Friday, October 24, 2014

Reel talk

Warning: the following article may contain disturbing content pertaining to undead corpses, apocalyptic plague and hunger for living human flesh.

Sound like the precursor to another generic zombie movie? Well, think again.

Though blood-encrusted, brain-eating zombies hardly seem to be the most promising premise for a romantic comedy, “Warm Bodies” manages to be surprisingly entertaining and touching. Clever and original, this zombie movie subverts traditional genre convention.

For once, viewers are taken in a different direction and offered a perspective from the zombie’s point of view. Infused with wry, witty satire and exceptionally clever interior monologue, this film will quickly win you over.

If I were to rate this movie based solely on morality, the review would drop in points. Though it received a PG-13 rating by professionals, and therefore gained Liberty approval, there is significant language and a borderline suggestive scene where the female lead undresses.

However, as most have come to accept, Hollywood ratings and movie glamor are never genuine, factual truths. Watch the movie for its entertainment value, and the ratings quickly soar. With a guarded heart and conscious mind, it is possible to be in the world but not of it.

Directed by Jonathan Levine as an adaptation of Isaac Marion’s bestselling novel, the unconventional movie attempts to simultaneously incorporate romance and mortality.

The screenplay features none-too-subtle echoes of Shakespeare’s tale of woe, Romeo and Juliet. From the name of the main characters, “R” and Julie, to the use of an inevitable balcony scene, great consideration was taken to perfect the splicing of star-crossed romance and zombie action.

The setting of the story is in a post-apocalyptic world where humans and zombies dare not intermingle. The human race is struggling on the brink of extinction, with increasing numbers converting to the undead population.

As our hero and narrator soon comes to prove, however, not all infected and zombified humans are as mindless as they seem. Though gruesome and foul in appearance, somewhere beneath his gray, flaky skin lies a heart that beats with young love — even if that heart happens to be stiff with rigor mortis.

In a generation of films and television shows where the human girl falls for the not-so-human boy routine has been done before, “Warm Bodies” remains curiously moving amid the nearly endless parade of vampires, werewolves and ghosts.

As a female who has never been an enthusiast of the “Twilight” saga and will most likely never be able to work up the courage to watch “Dawn of the Dead,” I found that I was pleasantly able to sit through “Warm Bodies” with minimal grimaces of horror. As for the male audience, I think you will find that this movie injects much-needed life into the predominantly mushy Nicholas Sparks romance genre.

In the end, the premise of this movie is a tad creepy, not to mention that the mere presence of the walking dead goes against all that we as Christians believe in. We should be wary and remember that acceptance by the world does not automatically mean acceptance by our personal convictions.

Christians tread a fine line when we begin to accept basic principles that the Bible has clearly warned against. The normalization of the living dead and the convoluted sense of afterlife that zombie movies portray are dangerous if we allow them to desensitize our beliefs and standards. Disregard the fact that the afterlife is consumed with devouring brains, however, and we arrive at a modern, nifty spin on a classic love story.

Julie can feel protected in the arms of her idealized — though moderately decayed — knight, who proves to be both gentleman and protector through his kindness and faithfulness. Meanwhile, “R” can find sanity in his otherwise meaningless world as Julie begins to love and accept him.

Is this a little too perfect of an ending? Perhaps. But it would not very well be a romantic comedy without a happy ending where the power of true and sacrificial love conquers all, now would it?

Moral of the story: hope and kindness can be just as contagious as an apocalyptic plague.

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