Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies, Zombie

Director:Jonathan Levine
Writers:Jonathan Levine (screenplay), Isaac Marion (novel)

Nicholas Hoult … R
Teresa Palmer … Julie
Analeigh Tipton … Nora
Rob Corddry … M
Dave Franco … Perry
John Malkovich … Grigio

Imagine being 17 and trying to talk your parents into spending their Sunday night trekking out to the theater to watch a Zombie movie? My dad was an easy-sell, my mom required a bit of convincing, principally centered around the unspoken countdown of the number of weekends remaining till I head off to college. That said, I still had to assure her that this was a film that deviated dramatically from her expectation of “Flesh-Eating gore” and the resulting sleepless nights.

Walking into the theater to see “Warm Bodies” I realized there were a zillion ways it could have been crap, yet here I am giving it 4 stars. Wow. I can’t believe it, but “I kinda love this movie.” It had a cast of incredibly likable characters and both the lead, Nicholas Hoult (“R”) and his best friend, played by Rob Corddry (“M” Marcus.) were absolutely phenomenal. The writing was solid, I laughed in every scene, when reviewing a Zombie movie it is critical to state that the comedy was by design. A film with Zombies that make us laugh is not that novel, but wit and introspection is not what one expects from walking, feeding corpses.

The film opens with “R” wandering around an airport that he, and hundreds like him, call home. The images fit neatly into our expectations, but his thoughts, that we hear via voice-over quickly set this film apart from any other in this genre. “R” confides in us that he doesn’t remember how he became a zombie or why he ended up at this airport. What confuses him more is his vague realization that he is somehow “Different” because he can’t help but want more than a life searching for food. The writing is clever and helps us instantly fall in love with this character.
The director’s Jonathan Levine screenplay, adapted from Isaac Marion’s novel, quickly dispenses with any need to fall into the trap of trying to explain how this zombie apocalypse arose.

We do learn that there are the Zombies, and the remaining population walled off for their protection. Julie (Teresa Palmer) is the daughter of Grigio (Malkovich), the head of the resistance. Julie heads out with a small group of friends, outside the safe zone to salvage needed drugs. While in a lab gathering the needed meds, Julie and her friends are attacked by “R.” and a hungry group of zombies. The first time “R” sees Julie, his thoughts are of love not food. When Perry, Julie’s boyfriend shoots R he attacks and kills him, eating his brain, and thereby experiencing so of his memories. For those that are turned off by gore, you can look away, as “R” himself suggests; but in truth, Levine intentionally keeps the graphic violence turned way down.Teresa Palmer

Julie, desperate not to be eaten throws a knife into “R’s” chest with little effect. but rather than eat her, He saves her by rubbing blood over her face to convince the other zombies that she is one of them. Julie walks as part of the pack, back to the airport, and into the plane filled with items collected, that “R’ calls home. It is here when we have some of the strangest juxtapositions; Julie is terrified of being eaten, while R is trying desperately to win her love. It is clear that she is “Wakening” something inside of him. In truth, the actress Teresa Palmer could awake “Something” inside any teenage boy.

It seems that this “Awaking” is infectious, as we watch the zombie “M” understand that his friend cares for this warm body, Julie and even recognizes her as something other than food. However there are a class of zombies, called “Bonies” that are so far gone that they have no hope of ever feeling, and who become hunters of the zombies seeking to return to life. I will stop my synopsis here; so as not to give away more plot than necessary.

The bad effects of the “Bonies” didn’t bother me, and I loved that it was so clearly based off Romeo & Juliet (R & Julie; M=Mercurio; Perry=Paris; Nora the Nurse=the nurse). In fact the film even goes is far as to include a terrace scene.

Overall though, the excellent comedy and brilliant take on the Zombie genre won me over. This is a film would be enjoyed by many that would never dream of paying money to see a zombie movie. And boys, don’t worry, it’s not Twlight, it’s very different and much, much better.

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2 Responses to Warm Bodies

  1. Pingback: Warm Bodies « cinemashadow

  2. cinemashadow says:

    Best movie of the “New Year” (but then again, they seldom release an Oscar contender this time of year).
    It was quirky and fun, and surprisingly well written.

    Larry L.

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