When someone says to you, “hey I just watched this great Zombie movie you should totally check it out!” You might think ugh, not another zombie movie where I see a post apocalyptic world where zombies chase the remaining humans and we struggle through more than an hour and a half of poorly developed character’s and a stream of one liners. World War Z might be one of those, but Warm Bodies just isn’t your typical Zombie movie, it’s different, it’s creative, it’s funny and it’s original and most of all it’s actually fun to watch.
Warm Bodies does have the post apocalyptic world element to it that all zombie stories naturally have but instead of focusing on the human character perspective of survival against the animalistic zombie inhabitants like in World War Z or even The Last Of Us, we instead are shown a tale from a Zombie character perspective. Naturally this change of perspective leads to a different meaning, one of a Zombie trying to find their humanity and turn from a cold flesh eating monster to a warm loving gentle human (warm body I guess).
In Warm Bodies we follow the life of R who is played by Nicholas Hoult. R is sick of his repetitive life of wandering around the airport where he lives and the lifeless world he lives in with all the other Zombies around him. For R his surroundings are as lifeless as the cold dead body he has as a Zombie. There are no emotions, no conversations, no interactions between the Zombies other than the occasional grunt or shrug. The world is cold, quiet and dead.
Everything changes for R though when he meets a girl that sparks just a bit of warmth in his heart which leads to a change towards a more human R. We then are taken through a story of R’s regaining of his humanity through his love for Julie (Teresa Palmer). R’s world slowly gets warmer and his heart grow’s warmer, more and more emotions are shown in his character R changes.
I won’t go into much more of the story from there as most of it can be grasped from the trailer’s but it’s sort of losely based off Romeo and Juliet in a way R (Romeo), Julie (Juliet). The world is broken up into 3 tier’s of character’s the zombies (R’s people), Julie human survivor’s and the Bonie’s a sort of long gone zombie beyond redemption of their humanity.
The plot and the dialogue in this movie is actually quite good and in many parts it’s pretty funny. The character’s aren’t fully serious though and the movie does lean towards more of a light hearted tone rather than action or horror for the film. That’s not to say it doesn’t have action elements contained, it does, but they aren’t the focus or the point. The main focus of this film is on the relationship between R and Julie and I think the film does well to keep the focus there.
R (Nicholas Hoult) and Julie (Teresa Palmer) I felt had great character dynamics and the dialogue between the two was good to watch. Even though R doesn’t really say much, it works. The actor’s I think were well cast and Nicholas Hoult did well to portray both the human R and the Zombie R, while Teresa Palmer also acted well in her role. The other character’s weren’t so much a focus of the film, they seemed more used to just move the plot forward such as M played by Rob Corddry. While the supporting character’s do have some character depth such as M, it’s not as developed as R’s or Teresa’s. This is a good thing because in my view it keeps the story straightforward and easy to follow allowing for a better main character story and development.
One of the things I did like about Warm Bodies was the narration. Unlike the narration in Upside Down, the narration in Warm Bodies aided a lot in the story telling and was quite impactful in terms of telling R’s story. When R (Nicholas Hoult) is narrating this story it sounds good because his character is so unable to express what he is thinking or what he would like to say but in reality his mind would like to. The narration in Warm Bodies added so much to the humanity side of R and showed what his character was capable of doing or thinking. If there was one storytelling or director choice that I would say made this film good, it was the narration.
In terms of the directing by Jonathan Levine I would say it was excellent. Warm Bodies had what I thought to be a very unique tone and not one I had seen before in the Zombie genre. But as something in this love story/sci-fi type of film like Upside down, The Host or even Twilight, Warm Bodies I think had something done right. There were good sound choices and the soundtrack was excellent.
There was also a high attention to detail to the character’s and the items in the scenes such as all the items in R’s plane that he collects when he goes places. The transitions between scenes were well done and while some might say the movie could be slow in some points I don’t really think it was. It’s not an action film so naturally the story is going to be a lot more slower than say World War Z. The special effects and the depiction of things like the Bonies was great. There wasn’t really anything that was amiss in the directing from Jonathan Levine in Warm Bodies.
Overall Warm Bodies is quite an entertaining film to watch of one’s struggle with humanity and with the Zombies of the world. Warm Bodies is funny, it’s different and unique. While it does have some similarities to Romeo and Juliet with it’s main storyline it’s not enough to notice if you didn’t know. As far as movie’s go this year I think Warm Bodies is a surprisingly good film and one of the better ones to choose from 2013. If you need something to watch this week, Warm Bodies just may be a film to check out.