Movie Review: "Warm Bodies"
- by Kazekun, 4 February 2013
What do you get when you mix bunnies, puppies, the feeling of a smile in the warm summer breeze, and flesh eating zombies that will out right kill you without a second thought… unless they suddenly have a change of heart and then fall in love with you and… you get the idea. Well if your answer was a strong first outing for cinema for 2013 and an overall damn good movie, well then you were right. Congratulations. Here’s a zombie.
Warm Bodies is brought to you by Mandeville Films and the mind of Isaac Marion, the original author of the book this movie is based on. It tells the tale of a young zombie named ‘R’, who lives probably the most ordinary zombie life there is. Seriously, he walks, grunts, walks some more and occasionally bumps into people. He has a best friend and they have almost-conversations and he thinks about how life must’ve been like before everybody turned into the walking dead.
Okay, maybe that’s not exactly ordinary, but then, what do we know? That’s what this movie sets out to prove when ‘R’ meets Julie, a young blonde with good aim and good looks. After feasting upon her boyfriend’s brain he begins to see Julie in a whole new light and it starts to turn him… human again.
What makes this story so unique is that it takes the idea that zombies can get better, and even worse, than how we are used to seeing them. If they simply ‘give up,’ as we’re told, they become ‘Bonies.’ Creatures that are too far turned and are impartial to both zombies and humans; they’re skeletons that will eat anything with a pulse and will hunt you down until they get their prey, no matter how far you run.
The film is also heavily influenced by music, with a wide array of genres featured within. And each piece fits the scene in which it is placed, but never gets in the way of the quiet moments that matter the most. The movie is scary in all the right places, as I found myself jumping like a little sissy several times (or perhaps I’m just easily frightened. Yeah, that may be it.).
But like any movie, it isn’t perfect and has some flaws. The biggest being the portrayals of how the zombies begin turning back into human. After a certain point it begins to feel forced and rushed simply to move the plot forward. We get to feel and experience with ‘R’ his long journey to recovery and it feels believable in every way; for the rest of the zombies though, not so much. The movie almost heavy hands the idea of love and acceptance being the way to cure these creatures, but if that were the case then many lives that were probably lost, due to them trying to find the love lost from their now undead lovers, were really really jipped.
In fact the movie introduces an idea at the beginning: it’s the very reason why ‘R’ begins to turn back into a human, which is actually the most interesting concept of the film. But as fast as it’s introduced, it’s gone and never heard from again. These other zombies didn’t get their feelings the same way ‘R’ did, so why would they be returning to human form? And if that’s the case, if the reason ‘R’ started changing back was due to the idea they introduced at the beginning of the movie, then why didn’t any of them begin transforming sooner, if at any point they ate a person’s lover in front of them?
It just feels like one giant deus ex machina to move the plot towards its incredibly good, but unfortunately predictable, end.
But say what I will about the plot holes, the actors in this film nail every character and scene. Nicholas Hoult, who plays ‘R,’ does a marvelous job making us believe him to be a zombie becoming human again. As we follow him on his journey, we feel every emotion he shows on scene. Teresa Palmer also gives a strong performance as Julie. When she’s scared we feel bad for her, when she’s being badass we’re rooting for her.
I couldn’t find a bad performance in this film. Well, except for Dave Franco who plays Julie’s (now dead) boyfriend Perry. He was given a very archetypical role to play, but still I just couldn’t feel anything when he was on screen. It was as if he was reading from the script with the most monotone voice possible.
Overall though, Warm Bodies boasts strong performances all around, smart writing, some great visuals and an eclectic soundtrack anyone can enjoy. It’s a great film. Take the whole family, it’s a good time and you won’t be walking out of the film disappointed.
Final Score: 4 De-Zombifying Heartbeats out of 5.