Warm Bodies (2013) | Movie Review
Release date: February 1, 2013
Runtime: 1 hr. 37 min.
MPAA rating: PG-13
To anyone who is planning to go on a movie date in February: this is your movie. I was lucky enough to get into an advance screening of Warm Bodies this week and I had a really good time. Just as the trailer suggests, it's a romantic comedy with a zombie twist. To be honest, I was surprised to enjoy it as much as I did and I think, for something that's released early in the year, it's a decent piece of entertainment. Sure, it's silly and predictable, but it really is fun to watch.
The story is your typical Romeo and Juliet star-crossed romance. Even the characters' names are Julie and R (our zombie hero can't remember the rest of his name, but we can all guess what it stands for). In the midst of a zombie apocalypse, when a group of young people runs into a group of zombies, R saves Julie from his brain-obsessed friends. As they spend more time together, Julie starts noticing that R is changing and learning to be human again. They face the challenges of the hostile world and attempt to make a difference by listening to their feelings.Warm Bodies shows zombies as creatures who have lost connection with one another and while some are not completely "gone" yet, they are slowly deteriorating (both physically and mentally) into corpses ruled by hunger alone.
As a comedy, I thought this movie worked pretty well, choosing sarcasm and irony as its main weapons. Nicholas Hoult is convincing as a conflicted zombie R and his calm way of delivering lines gets a lot of laughs. Unfortunately, there isn't much room for him to show off his acting range - there are not that many different ways to look undead. The favorite of the audience I was a part of, however, was Rob Corddry as R's friend M. Every time he showed up on the screen we exploded with giggles. I'm not sure how I felt about Theresa Palmer as Julie. I was really distracted by the fact that she looks and acts so much like Kristen Stewart (just change the hair color) and that kind of was my main impression of her. The person I was looking forward to seeing was John Malkovich as General Grigio, Julie's father. I love his work and the creepiness he brings to all of his characters. Sadly, he doesn't get much screen time or character development in Warm Bodies, so if you're like me don't get your hopes up.
If you are one of those people who are worried about this film being a zombie version of Twilight, rest assured that it's not. While it still mainly targets a young audience, the film is more of a spoof on zombies than a story that takes having an undead boyfriend seriously. Aside from a pretty obvious romantic plot, I thought Warm Bodies was a rather unique movie (at least I haven't seen anything like it). I liked the idea of zombies being a metaphor for lack of communication and human contact: when R remembers the human world we see everyone buried in their electronic devices instead of normal human interaction. It is also clear that the state these zombies are in is a part of a process: while R and his friends retain some ability to think, he mentions that they are all on their way to becoming "bonies" - mindless and hungry, with nothing but skin over their bones. The movie remains cheerful and light for the most part (it's a comedy, after all) and there isn't nearly as much gore as one would expect from a zombie flick - in fact, there is barely any.
To me Warm Bodies looked like a perfect date movie and with Valentine's Day coming up I'm sure that's what the creators were going for. Definitely check it out if you're in the mood for a slightly wacky romantic comedy. Just because this isn't going to make the Best Films Ever Made list, it doesn't mean you won't have fun watching it.