Sunday, January 15, 2017

Zombies, Mermaids, Beasts

So I think I’m writing a movie review? Sort of? At this point I’m willing to write down whatever words manage to pop into my head, so this is what we’re going with. But I promise some fairy tales, too.

Okay. I’ve wanted to watch Warm Bodies forever. Like, since it came out, so for at least three years. And I finally got around to it over Christmas. Warm Bodies, for those of you who don’t remember or never found out, is about an awkward zombie boy who falls in love with a pretty human girl, and wants to make out with her instead of eating her brain. Talk about your star-crossed love.

Zombie Boy—we call him R—kinda eats her boyfriend’s brain. Then he kinda takes her to his zombie home in the zombie-infested airport. They hang for a few days, and then he helps her get home to her family and all the other humans whose brains he hasn’t eaten yet. And throughout this entire process, he’s becoming more and more human.

The movie ends with them finding the cure for zombie-ism, which—spoiler alert!—is the power of love, naturally.

You know, I used to think the power of love was pretty cheesy as far as sci-fi/fantasy problem solving goes. And, okay, I will not be getting over The Swan Princess Christmas anytime soon. (I can’t actually find the clip I’m thinking of here, but this one generally sums up why I think the power of love is kinda cringe-worthy.)

And then, well, I decided to graduate with a paper on the transforming power of love in folk and fairy tales. So. Anyway, we’ll come back to that. Right now, we’re gonna talk about how I ended up writing about a zombie movie.

I'm watching with my brother, is the first thing. And it's late at night and we're both a little sleep deprived. So he asks, you know, rhetorically, why this zombie kid is hoarding all this random stuff like vinyl and crap. And I say he wants to be where the people are. He wants to be part of their world. And I’m just messing around, right? But he says, “He’s a zombie, Jenny, not the little mermaid,” and that’s when I realize, he totally is.

Non-human, hoarding human stuff? Check.

Without a soul? Dead, so probably check.

In love with unattainable human? Check.

Unable to speak? Check.

Guys, this is some straight up Enchanted Bride/Bridegroom stuff right here. I mean, there’s the Little Mermaid checklist. Let’s go through the steps I used in that Beauty and the Beast Paper.

Cursed because of some creepy incest crap? No backstory provided, but we’re gonna put that one down as unlikely. Oh well.

Kidnaps the crush? Check.

Sees error of his ways, gets her home again? Check.

Girl goes back for him? Technically he tracks her down again, but the feeling, on her part, is definitely there. We’ll check it.

Beast turns into cute dude? Check. With a bleeding gunshot wound to prove it.

Or, what about that bit that bothers me most, the thing I always come back to: the Beast that must seem dumb like an animal, that lost little boy trapped inside his head alone forever, never able to express himself, to make the others understand. That, I think, is R's monologue, is what drew me to him so quickly.

Okay, enough with the checklists. My point is—well. I’m not quite sure what my point is yet.  (My teachers despaired, guys. We were supposed to be all about that Socratic thinking, but I am helplessly Aristotelian. We don’t break down the main point here. We start with the small stuff, and we work our way up. And up, and up, until something starts making sense.)

Maybe the point is that the power of love can actually be powerful, that we can use it in fiction and real life. That love matters, that love can change things, that this is a reoccurring theme for a reason, and everything doesn't have to be horrifically cheesy.

Maybe the point is that you guys should watch this movie. Maybe it's that I just like the sound of my own voice. (Or the sight of my own typing, rather.) Maybe it's that R, like Disney's Beast, is actually kinda more appealing pre-transformation. I don't know, guys. I watched the movie. I made the connection. Go make your own point--my work here is done.