Wow. This whole post may be a sign of just how much time I have on my hands. HBO is currently showing (and showing and showing) “Warm Bodies.” It was something that my teenage daughter and her friends initially wanted to see in theaters, but we ended up watching something else, “Man of Steel,” I believe.
I have now seen this a few times. All of the adults I know told me not to watch it, because it was just horrible. I’ve watched it because daytime TV is such a desert, unless you’re into soap operas, talk shows, game shows, and judge and court whatever shows. I am a fan of none of the above. I also do not have a small child, so all of the kiddie shows are out, too. Some of them are just awful.
See, I am currently unemployed, and usually have no time to vegetate in front of the “boob tube.” But shortly before I was “let go” at work, I had signed up with Comcast Xfinity for limited basic cable and internet that came with HBO, mainly because I was sick of the slow DSL service I was paying a fortune for and a broken OTA HDTV antenna. I wanted to be human again, and watch the news and TV shows the same day they air. I still haven’t managed to do that, yet. I spent several years watching the shows on-line after they aired. I don’t know when anything is on! Of course, I can do the Hulu, still, but that kind of defeats the purpose of signing up for the cable.
Anyway, I’m rambling. Sorry! I do that often.
Edit: Revisiting this on 9/4 /2014, as I watch it again, revising and editing for publication
I’ve been told that I notice things other people don’t, but I can’t be the only person to notice these things.
- The zombies mindlessly traveling in packs because, as “R” put it, it’s easier to do things that way. Thinking and feeling require too much effort.
- The lack of interaction between most of the zombies, as they go about their lives (after-lives?) all wrapped up in their own problems in their own heads.
- How zombie-ism is spread by isolation from mainstream humanity, lack of love and/or interaction, and of course, being bitten by a zombie and contracting the virus.
- How some of the zombies, too far gone in their self-involvement and symbolized as only bones and no longer resembling humans, become predators, attacking other zombies.
- The zombies are more focused on surviving, continuing in their mindless state, even as they lose more connection to their formally human side (unless they munch brains, and get their victims’ memories) and try to avoid attacks from the bony zombies.
- Later in the movie, as the zombies interact with each other and find a common cause, their hearts start beating again, and they start reverting to humans again, even if they don’t make it all the way back, the shift is undeniable.
- The humans, formally focused on killing zombies (now obviously a symbol for outcasts), attempt to reconnect to the zombies to help restore their humanity, instead of pushing more people away and leaving them to become zombies.
So, how do I see this movie? That may be harder to explain, but bear with me. I hope to make you understand. I do not know if how I see it is how it was intended, though.
Let’ see, there’s R’s regret for eating the boy, well after he ate the victim’s brains and obtained the memories contained within, and the spark of love/hope/life stirring within to start reversing death as the girl, Julie, interacts with R and he struggles to regain such human abilities as speaking and caring for others. There is the girl seeing someone worth rescuing from total death/isolation, if she can remind R of his former humanity and bring it back. What I see is that outcasts can be saved by simple human interaction and love, attempting to reach those that are too wrapped up in their own problems to realize they are part of the human race. If these outcasts become too far gone, they are unable to find their humanity to reconnect, having lost all hope, and instead, attack others to be more like them, because misery demands company as much as happiness does. By attacking those that are already low and weak, you can make them like you.
The herd mentality, well, it’s just everywhere you look now anyway, isn’t it? It’s rare that anyone thinks for themselves anymore. How often do you see people spout propaganda and misinformation and swear it to be true, just because someone said it very loudly, and other people they know surrounded them and brought them into that herd? What I see in my mind in this scenario is sheep running around and being barked at by dogs or people or frightened by horses into getting back with the rest of the group. Escaping the herd is most certainly a no-no, and once you are branded, that’s where you belong. Period. The bony ones would be the sheep that have been in the herd so long as to have no mind or hope left of leaving said herd, and recruit others, by force, if necessary, but also when hope is too far gone, the sheep almost voluntarily join the “lost cause” herd, because they see no other alternative.
Please remember before you call mental health professionals, that I already told you I see some things differently than others do. I’m sure you now understand why I chose that particular movie poster for this movie, because it partially makes my point, which is why I wonder if I’m seeing what was intended, or something else.
When Julie uses R to get what she wants, taking advantage of him and ultimately rejecting him, and he shuffles off lamenting that things never change, so why did he try, and that it’s easier not to feel then to try to alter the status quo. However, because hope is just as contagious as indifference, R and the changed zombies instead band together to make changes for the better for their group, and try to reach others. The girl, realizing that she helped to revive the zombies, attempts to recruit other humans to reach out to more of the zombies to reverse their infection, and to help restore humanity to the world, this proving that shifting from a self-centered society and “survival of the fittest” mentality can work wonders
I’ve felt the stings of rejection and dejection more times than I can count, and that may be why I feel like I am an outcast, and identify with the zombies in this movie. When it seems no one has a genuine desire to connect with you, it’s easy to retreat into yourself, to not reach out and try to connect to the rest of humanity for fear of rejection, especially if there is a history of rebuffs. Hope is a strong force, but once it’s lost, it seems hard to recover, to regain hope. There is a spiral into self-pity and despair that is so hard to climb out of, because it is a slippery slide instead of a staircase. When you’re trying to come out of the spiral, or climb up that slope, it’s easier if you still have at least a small spark of life, love, or hope.
Of course, this movie has a happy ending, and scores of zombies are brought back to live by human interaction and love. The analogy for that is obviously that if we stop looking at ourselves so much, and start looking at other people and find those that are drowning in despair or hopelessness and help them out of it, the world will be a better place for everyone.
So what exactly are the zombies infected with? I think the answer is hopelessness and disinterest and disengagement, but it may also be despair, or these other things turn into despair and depression. When you engage with someone, or become less self-absorbed and self-interested and interact with others, and help to lift others out of those murky waters into the fresh air, you can change lives. If that is the intended message, I hope more people receive it, whether or not they liked the movie.