Thursday, February 28, 2013

Warm Bodies (2013)

Theatrical Poster
Source: Wikipedia
Firstly, let me start off by saying that loving a zombie is not necrophilia. Not that I would condone such a love without copious amounts of moisturiser, but if it's going to happen then I would rather the correct terminology to be used. Necrophilia is from the Greek nekros, meaning death, and philia, meaning love. Zombies aren't dead. In fact, by definition they're undead. No, the correct terminology is kinemortophilia from the Greek kine (movement), the Latin mort (death) and, again, the Greek philia.

If all of that ancient language hurt your head, then we're only just getting started. The second lesson of the day is English Literature, and more specifically; Shakespeare. I must confess I was having a bit of a stupid ninety minutes when I watched Warm Bodies as it took until the famous balcony scene for me to realise that the entire film was a parody of Romeo and Juliet.

Zombies, unsurprisingly, have taken over the world. There is a small pocket of humans remaining and they have taken to walling themselves in, only venturing out in search of vital supplies. Julie (Teresa Palmer), the daughter of the human commanding officer (John Malkovich), is sent on one such mission but her group is quickly overrun by the zombies. Julie finds herself saved by an introspective zombie known only as "R" (Nicholas Hoult).

The zombie staring contest final was entering its 4th hour
So, to conclude, the Montagues have been replaced by a bloodthirsty zombie hoard, and the Capulets have been replaced by the last few remaining humans in the world. Romeo is R, Juliet is, err, Julie. Mercutio has also been substituted for a zombie, known as "M" (although not to be confused with the "M" played most recently by Dame Judy Dench). Yes, it did take me until the balcony scene to see the references and yes, I do feel ashamed of myself.

But still, less chastising me and more moving onto the rollicking that a parody deserves. Well, I say rollicking, but what I actually mean is praising. I know that Warm Bodies is a spoof in the most basic sense of the term, but it isn't a traditional badly-filmed, badly-acted and badly-directed piece of crap that Hollywood usually churns out after a successful and popular story. No, Warm Bodies is - and forgive me for this - good.

I think that because it's surprisingly good I can be forgiven for forgetting the references to Romeo and Juliet (although, probably not). Warm Bodies isn't just a standard mock-em-all horror, but includes a well thought out script and some very intelligent humour that is equally accessible to a zombie-loving teen as it is to their rom-com loving parents.

Undoubtedly the star of the show is Nicholas Hoult who looks just as comfortable being a member of the brain-eating undead as he does being a love-sick puppy. He also provides much of the humour at the start as the voice-over, speaking on behalf of his mute protagonist from the perspective of being inside his head. Listening to his speech will almost certainly make you view Dawn of the Dead in a completely different light.

This all brings me nicely onto how Warm Bodies fits into the zombie horror genre. Undoubtedly it'll make horror purists cringe as their favourite genre is hilariously spoofed. When you sit down and think about it though, there are very few zombie films that won't make you laugh, and in this sense, Warm Bodies fits right in.

All that being said, it's still a spoof. Admittedly though, and I'll say it quietly, it's brilliant.

2 comments:

  1. Seems like the long-awaited American answer to Shaun of the Dead.

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  2. I
    must admit, I am mildly interested in seeing Warm Bodies. The 2008
    remake of Day of the Dead explored a similar zombie-human love premise,
    but that was quite possibly the shoddiest movie of all time.

    ReplyDelete