Zombie movies to this point have been action movies, horror movies, even comedies but with the release of Warm Bodies we can add romance movies to that list. Guess we should have seen this coming after all the Twilight movies that took iconic horror characters, vampires and werewolves, and had them fall irrationally head-over-heels in love with a human. Well unlike the Twilight movies, at least Warm Bodies recognizes the fact that it is a comedy.
A brief introduction to the plot of Warm Bodies is as follows: A zombie simply named R (Nicholas Hoult) has been a zombie for he does not know how long and neither does he know how he become one or a life before being a zombie for that matter. On a hunt for food R and other zombies stumble upon a group of teenagers gathering medical supplies for the few still living in militaristic seclusion. While eating the brains of one of his victims he has a vision (the memory of the victim) and falls in love with Julie (the victim’s girlfriend). R rescues Julie (Teresa Palmer) from an attack and takes her to his new home, an airplane decorated in music memorabilia. This spawns a journey that slowly makes R become human again. Click here for the trailer.
Hands down the best thing about Warm Bodies is in the writing. R’s narrative both for storytelling purposes as well as comedic relief made the movie as enjoyable as it was. Since he cannot verbally communicate, his thoughts offer some interesting insight to the mind of a zombie. Wandering aimlessly around at snail pace with nothing to care about other than when his next meal will be, explaining the differences between his breed of zombie versus the boney’s, and wanting to say/do the right thing to impress a girl he just met was done with a lot of wit which I appreciated. I just wish the romance has been as cleverly written.
If you have read my Safety Not Guaranteed review you know that romantic comedies are not my favorite genre simply because a lot of them are over the top “romantic.” What I mean by that is the ninety percent of the time they are too lovie-dovie and sappy. Warm Bodies straddles the line of having a sappy/cheesy beginning. R sees Julie and his heart gives a single beat of potential life. Initially it came off more lustful than love which a lot of movies fall victim to. R lusted for Julie when he knew nothing about her but that changes as he got to know her later by eating more of her boyfriend’s brain (clever concept by the way). By the way it bothered me a little when I thought she was completely in love with her boyfriend Perry but does not dwell on him for long on his death. This illustrated a character flaw I found in Julie.
Julie I found to be difficult to like. I completely see how R could have lusted for her since Teresa Palmer is a pretty lady. But the fact that she was not hung up on the boyfriend she loved being eaten alive foreshadowed a decision she makes later. The part I am talking about is when Julie and R had broken in the suburban home and Julie invites R to sleep upstairs with her but tells him not to look as she changes out of her wet clothes. Naturally he cannot help but look even though as a member of the living dead I doubt he would have been able to get it up. Then the next morning she ditches! Next we see Julie confessing to her friend that she regretted leaving him but takes him in when he shows up outside her window. Two questions popped in my head (1) why did that not creep her hell out? And (2) how could R want to pursue her after she had led him on like that? It made little sense to me.
Maybe the reason I feel that way is I felt bad for R was because he was played brilliantly by Nicholas Hoult. You saw on the outside he was like any other zombie but the inner dialogue and subtle facial tics showed he was doing his best to change what was left of life in his body. Other than him most of the actors could have been easily replace. Not to say they did a poor job but it was nothing special. Palmer was a much better love interest than Kristen Stewart but I don’t think she brought anything to her character that other actresses could not have. Sadly I felt the same way about John Malkovich as her military leader father. The movie was a horror/comedy and Malkovich has proven how funny or scary he can be depending on the role but he did neither in his role. He was just stern and stubborn, a waste of his talent. I should also note Rob Corddry and Analeigh Tiption were solid in their roles as the friends that questioned the legitimacy of the protagonists love but did their best to support it.
My final thoughts on Warm Bodies are that it is worth a watch simply for Nicholas Hoult and the witty take on the zombie way of life. I was not completely sold on the zombie romance of that love concurs all and brings them slowly back to life but it has its cute moments. I give Warm Bodies a 6/10.