It’s a classic story: A boy and girl from clashing worlds meet and overcome seemingly impossible odds to save their forbidden love.
In “Warm Bodies,” one of those odds happens to be the boy’s lack of a pulse.
While this movie will not go down as one of the great films in cinematic history, “Warm Bodies” is certainly entertaining enough to keep audiences occupied and amused for 97 minutes.
The film revolves around R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie in a post-apocalyptic world who can’t shake the feeling that he is different from other zombies. R feels conflicted when he has to kill humans for food, he collects trinkets like bobble heads and snow globes while shuffling aimlessly around the rundown parts of the city taken over by zombies, he listens to 80s power ballads in his airplane-turned-bachelor pad and, most importantly, he still longs to be human and feel emotions.
One day, he and a pack of the undead come across a military trained raiding party of humans in their late teens that have crossed the barriers into zombie territory for medicine. R chows down on Perry (Dave Franco), the leader of the raiders, before looking up and falling instantly in love with Perry’s beautiful and sassy girlfriend Julie (Teresa Palmer).
From that moment on, R vows to protect Julie and keep her safe from the zombies until she can make it back to the humans’ compound. But neither R nor Julie expects what happens next: that they would grow closer during their time together and that, because of their connection, R would become more and more human along the way, changing the world as they both know it.
“Warm Bodies,” based off a novel of the same name by Isaac Marion, easily could have been a cliché venture into the realm of supernatural teen romances: The potentially life-threatening supernatural boy falls for the human girl and, to the surprise of no one, they somehow work it out in an ending that audiences can see coming from a mile away.
While “Warm Bodies” does follow this format, it is saved by a hilarious self-awareness and tongue-in-cheek attitude toward zombie romances that make the movie entertaining rather than cringe-worthy.
In one of the funniest moments of the entire movie, R and his best zombie friend M gaze awkwardly at each other for an extended period of time while groaning and grunting — typical zombie communicative behavior, R assures the audience in voiceover.
These voiceovers of R’s thoughts continue (with decreasing frequency) throughout the film, giving audiences a frequently sarcastic running commentary of his situation. Included in these thoughts are R’s hilarious internal pep talks, during which he thinks he should really try to stand up straighter, shuffle along a little bit faster, stop groaning and staring so much and, above all once he meets Julie, “don’t be creepy, don’t be creepy.”
Comedy can’t make up for everything, though, and the film is not without its problems. It often skims over important plot points. Why does R rarely need to eat throughout the entire movie when zombies’ hunger is supposedly so strong, how did the zombie apocalypse begin, how widespread are zombies and the human resistance — these are just a few questions that remain largely unanswered by the end of the movie.
Additionally, some of the special effects could be improved. The CGI at times looked cheesey, although the skeleton-esque zombies were adequately creepy. The makeup choices could also be distracting at times; the heavy use of blue eye shadows to create the bruised-eyes zombie look, for example, was disstracting enough to momentarily divert attention from the action on screen at certain points.
However, the movie has many more positive points that make it an entertaining ride. Hoult’s performance as a zombie with a conscience is so earnest and endearing that you can’t help but root for him. The soundtrack to the movie is great, and R and Julie’s best friends, M and Nora respectively, add humor and heart to the movie.
If you are willing to pay for a movie that might not be cinematic perfection but will at least be entertaining, “Warm Bodies” is not a bad way to spend an afternoon or evening.
Warm Bodies Trailer