A Zombie film . . . with heart.
Swift shot: Max Brooks purists, be advised, this film will irk you from the first second, but if you take the fresh pulse to heart, and don’t overly think Warm Bodies, you will find an enjoyable film awaits. From the opening monologue of R (Nicholas Hoult), this film acknowledges it isn’t one to take seriously. Yes, it is geared towards a teenage audience, and makes for a great Date Flick, as we discussed with Hoult and co-star, Teresa Palmer, who plays Julie. Director Jonathan Levine does a good job taking what was originally a short story and fleshing out, so to speak, a decent film. So whether you are a walker, a biter, or a fighter of the recently formed Zombie Apocalypse Defense Force, this film should at least entertain you.
R, ‘lives’ (for lack of a better word) in an abandoned airport, where he spends his days wandering around aimlessly and imagining what life was like before he became dead, now undead. He can’t remember his real name, just that he thinks it started with R, so R it is. He has what humans would consider a friend in M, played brilliantly (of course) by the always on, Rob Corddry. They really only venture out of the airport whenever they get hungry.
Julie spends her days on her own ZADF of sorts, run by her father Colonel Grigio (John Malkovich) and her boyfriend, Perry (Dave Franco). Being the Colonel’s daughter, she could easily do nothing, but she chooses to venture out to grab supplies from the town. Their city, if you can call it that, is protected by a HUGE, probably 20 foot wall with a constant armed vigil in place to prevent, well, exactly what you think . . . an attack by a zombie horde.
As fate would have it, R and Julie, meet, whilst they are both venturing beyond their own walls of security. Perry doesn’t come out alive, but luckily is also not undead . . . although a piece of him is kept intact. To give that away would be giving away the best part of the film. Let’s just say there was a novel explanation of why zombies eat people.
You have to suspend some disbelief as R manages to rescue Julie from pain of death by being ripped to shreds and he brings her to his home, an empty airliner, that R has been filling up with things he has gathered over the weeks, months, years since he became undead. R is a hoarder, of memories, anything that he can hold onto from the past will hopefully keep him from becoming a ‘boney’ – which is the final, dreadful stage of zombification. The zombie literally rips his/her flesh from their bones and walks around like a Harryhausen skeleton straight out of Sinbad the Sailor! Some critics were not thrilled with the special effects of these boneys, but I think it was a nod to Ray.
Original story-writer, Isaac Marion, working with Director/Screenwriter Jonathan Levine had an interesting way of explaining how an actual romance could develop between a human and a walking corpse. I think divulging that would be giving away a bit of a spoiler, so I will just say that I enjoyed the novelty and the brains behind the whole concept of a Zombie love story.
It’s something that every good Zombie story touches on, even The Walking Dead has characters that are convinced that Zombies can “be saved.” We know the Governor’s cold heart had only one beat left, for his infected daughter, Penny. We know that this theme is always something that gnaws at the back of our heads . . . what if these walking cannibals actually DO feel something? See Warm Bodies for at least one hypothesis . . . with a predictable, yet fascinating conclusion.
While this is a zombie flick, it isn’t ONLY a zombie flick, it has tender moments, a great soundtrack and even a few laughs. If you pay attention to some of the innuendo between R and Julie, you will probably laugh quite a few times. They also touched on that in their interview with us. But, while this zombie flick does have zombies being slaughtered and humans being devoured, there is a lot more focus on the romance between the lovers. For that reason, when you see this flick, and you really should, keep an open mind and you’ll probably enjoy it quite a bit.