Review: Warm Bodies

WARM BODIES

The zombie movie’s popularity continues with the latest entry in the genre with writer/director Jonathan Levine’s romantic comedy, Warm Bodies.  This Romeo & Juliet-esque story, set in an apocalyptic zombie world, at least tries to do something a little different within the well-worn zombie genre.  Based on the novel by Isaac Marion, the film centers on a zombie boy, named R (Nicholas Hoult), who falls for a human girl, Julie (Teresa Palmer).  As he gets to know her (after he abducts her), his growing affection for her jump starts his heart and causes him to cure his zombie affliction.

While there were aspects that I liked in Warm Bodies, I had a bit of a hard time buying into the romantic story presented in the film.  I felt that the plot developments were simply a matter of convenience more times than not.  The basis of the whole movie rests on R taking Julie against her will to his home at the airport after attacking her group of friends and killing her boyfriend.  This kicks off the two characters getting to know one another.  The problem I have with this is that, in the context of the film, it doesn’t make much sense as to why Julie even went along with R to his home.  She wasn’t bound and gagged, she was perfectly mobile and could run away at any time but she acts as his hostage.  I realize that she may have been intimidated by being slightly outnumbered but I’m sorry, if you are being attacked by zombies, you run away or lock yourself somewhere they can’t get to you or find a weapon to kill them with, you don’t just decide to go for a walk with them.  On top of that, I had a harder time taking a leap of faith that Julie would so easily drop her guard and get to know a zombie, even if it speaks.  That being said, a lot of the humor in the film is derived from the fact that the dating/courting process in the story is with a zombie which puts a funny spin on the awkward boy meets cute girl tropes.  Like when R keeps telling himself to not look like a creep but his hope is undercut by his already creepy dead exterior.

Another aspect of the film that I felt was a little foggy were the zombies themselves.  A lot of the fault there lies with the film’s lack of adherence to any defined rules (if there are any) within the universe the story exists in.  At first, the zombies in the film appear to be slow Romero-like zombies but then can be found running not long after they’ve been established as painfully slow.  The running aspect may or may not be something the zombies start to do as they begin to change into something more human, though that isn’t really all that well established in the movie.  Then there are the “bonies,” which are decimated zombies that appear to be a little more primal.  Despite their disappearing skin and musculature (they look like skeletons), they are somehow faster and more deadly than the more freshly undead zombies.  The bonies also seem to be able to see people despite not having eyes to see with.  I know it may seem a bit nitpicky to say this when dealing with a story that couldn’t happen to begin with but, even in a fantastical story, there must be some rules established so that there is a sense of reality to it.

The cast are all pretty good with Nicholas Hoult portraying a thoughtful zombie with some fun subtlety and Teresa Palmer doing a fine enough job as the distressed love interest.  Rob Corddry steals the show each time he’s on screen, often providing some of the funnier laughs in the film.  John Malkovich shows up as Julie’s father but doesn’t really have all that much to work with as his character exists to serve the plot more than anything else.

There isn’t much in terms of gore in this PG-13 film so genre fans may be slightly disappointed there.  However, Warm Bodies isn’t really targeted to zombie movie fans so much as it is seemingly targeted to the teenage crowd looking for more supernatural romance.  Director Jonathan Levine elevates the material for certain but the movie feels like it kind of trips over itself at times and doesn’t quite fully recover.  Despite all of this, there is still some fun to be had with the movie and there will definitely be moments of laughter.  Warm Bodies is flawed entertainment and your enjoyment may be more based on what inconsistencies you are willing to forgive and whether or not you can believe that love can cure the zombie epidemic.

by Ben McBride

Warm Bodies poster

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2 Comments on “Review: Warm Bodies”

  1. Tim The Film Guy January 31, 2013 at 4:35 pm #

    I dont like it when films are aimed at teenagers, they’re the worst haha 😀

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  1. Surprise. Surprise. Warm Bodies is not as bad as it could’ve been. | nediunedited - February 23, 2013

    […] Review: Warm Bodies (themonsterpopcorn.com) […]

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