Feb 18, 2013

[Movies] Warm Bodies (2013)

February typically means a whole slew of romance movies, down to the quite literal movie Valentine's Day, for example. And it's only proper, I suppose, since this is the month were a lot of people indulge in the celebration of love that is the Valentine's day holiday.

But this year saw a most unusual entry in the romance department - in this case the zombie romance Warm Bodies. And yes, I said zombies.

Now zombies culture have gained quite a following in recent years, especially with shows like The Walking Dead and movies like Zombieland, to cite a few examples. It's hard to explain precisely why zombies have made such a big comeback in popular culture, but they're certainly here to stay.

And I suppose a zombie-themed romantic comedy was practically inevitable. It does make for an unusual marrying genres given we typically associate zombies with the horror genre, but then again other movies have demonstrated that zombies do make for an interesting concept for comedy in general.

Synopsis: Warm Bodies is a 2013 "paranormal romance comedy" based on a novel with the same title by Isaac Marion. The movie was written and directed by Jonathan Levine, the same man behind the movie 50/50.

Our protagonist of sorts is an individually we eventually come to know as R (Nicholas Hoult), a young man who now lives the undead life of being a zombie. The movie is told from his perspective as he is able to narrate the events in his day within the confines of his mind as he shambles around the airport. He has a "best friend" of sorts named M (Rob Corddry), although they can only communicate in gasps and groans and the odd word or two. In time we follow R, M and a few other zombies as they venture into the city in search of humans to eat.

On the other hand we have Julie (Teresa Palmer), her boyfriend Perry (Dave Franco) and a few other human survivors who live in an area of the city walled off from the zombies. They venture out on a supply run where they eventually encounter R and the other zombies. But when R first sees Julie, he feels something significant - a feeling that is only strengthened after he kills her boyfriend and eat's Perry's brain. The concept in the movie is that zombies eat brains in order to experience the memories of their victims and somehow feel alive again. With zombies all around, R manages to call out to Julie, smear her in zombie guts to disguise her smell and takes her with him in order to keep her safe from the others.

It's never entirely clear why R can think to begin with, but if anything I suppose the movie just stresses that R was different from most other zombies. Plus we never get a glimpse of what the other zombies may be "thinking" and thus we can only assume R's condition is the most stable one and the others remain unknowns. Having been exposed to many different types of zombies as presented in popular fiction, the zombies in Warm Bodies certainly had unique traits including the ability to communicate with one another and limited speech. Throw in their ability to run and you certainly have a quirky mix of popular zombie traits.

So to better appreciate the movie, just accept the zombies as they are presented and try not to let other zombie concepts get in the way. Thus one just has to accept the zombie narration for the movie. Consider it feasible that he retains enough of his humanity to want to collect various items and store them in his airplane home. And of course the primary focus of his ability to fall in love. Everything hinges on that.

One of the more novel concepts here was the whole thought behind zombies experiencing the memories of their victims by eating the brains. Very few zombie stories try to explain the brain fixation and this one was a novel way to go. The importance of wanting to feel more human is central to their concept and it helps explain why emotions become the key to their salvation as well.

Hoult made for a rather endearing zombie - a testament to his continued growth as an actor, most certainly. It took me a moment to recognize him with the zombie make-up and such, but I accepted who he really was in time. And he does work decently with Palmer, although I wish that she had been a bit more emotional. Analeigh Tiptop was totally underutilized as Nora - she had some really funny lines once she was reunited with Julia, but that was all the way in the third act of the movie.

Warm Bodies is certainly an a-typical romance movie, but still a fun one. Don't expect a majorly heavy or complicated plot and instead just enjoy the ride of young love between a zombie and his meat. The movie rates 4 signs that R is actually a hipster zombie out of a possible 5.


  1. I am going to see that movie. Sounds interesting,

  2. Go for it! I totally vouch for its entertainment value, hehe