bodies for a 2013 issue of Femnista. It wasn’t very good. Here’s hoping this attempt and the resulting article is an improvement on the whole “why I don’t like Zombies.” While portions of that article are intact, 97% of this is completely new.
** More recently I also read and then watched the film adaptation known as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. This brings us back, full circle to my opening. In this Austen spoof, we are regaled with the classic Pride and Prejudice story only in this version we meet Col. Darcy and Lizzy Bennet. Both of whom can kick some serious zombie butt.