Commentary

February 8, 2013

Fly Over: ‘Warm Bodies’, ‘DmC: Devil May Cry’

In theaters:

Warm-Bodies

‘Warm Bodies’

Zombies are so misunderstood

I’ll be honest, I groaned (pun intended) when I first heard about the new zombie-romantic comedy film, “Warm Bodies.” While I wasn’t in-line with those claiming Hollywood is trying to do to zombies what they did to vampires, I thought it made for kind of a stupid premise. How can you make a love story out something that’s brain-dead? Well, “Warm Bodies” admittedly makes a decent attempt at this, though with its share of problems.
The film follows R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie who falls in love with a living girl named Julia (Teresa Palmer) after eating her boyfriend. In order to protect her, R brings her to his makeshift home at an airport, where the two slowly begin to bond and R starts to gain some of his humanity back. The zombies and the humans do not approve of their relationship, however, and the two have to prove to everyone that it is indeed becoming possible for the both sides to live together.
Those planning for the inevitable zombie apocalypse will definitely have a problem sympathizing with the walking corpses in “Warm Bodies.” The audience is told that the zombies take no pleasure in killing and eating humans. They have to in order to survive. And yet, we see R and his zombie friends grin eagerly when they first smell human flesh. In general, the story doesn’t do much to deprogram my response to shoot a zombie first and ask questions later. Granted, though, I probably wouldn’t shoot R, as the film does a good job in showing his transformation.
I also really want to complain about the reason why zombies can suddenly start feeling human emotions, but I was able to suspend my disbelief long enough to let it slide. As odd as it is, it’s actually kind of funny.
R, in fact, is probably the best aspect of this film, thanks mostly to Nicholas Hoult’s performance. There’s a nice contrast between his inner-monologues (which sound normal) and his gasping zombie-talk, and he’s an overall nice person (eating human flesh aside). I can’t really say the same for Teresa Palmer’s performance as Julia, though, as there were many times her personality annoyed me. Maybe most of it had to do with the writing, but there were some line deliveries from her that just didn’t sound natural. Everyone else did an OK job, Rod Corddry was funny as R’s zombie friend M, but some actors like John Malkovich just didn’t seem all that involved with their characters.
Die-hard fans of the zombie genre are going to hate some of the “zombie rules” that are bent around to fit the storyline. Aside from being able to run (which I personally like, but there have been some frighteningly heated debates online), it apparently only takes a smudge of zombie blood on a person to make them “blend in” with the horde. It just doesn’t make sense how that small amount would overcome the rest of the person’s scent, but despite this to make it even worse the movie claims that “corpses don’t bleed.” However, I very much liked the explanation as to why zombies eat brains, and in all honesty even the great zombie movies don’t follow every rule exactly.
As for the special effects in the film, much of the computer generated images just didn’t look like they were physically there. For example, the bonies (skeletal zombies) look creepy, but they just don’t have any weight to them.
While “Warm Bodies” will undoubtedly cause more arguments from zombie fans, the film did make an OK attempt at doing something different with the genre and others will find it enjoyable. That still doesn’t mean I’m going to scrap my zombie plan, though.
This film is rated PG-13.

 
…..and in game stores

DmC_box_art

‘DmC: Devil May Cry’

Devil hunter Dante returns in another great addition to the acclaimed series, “Devil May Cry.” Wait, maybe “returns” isn’t the right word since it’s actually a complete franchise reboot.
In 2010, Capcom riled up part of their fan base by announcing that they were releasing another Devil May Cry game. The outcry was for the change in character design and story. Well, fans of the series can relax. You will be happy to know they have done a great job. It was released Jan. 15 and 19 for the Playstation 3 and Xbox 360, respectively and Jan. 25 for Microsoft Windows.
Developed by Ninja Theory, the company that introduced the new Ninja Gaiden series, and published by Capcom, DmC puts the player in control of Dante, a young man who has supernatural powers. The game is set in Limbo City, a contemporary city that seems altogether unremarkable but is secretly controlled by powerful demons and transforms into a twisted alternate parody of itself. Simply called Limbo, the demons and other nightmarish creatures delight in attempting to end Dante’s life. Average humans are unaware of Limbo’s existence. While in Limbo, the city itself also tries to kill Dante, changing its shape to hinder his progress, outright crush him or make him fall into oblivion.
The player begins the game playing as Dante after he wakes from a liquor-fueled night in his trailer on a pier. A girl is banging at his door, telling him he’s in trouble, that he’s been careless and “they” have found him. Dante is then dragged into Limbo. The girl, a psychic named Kat who is able to see him in Limbo, guides him through the pier while a Hunter demon chases him. In pursuit of Dante, the Hunter causes all sorts of damage which reflects in the human dimension, including making a Ferris wheel come lose and roll down the pier. Finally, Dante confronts the Hunter in a battle that ends with the Hunter dead but his last words calling Dante the “Son of Sparda” leave him confused.
Speaking of battles, the battle system in DmC retains the series’ great qualities. Dante starts armed with his sword, Rebellion, and his twin pistols, Ebony and Ivory, but get more weapons as the game progresses. Combat involves the player attempting to defeat enemies and doing so as “stylishly” as possible with the weapons and skills available. Combining various moves, a player can build combos without taking any damage, which otherwise would drop the “Style” rating. Controlling Dante is smooth and going from enemy to enemy is a breeze. Still, the enemy A.I. will catch you off guard, rarely allowing a moment’s respite in battle and never attacking just one at a time.
Dubbed as a reboot of the franchise, DmC acknowledges the changes to the game. The major change was the design of Dante directed by Capcom. His original character was designed from a Japanese perspective while this one is from a Western perspective. His character’s overall personality and flare are still present, although a little more subdued.
All in all, the game is very well done. While the fights can seem to become repetitive, often turning into a button mash session, the monster design is very original and the concept of the world and game are spot on. It suffers from the same problem the whole series does; it’s short; but it has great replay value.
I enjoyed the breathing of new life into familiar characters and the introduction of new ones. While the game is not shy with letting you know why it earned its “M” rating, I don’t feel it’s overdone. It is dark, gritty, nasty, and sets a great mood for the game. For new fans of the series, this is a great place to start. For old-school fans, keep an open mind, and dive right in. It won’t take long until you find yourself loving the new versions of the characters as well.




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