So Valentine’s Day is coming. For us single people, it’s the worst day of the year and we just want to pretend it doesn’t exist. For the couples, it means an extra special date night. Or maybe just a movie. Now I have recently come to the conclusion that Nicholas Sparks will never go hungry again because of the success that came with the Notebook. Like most people my age, I saw this movie when it came out, and hell I even read the book. Both made me sob like I normally do, and then it was a hit. Because of this hit, they’ve come out with countless other Sparks adaptations and Sparks inspired stories. They all start to blend in the memory. In fact, if you google Nicholas Sparks right now, on the left hand side you’ll see the posters of his books-to-movies, see anything familiar about them? So with Message in a Bottle, A Walk to Remember, the Notebook, the Last Song, Dear John, the Lucky One, the Vow (Wasn’t Sparks, but definitely billed towards that audience) and now Safe Haven, people will once again be lining up for his tear jerker movies.

However, I’m here to convince you to watch Warm Bodies instead.

If you have already seen the movie, you will either agree with me completely, or scoff and praise Sparks for his ability to clear my sinuses and contacts at the same time. Sam recently wrote up a great review on the movie, and I’m here to promote it more. If you think I’m bashing Sparks movies, you’re wrong. Contrary to Sam’s opinion, I do like hokey romances. I love romance movies, and anything related to the genre. I just don’t think that they target the same audience as they should for Valentine’s Day. If you’re seeing a movie with your date on V-Day, don’t you want to see something you both will enjoy? And in my experience, guys normally don’t want to go see a sobby movie that is all drama and emotions. Warm Bodies combines the best of both worlds.

The first obvious reason why a couple would choose not to watch this movie is because it’s a zombie movie. Not the most romantic. Zombie love story doesn’t exactly compute for some people, and a cookie cutter story guarantees what it bills. But look at it this way: Warm Bodies is a Shakespeare adaptation. And Shakespeare totally trumphs Sparks in the romance department. Technically the correct term is it’s recycled Shakespeare, meaning it takes a story we already know and recreates it in a modern twist (this is actually a literary term, yay for using my Shakespeare class for good). And they do a great job.

We all know the story of Romeo and Juliet, and I will admit after watching the movie I threw my hands up and proclaimed that it was Romeo and Juliet hiding (badly) in disguise. However, that is kind of the point. It’s telling us a story that we know and love, but it’s telling it in a way that we can relate. Our lives are dominated by things from the Gothic Tradition (yeah, I’m busting out all the literary guns). Shows like The Vampire Diaries, True Blood, Supernatural, movies like Twilight and Underworld; they all show an inclination towards the gothic. The classic R&J story lacks that severely. Other than the two committing suicide together, there’s nothing macabre about it. The story is mostly about two dumb kids whose rebellious love affair tears apart their two houses but repairs them in the end as well. With the dash of the macabre, the story is brought back to life for our modern audiences.

Now, I won’t lie. The connections are blindingly obvious to those who have studied Shakespeare. Julie is obviously Juliet. R is Romeo. R’s right hand man and best friend is M, aka Mercutio. Julie’s best friend Nora wishes to be a Nurse. Julie’s boyfriend is Perry, a Paris that they have definitely taken liberties on since my recollection of Paris is rather pathetic. There is a balcony scene, they run away together, it’s definitely a mirroring homage. But a good story is a good story. A tale of two hearts from two houses coming together is a winning combination that gets an applause from me. No one is dying of cancer, no one’s memory is taken away, no one is going away to war. It’s just a love story. It’s about the purest part of love, it’s ability to heal and to bring us back from figurative (or I guess in this case, literal) death.

Don’t be fooled by the label of zombie movie, this is a story about the power of love as much as the Notebook or A Walk to Remember was. It’s funny, the music is stunning, the romance is authentic, and you won’t be sobbing next to your date at the end. I’ve been around people at work who have mentioned that it’s just that weird zombie movie where he comes back to life. For non UK Skins fans, Nicholas Hoult is basically unknown. He doesn’t have Ryan Gosling’s status. Well I’m here to tell you, Hoult is endearing and cute, he plays the perfect R as well as a perfect love struck Romeo. Don’t miss out on this awesome movie! See it for Valentine’s Day! (Hell, even Beautiful Creatures would be better, in my opinion.)

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