I wish I was a fly on the wall when this script was pitched “Okay, we’ll do Romeo and Juliet, but with Zombies!”
I really did enjoy this movie. When story concepts evolve into genres (how Zombie/Post Apocalyptic settings now are), it’s important to have fun with the idea. Explore new avenues and change it up like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Least these genres become what is now mostly poorly looked upon action and rom com movies (see The Last Stand or Katherine Heigl).
How do you do a zombie love story? The writers smartly had what amounts to two different types of zombies. The first is the typical shuffling around type, only without the rotting flesh. Their brains still function, slightly, as they can say a few words. They lack heartbeats and don’t need to sleep. The other kind is what the first kinds eventually become, ‘bonies.’ Zombies whose flesh eventually all falls off.
The main character and narrator, who can’t quite remember his name, thinks it starts with R, sees a girl he falls in love with, Julie. He saves her and takes her back to his hideout where he has a massive record collection. Over the next week they bond and he starts to heal, slowly regaining a heartbeat and dreaming. His best friend, Marcus (or Mercutio from the original), helps R in his plight. Julie’s father (played by John Malkovich) is the leader of the last human resistance and of course hates ‘corpses.’ The other corpses see what is going on with R and Julie, and they start to come back to life as well.
Another character to note is Julie’s friend, Nora, who at one point said if the world was normal she would be a nurse (much like Juliet’s friend and confidant, the nurse).
This movie was really fun and had a few good jokes. Seeing the Romeo and Juliet comparison early on made the film a little predictable, but still enjoyable. Especially the scene where R sneaks into the human city to find Julie, and calls to her while she’s on her balcony.
There was a parallel mentioned earlier in the movie that they touched on a few other times that I wish they explored more often. In the opening narration, as R was explaining the world and his feeling about himself (using the typical backdrop of a wayward 20 something year old, not knowing what to do with his life), he tried to recall the previous world. He said the current zombie world was people mindlessly walking around, grunting, ignoring each other, not communicating. He thought how great it must have been before with everyone able to talk, enjoying life and the world around them. This last line was juxtaposed over a populated airport (where most of the movie takes place), with everyone, kids included, ignoring each other busy on their smart phones.
One last note. Apparently they could only afford about 6 broken down cars because every scene that needed one in the background always had the same handful. Same colors and everything.
What’s your favorite version of Romeo and Juliet? Suggestions for another topic? Comment or tweet!