For this month’s first review for Genre Grandeur – Derivative Work Films, here’s a review of Warm Bodies (2013) by SG of Rhyme and Reason.
Thanks again to Summer of Serendipitous Anachronisms for choosing this month’s very unique genre.
Here’s Summer to explain her choice:
Basically it is anything based or inspired by pre-existing source
Amelie takes its relationships from the Luncheon of the Boating Party
The Magnificent Seven is borrowed from the Seven Samurai
Sunday in the Park with George is based on painting by George Seurat
Rosencrantz and Guildenstern are Dead is loosely based on Hamlet
My Own Private Idaho borrows from Henry the IV
Cosi is about a director directing the musical Cosi Fan Tutti
Pride Prejudice and Zombies borrows from Pride and Prejudice
Clueless borrows from the novel Emma
Monty Python and the Holy Grail borrows from the Arthurian Legend
Basically a film that borrows from pre-existing source but reinvents the source material into something else
Next month’s Genre has been chosen by Jordan of Epileptic Moondancer. He has chosen a genre that is well out of my own comfort zone but I am up for the challenge. We will be reviewing our favorite Foreign Language Films From 2013-Present.
Please get me your submissions by the 25th of July by sending them to firstname.lastname@example.org Try to think out of the box! Great choice Jordan!
Let’s see what SG thought of this movie:
I know it’s cliché to say love never dies,
Since people most certainly do.
But when someone gets that glazed look in their eyes
And some zombie virus impels them to rise
And stagger around till they meet their demise
While biting at humans who must improvise,
That love thing seems less and less true.
Yet books and their covers are often reversed.
Even if covers seem lifeless at first,
A bit of affection that’s properly nursed
Can pick up a heartbeat no more to be cursed
In places no heart ever knew.
MPAA rating: PG-13
While the idea of a zombie movie based on Romeo and Juliet conjures thoughts of Shakespeare rolling over in his grave (and maybe rising from it), Warm Bodies managed to surprise me with its balance of horror genre tropes and reasonably romantic humor. It borrows largely from other zombie flicks (unexplained civilization-ending outbreak, small band of survivors behind a wall, brain-eating, etc.), but the main difference is that the story is told largely from one zombie’s perspective.
That zombie just goes by his first initial of R (Nicholas Hoult, who finds the right nuances in his otherwise “dead”pan performance), and monologues internally about his non-life of wandering aimlessly and satisfying the occasional hunger for flesh. The antagonism between his zombie horde and the surviving humans takes the place of the Montague/Capulet blood feud that some are more dedicated to than others, such as the humans’ Colonel Grigio (John Malkovich) and the more vicious members of the undead. One day, though, during a routine attack on a routine human scavenging party, the brain R eats happens to belong to the boyfriend of Julie (Teresa Palmer), the Colonel’s daughter; brains are apparently so desirable because they transfer the human’s feelings and memories, and like her now-dead boyfriend, R finds himself awkwardly in love with Julie. Rescuing her from his undead brethren, he tries to make a connection with her and perhaps change their dystopia’s status quo in the process.
It’s no secret that I avoid horror and especially the violent category in which zombie films tend to fall. Yet the idea of a zombie apocalypse remains intriguing, and when the gore is restrained, films like World War Z can win me over. Warm Bodies also goes light on the blood and guts, as much for its rom-com appeal as for its PG-13 rating. The brain-eating, for instance, isn’t just gross for gross’ sake but more of a plot device to awaken R’s consciousness and conscience. As odd as it seems for a human to be attracted to a zombie, Julie’s transition from fear to sympathy is sufficiently gradual and aided by R’s growing sense of human identity, such as his taste in music. While horror danger is still present for Julie and R alike, the script injects some welcome droll humor to lighten the mood, like R’s panicky inner voice that proves he’s just another lovestruck guy deep down.
In contrast to the vast majority of zombie films, Warm Bodies also ends with a unique solution to both the romantic conflict and the living-vs.-dead conflict. Most seem content for a few humans either to survive to fight another day or to destroy all the zombies and prevent collateral damage, like World War Z. Warm Bodies takes the more hopeful route, one which also avoids this love story from turning into necrophilia. Zombies are so prevalent these days that new ideas for the genre seem rare, but even if the romantic angle may seem too weird for some viewers, Warm Bodies mostly succeeds in its peculiar blend of Romero and Shakespeare.
Best line: (Julie’s friend Nora) “I mean, I know it’s really hard to meet guys right now, with the apocalypse and stuff. Trust me. And, like, I know that you miss Perry. But Julie, this is just weird. Like, I wish the internet was still working so I could just look up whatever it is that’s wrong with you.”
Rank: List Runner-Up
© 2016 S. G. Liput
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