Movie Review: “Warm Bodies”

Something I like about the cinema is, the minute you step in, you know you’re in for an experience. Whether that experience will be good or bad is subjective, but I really don’t know any other better way to describe it. For me, I have always thought about it as a spectacle. The idea of sitting in a big, dark room and knowing that, for the next one or two hours, you are not going to be interrupted. Whispers are minimal and phone calls will attract vicious, judgmental glares. The big screen is a nice added perk as well. (editor’s note: – this review was written eight years ago.)

The last film I had seen prior to Warm Bodies was The Dark Knight Rises. Whereas, with that film, I knew exactly what to expect with the third installment of talented director Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy, I did not have the faintest idea about this film. On the outskirts, it appeared like little more than a parody of Twist, which is … not good, but I went and watched because I felt like going to the movies.

Warm Bodies is a 2013 zombie comedy film based on Isaac Marion‘s novel of the same name. The film was written and directed by Jonathan Levine, who is known for his efforts on 50/50 and The Wackness. The film cast comprises itself primarily of Nicholas Hoult (of X-Men and Skins fame) and Teresa Palmer (known for The Grudge 2, The Sorcerer’s Apprentice). Other than them, you’ll likely recognize other names such as Dave Franco and Rob Corddry.

If nothing else, I am happy to say after I watched the film, Warm Bodies was not a bad parody of Twilight or anything like that. Instead, it is an interesting distortion of Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. It is about two star-crossed lovers that should not be together but find themselves inevitably intertwined.

The story revolves around a character without a name, following a zombie’s perspective, which, in itself, is a very intriguing and different idea. It is a difficult challenge to meet, but I think they did well enough. The zombie befriends a human girl named Julie, and gradually, begins to develop more human characteristics.

If there is one criticism I have of the film, it’s that the film was not funny. Which is important for a comedy film. The film has a handful of shock-value moments, but they didn’t land very well with me. That might be the biggest problem I had with the movie is that it does not have the wit to match its own ambition.

I remember after leaving the theater all I could think about was Edward Scissorhands. Then, I looked it up and discovered the main protagonist was heavily inspired by him. They both are basically mute and have to translate through their body-language. The difference is that Edward’s charm is gotten across through his obliviousness, and while the zombie (called “R” later in the film) had that, but also had the narrations to work with. I liked that. Nicholas Hoult had a solid performance, and I liked the portrayal of Julie as well.

This is not a film that will stay with you (editor’s note: – eight years later, it really hasn’t), but is a film I don’t look back at with disdain. If you approach this film as on-par with a weightier comedy, I don’t think it will hold up very well. However, if you approach it as a modest zombie comedy film, clearly made with the young-adult demographic in mind, I don’t think you’ll be disappointed by it.

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