But, fortunately, despite my fears, I recently found myself in the theater watching "Warm Bodies" - a movie directed by Jonathan Levine which was originally based on a short story by Isaac Marion, and was transformed into a not-so-tragic and yet not-too-silly tale about a future Romeo and Juliet. The main character of the flick, R (Nicholas Hoult), carries most of the story forward as a zombie that can’t quie speak or form sentences – and so, a majority of the story relies on his inner monologue. Which, I admit, is a clever idea - having the zombie tell the tale rather than the human.
Speaking of humans: inevitably, in his search for food, R spots a young woman who stirs something inside of him – literally: his heart beats for the first time in as long as he can remember. The rest of the movie focuses on the interaction between dead and living, and their journey back to civilization, during which time R and a number of his companions are coming back to life.
“Bemused” is the only word I can use to describe how I originally felt about this set-up. But somehow, through a combination of good directing, writing, and acting, “Warm Bodies” turned out just fine.
“Somehow” being the key word. Truth be told, this is not a movie that I see leaving a major impact in the future of cinema; as much fun as I had during my night out, the movie overall really didn't even leave a strong impact on me personally. Looking at it now, I see a lot of things that it’s not:
- A horror/apocalypse film
- A violent, gory zombie flick
- An outright satire (it does show elements of commentary on mankind, society and human nature – just relatively sparse elements)
- A completely cheesy romantic chick flick
- A comedic goldmine
That said, “Warm Bodies” still balances elements from each of these genres without truly being a part of the genres. Sure, the film was classified on Rotten Tomatoes as “a twist on the classic love story,” but I think because of its elements of satire and commentary, there’s still a little more to it than that. There were enough interesting details and ideas going into and floating around this film that I, a complete hater of the romantic genre, enjoyed myself immensely. That tells me there's something more to this film than "love story."
Like I said, the film really doesn't strike me as ground-breaking, genre-defying or trend-setting. Still, “Warm Bodies” manages to be enjoyably cute without its cliché elements really holding it back, and manages to be a little bit more than a silly simple love story. For what it is, it is indeed a decent Saturday night movie. (Although, truth be told, if I’m in the mood for a funny zombie flick, “Shawn of the Dead” will still be at the top of my list of options rather than “Warm Bodies.”)