Sunday, March 10, 2013

on zombie love as metaphor

Julie's zombie impression. "Too much," grunts R.
AK and I celebrated our seventh anniversary (which is actually March 12) yesterday with a pilgrimage to the Flatiron Truck, where I decided that crispy fried broccoli doused with ponzu sauce and flecked with bright pink pickled onions totally still counts as broccoli. Chef Timothy and Heather were celebrating the truck’s second birthday, and their daughter Skylar, who wasn’t even eating solid food the last time I saw her, was running around and demonstrating her arsenal of animal noises. Oh, time.

Year seven was hard for me, hard for AK, hard on our relationship, although not always in the ways or at the times you might think. That made food-truck dinner and a movie that much sweeter.

Warm Bodies, the movie we saw, was the sweetest I’ve seen in a long time. It’s a perfect date movie, which usually means “action for him! romance for her!”—but I just mean it made you have genuine faith in love without being too heavy. It’s a zombie movie from a zombie’s point of view, which is cleverness enough for me. I’m all for problematizing the zeitgeist’s obvious villains.

The story: Zombie R eats the brain of a human girl’s boyfriend, absorbs his memories and falls in love with her. Once she realizes he’s not going to eat her, they bond over his vinyl collection and joyride through the apocalyptic landscape in an abandoned BMW. Their star-crossed love seems doomed (she’s Julie to his R[omeo]) until a funny thing happens—by empathizing with the dead bf and holding hands with Julie, R’s dead Grinchy heart grows three sizes.

I love zombie love as metaphor: When something terrible happens to you, you become the living dead. Love is the only thing that can bring you back, but with it comes risk and pain. The alternative, though, is to become one of the “bonies,” the soul-less skeletal zombies that are too far gone to save.

There are lots of great little moments, like the well timed grunts of R’s best friend and the makeover scene during which Julie’s best friend (the underused Analeigh Tipton) puts on “Pretty Woman” and tries to apply enough blush to R’s face to make him pass for human. There’s the requisite fight scene at the end, but refreshingly, the rest of the movie isn’t just build-up to it.

Why can’t more mainstream movies be like this? Why didn’t this movie get more attention? Probably something lame having to do with the dark business side of Hollywood. Because life and Hollywood are unfair. But it’s what you have to endure to get to the charming zombie love.


Claire said...

Happy Anniversary! (early)

Cheryl said...