Romeo and Juliet? Pchaw! Warm Bodies= Wall-E

by - Saturday, February 02, 2013

This thing is spoiler-filled, and i thought Warm Bodies (and Wall-E for that matter) was a great little movie, so you should go see it before you read this blog. Warm Bodies is supposed to be a zom-rom-com, or a reapplication of the Romeo and Juliet story to a new genre. I can see that, though they could have skipped the lame naming business. I think the real classic story that is parroted here is Wall-E (yeah, yeah, I get that could be seen as a R and J reboot too). I think this is a more specific fit. Let me make my case, 

from www.buzzfeed.com/kmallikarjuna/pieces-of-stunning-pixar-concept-art

from litreactor.com/columns/book-vs-film-warm-bodies

They are about janky-bodied gentlemen who aren't so great talking, who hoard treasures they find on their adventures,  and who like old-fashioned media. Seriously, this movie sets up R's warm heart and charm the exact same way those Pixar genuis's pitched Wall-E. They love the things that others have discarded because they themselves have been discarded. They crave genuine connection, and therefore collect legit media fraught with real connections and sincerity, almost embarrassingly so (records and musicals?). This tactic, even on the second go round, cuts straight to my heart. This movie isn't courageous enough to be dialogue-free, but they make the self-effacing inner narrative work with the grunting.
from en.wikipedia.org/wiki/WALL-E
from www.accessatlanta.com

Both broke down dudes lives are totally changed when they meet an able-bodied, badass lady, who saves him (literally) as much as he saves her.Warm Bodies has the distinction of passing the Bechdel test. You can also see it is going out of its way to be the anti-twilight, that this girl has genuinely had some of the worst shit ever happen to her, and she is tough as hell. Not lame, contrived, faux masculine strength, but comes off as smart and strong and courageous while sitll being in touch with herself to shed a tear or two. Much like Eve, Julie is a much less janky model whose entry into the protagonists world changes everything about the world, not just the dude.
from www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/
from www.lionsgate.com/movies/warmbodies/

They are both commenting on the ways technology is uprooting connections between people (and that these connections are important)- In Wall-E, the accessibility and ease of living a technology-driven existence has turned everyone into fat, boneless, floaty people who only drink shakes and never connect with one another. They are in the most depressing state ever because they are completely alienated and inactive, and part of their heroicism is just learning how to see eachother and see the problem again. Warm Bodies opens in an airport and the current zombie existence is juxtaposed with scenes from back in the good old days where "people could connect" except everyone is staring at their own phone. The message of the film is clear- that interacting is living. And that the greatest loss of being dead is not being able to communicate or connect.

Holding hands plays an exceptionally large narrative role. Yeah, that's pretty self-explanatory.

The love between the leads creates a ripple effect that essentially saves humanity- Yeah, this happens. Points go to Wall-E because they are so busy saving the stupid boneless humans that they don't reflect much on their specialness. Warm Bodies shows their tween spirit by taking a few pauses to talk about how special they are. Yes, your hand holding miraculously revived zombie hearts (in the only inane addition of animated hearts), because goodness knows there wasn't any love in the world before. Still, they put as much energy into helping others as swooning themselves, so you can give them some credit for that. 

They are lovely in their completely irrational hopefulness about renewal and redemption- Neither of these movies are best enjoyed if you overthink the ending. So they have one plant, no muscle mass, and a planet covered in garbage- good luck to you people in Wall-E! In Warm Bodies, human affection and stethoscopes are all you need to revive zombies- also, this is just one city- are we sure we want to take down that wall before we see how everyone else is doing?? Not to mention the respective fearless leaders (both named John- Malkovich and Goodman) are kind of phoning it in. But, don't overthink it. They are both great movies and their optimism both that individuals can make a difference and that we harm ourselves, but we can also heal ourselves are part of what make them great.

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3 comments

  1. Thank you for posting this! I completely agree. I even turned to my friend in the theater and exclaimed "This is just like WALL-E!" several times while R and Julie were in the airplane. I enjoyed your more thought out analysis, and I completely agree. Both movies are great when you take them for what they are instead of over analyzing them for what they aren't.

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  2. I'm glad I'm not the only one who say this. They even reference WALL-E in Warm Bodies with the bobblehead dog which appears in both films. WALL-E is my favorite movie of all time which I think is why I loved Warm Bodies so much.

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