(Yet another!) Return of the Star-Crossed Lovers

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The story of Romeo and Juliet has been done, and redone, to death (no pun intended). The Twilight franchise only served to add a new “forbidden” element intended to keep the lovers apart. This, of course, was the fact that one of the lovers was dead. This is easily rectified by turning the dull heroine into an undead creature of the night and, to cut a ridiculous story short, they all live happily ever after. Forever.

I hated Twilight. The only redeemable fact about it was that it was so stupid it was, at times, fun to laugh at its stupidity. That said, what makes Warm Bodies so different? The premise seems pretty much the same (only with zombies instead of vampires), the main characters were almost as bland as Bella and Edward, and there would appear to be no hope of the characters getting together at the end. The idea of becoming a zombie is not as appealing a vampire and, obviously, there is no way for a zombie to come back to life.

But honestly, I loved this film! It’s like director Jonathan Levine shares my appreciation for how bad Twilight is and decided to laugh along with me. Not only does it throw all the bad cliches at the audience, but it embraces the hilarity of the film’s own premise.

Nicholas Hoult’s portrayal of a zombie is an accurate tribute to the good old days when a zombie could barely move faster than a slow walk and he pulls of being brain dead to a T. However, thanks to the miracle of an internal monologue, we get a glimpse into how it feels to be a corpse – a zombie who can think. That’s new!

And his thoughts are actually entertaining. Nothing quite tops a zombie repeatedly thinking “Don’t be creepy, don’t be creepy” while he’s approaching a girl in that trademark slow zombie walk. (“God we walk slow!”)

Now on to our “herione.” I won’t insult Teresa Palmer by putting her on parr with the likes of Kirsten Stewert, because she actually wasn’t that bad. Like Bella, Julie (Palmer) seems to be surprisingly comfortable with the presence of a supernatural creature. Even weirder, she has no problem with being held captive by the flesh-and-brain-eating zombie that ate her boyfriend. Also, once she starts having feelings for said “monster” she isn’t as revolted as one would normally be. But those are the only similarites I picked up on. Otherwise, she’s a fairly enjoyable character – she can fend for herself and doesn’t constantly need to be saved (hooray for feminism).

The interaction between the two lovers progresses at a fairly consistant pace. R (Hoult) is understandably silent and awkward, but is always making an effort to communicate with the object of his desires. It was kind of cute. Julie is not a bad character; she’s got some fighting spirit in her and it’s easy to see why R likes her. But otherwise she doesn’t strike me as a memorable character.

Without giving away too much, the ending is a MASSIVE cliche! But like I said earlier, this movie embraces its own cheesiness and that’s what makes it so enjoyable. Twilight‘s failure was that it expected to be taken seriously (if only by the tweenage girls in the audience) but Warm Bodies knows better than to insult our intelligence.

So there is one question that remains in my mind; will Hollywood one day perfect the “undead lover” formula and convince us that dead is the new sexy? Dear God, I hope not!

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