Warm Bodies Review
Zombies, vampires, werewolves and evil ghosts have survived over the years due to reinterpretation. Artists from different media outlets think of unique and creative ways to revive these archetypes. That is the reason why these monsters show up so much over the years. If they cannot survive through reinterpretation, they cannot survive period. Each pop culture icon is the exact same way. I own "Batman: The Movie," and Tim Burtion's "Batman" and "Batman Returns" as well as Christopher Nolan's "Dark Knight" trilogy. "Batman: The Movie" gives us Batman in a campy, fun way. Tim Burton gave us Batman in a dark yet slick way. And Christopher Nolan gave us Batman in a gritty, realistic way. I own those films because I think they successfully showcase everything you can do with the Caped Crusader.
Zombies have to survive in the same way. In this day in age, its not enough to just make zombies funny. Zombies in comedy is not a new idea. This is exactly what I thought was coming with "Warm Bodies," and I am pleasantly surprised that is not the case. "Warm Bodies" is definitely funny, but there is action, there is drama and yes there is romance. I was completely blindsided by how powerful the romance really was.
We follow the zombie R (Nicholas Hoult) as he drifts through an airport. He tells us in several voice-overs that he no longer remembers his name nor how the world got like it did. He spends his time walking around the airport, grumbling to his friend M (Rob Corddry) and eating humans. These are very clever monologues which give zombie films a new voice. The fun play on the mechanics which make up zombie films is hilarious. R and other zombies go out for a human meal, when R meets Julie (Teresa Palmer) he instantly feels some kind of bond with her, so he takes her to his home in an landed aircraft.
Julie is initially worried, because she might get eaten by R. She is wondering if her gong-ho, zombie-killer father (John Malkovich) will come and find her. But eventually, in a very fun and strange way, the two bond with each other. Not only that, but they teach the other zombies to bond too. The zombies realize they are all missing something, even if they can't comprehend what that is. They begin to feel again, they begin to dream again, they begin to remember. What "Warm Bodies" does so well is it puts a new spin on the zombie itself. Usually in this kind of movie, the zombies are a mindless, killing horde. We always forget that zombies were people first, THEN undead monsters. They were people with lives, other people mattered to them. "Warm Bodies" sheds light on this fact in a very heartfelt way.
Julie and R plan to go warn Julie's father of these new behaviors of the zombies. There is also still a threat that looms on the humans and the zombies alike...called Bonies. Bonies are zombies that have reached the last level of zombification. A zombie begins to rip its skin off and becomes a complete skeleton, and there is no turning back to normalcy. This is when the movie gets really bonkers in a big, fun way. The big fight at the end is so full of glee, it left a big Cheshire Cat grin on my face.
I have liked both Nicholas Hoult and Rob Corddry for awhile now, and they do not disappoint in this movie. They have a tough job of delivering characters entirely out of making faces, grumbling, mumbling and voice-overs. And I got to say, they both do incredible work. Teresa Palmer is also very good as Julie, making her funny beats and emotional beats land on the perfect key. Palmer and Hoult have very good chemistry together, making the audience believe in the absurdity of the premise. I found their romantic scenes to be incredibly emotional, and I was pleased with what these actors could pull off. Malkovich does not have a super huge part, but he does what he can with what is given, and it is memorable. Dave Franco shows up as the ex-boyfriend of Julie. I have been a huge fan of little Franco, and he doesn't leave a long-lasting sensation in this film. I just don't get much out of his performances, but his character isn't in this too much of the time. Julie's best friend is played by Analeigh Tipton, and her character is sadly characterless. She's a cute girl and I think she has talent in their somewhere, I just wish the script had more for her character to do.
The film plays pretty predictable throughout, but you will have such a ball on this ride that you will not care. If you are still feeling the disappointment from "World War Z," I highly recommend checking this movie out, as well as "V/H/S/2," neither zombie movie alike. "Warm Bodies" in particular is bold proof that our favorite walking dead hordes still have quite a bit of mileage left in them.
FINAL GRADE: A-