Saturday, April 20, 2013

Warm Bodies

Over the weekend, I saw Warm Bodies in the theaters. Against my better judgment, I was actually somewhat excited for this movie. I should never get excited for things. Warm Bodies came from the same director as 50/50, which pleasantly surprised me. Warm Bodies did not.

This is a hard movie to categorize. In fact, leaving the theater, this was the first question I had to ask myself, because it's not readily apparent and it certainly isn't a zombie movie. It is, however, great at doing the thing that makes money, which is tricking 20-something guys into watching it with their girlfriends. Is that a genre of film yet?

But like I said, not a zombie. (I know, right? Zombie on the poster and everything.) If it were, it wouldn't make any damn sense. I'm not even sure where to begin in things that don't make sense in this movie.

So there's this zombie who lives in an airplane by himself, listening to music and collecting things. Maybe you already see the conflict here with traditional zombie movies. If not, hang tight. It gets worse. Said zombie's name is R because he can't remember the rest of it. You might think it's kinda dumb that he can't remember the rest of it. Let's see what you remember when you're dead.

While on a routine hunting raid, he sees a beautiful girl, falls in love with her, and eats her boyfriend. One of those things is ok for a zombie movie, and if you don't know which one, I can't help you. In this movie, eating someone's brains lets you experience their memories, which I actually thought was kinda cool, provided that I didn't think about it too hard. (Do different pieces of the brains have different memories? If you eat you a pilot's brain can you fly an airplane? If you a brain and throw it up later, do you get to experience the memories again?)

Anyway, I'm focusing on the wrong parts here. R the zombie can manage speaking simple sentences and uses this to get the beautiful girl to fall in love with him, and falling in love turns him human. There. Don't read anything else about this movie except for that one sentence. Does that sound stupid as fuck to you? It should.

Anyway, like I said earlier, this movie has a genre problem. A lot of our horror movies are about "becoming the other" - maintaining one's humanish traits while being not quite human. Zombies, werewolves, vampires are all scary because they have a lost key elements of their humanity. Warm Bodies was almost sitting on a brilliant idea with this movie, since it's a man losing his humanity as a zombie and then coming back with the power of athingcalledlove. That "coming back" aspect could have added an interesting element to the zombie mythos, especially since the absence of love is essentially what makes zombies monsters in the first place. R could have been shown dealing with his hunger, being love with a woman he wants to devour and forcing himself to control his urges...no, wait, I'm sorry. That's a terrible idea. That's a terrible idea because it is Twilight. I just accidentally made Twilight. Goddammit.

The movie makes an attempt to be a romance film, I guess, because it's not funny or scary, and actually not even romantic, but it's gonna go in some genre doesn't it? So what the fuck ever. Romance. The focus throughout the movie is on the relationship between the two characters, which sucks because they're boring and hipsters.

I can almost applaud this movie for being creative and trying out something new, but two things hold me back. One, I feel like this movie maybe have been pitched as "Twilight but with zombies" and while it's better than Twilight, you don't earn creativity points with an idea like that. Two, this movie was dumb. And no matter how creative a movie may be, being dumb will ruin it every time.
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