Warm Bodies Review: Too Much Heart, Not Enough BRAAAIIIINS

I got the chance to see an early screening of Warm Bodies courtesy of Regal Cinema’s rewards program, and while I’ll do my best not to spoil anything for you, I figured I’d at least let you know what I thought of it.

Warm-Bodies-Characters-Posters-warm-bodies-movie-33030930-1053-1561Let’s go over why I was excited for Warm Bodies in the first place.  Firstly, I am basically a huge fan of anything with Zombies in it (Zombieland, The Walking Dead, etc.).  Secondly, I love whimsical, highly original movies that don’t feel like a re-hash of something that’s been done many times before.  A love story featuring a zombie as the protagonist fits that bill quite nicely.  Thirdly, I really enjoyed director/writer Jonathan Levine’s last film, 50/50 with Joseph Gordon Levitt.  All things considered, I should have absolutely loved this movie.  Unfortunately, Warm Bodies stays much too safely within the bounds of Young Adult flick-dom and while it has some great moments, it never realizes its full potential.

The Plot:

warm-bodies1-542x349

Too Much

Okay, so I’m pretty aware that most people just skip this section and the more I put into it, the more risk of spoiling something for y’all.  So, for now on, I’m just going to give the IMDb plot synopsis from now on unless people object.

“After a zombie becomes involved with the girlfriend of one of his victims, their romance sets in motion a sequence of events that might transform the entire lifeless world.”

The Players

Still more expressions than Kristen Stewart

Still more expressions than Kristen Stewart

Between this, Jack the Giant Slayer, and the upcoming X-Men Prequel-Sequel, things are going pretty well for Nicholas Hoult.  Unfortunately, this is probably going to be one of his more forgettable roles.  The sad thing is, it’s not entirely his fault.  “R” has some great lines to be sure, but his character’s nature is incredibly difficult to pull off.  After all, it forces Hoult to try to bring life to an intentionally lifeless role.  I recognize that he’s supposed to be a Zombie coming to life, but instead of a zombie gaining human characteristics he comes across as a human acts sort of zombie-ish.

Still a way more believeable Love at First Sight than Les Miserables

Still a way more believable Love at First Sight than Les Miserables

He does have some surprisingly sweet scenes with Julie (Theresa Palmer), who has some decent chemistry with Hoult but ends up feeling like a photocopy of a million other young adult love interests.  Her daddy issues with General Grigio (John Malkovich) also felt very cliche and uninspired.  Even Malkovich, one of the best movie bad guys of all time, is given an incredibly flat character to work with.  I kept hoping that they would reveal his first name to be Pinot, but no such luck.

Bath Salts:  Not Even Once

Bath Salts: Not Even Once

Rob Corddry is also fun to watch as R’s Zombie best friend, M, but he’s also a bit too lively to be taken seriously as any level of Zombie.  Again, I know part of this is supposed to be changing of the Zombies back to humans through the power of love but it just wasn’t very convincing.  If you want to see Corddry in something much more enjoyable, check out the last four seasons of Children’s Hospital instead.

The Mechanics (Or Lack Thereof)

As I said above, I enjoy whimsical premises for movies and because of that I was willing to lift my usual perceptions of Zombie Mechanics.  This proved difficult, however, as Warm Bodies makes very little effort to fit in any sort of logical framework for the undead.  I know this won’t bother a lot of people, but here are some of the things that bother me.

This Poster sums up everything that's wrong with how this movie

This Poster sums up everything that’s wrong with how this movie

1.  Apparently Zombies can smell humans from far off, but if you smear some dead person’s blood on the human’s cheek they become olfactorally invisible even from up close.

2.  Once R turns back into a human, he seems to have suffered no harm from the shootings and stabbings he’d previously received

3. Make up your mind, are they running Zombies or walking Zombies?!

4. Apparently the “Bonies” are mindless undead who are also expert trackers?

5. If Zombies enjoy eating brains so much and eating a person’s brain prevents them from coming back as a Zombie, why are any people left to become Zombies after being attacked by the undead?

All of these issues would have been totally fine if the movie had gone for a more consistently fun, light-hearted approach, but most of the time it tries to take itself much too seriously for it’s own good and makes them all the more apparent.  As one last note, the movie heavily leans on it’s indie-pop soundtrack.  While this occasionally works pretty well for setting the mood of a scene it also makes it perfectly clear how specific the film’s target audience is.

Also as a final note, the Romeo and Juliet Parallelism is abound here, I couldn’t decide if that was a god thing or a bad thing but some people might enjoy it.

The Verdict:  6.0/10  Passable

+  A fun premise and some great lines delivered by R’s voiceovers

+ A surprising amount of heart through Hoult and Palmer’s Chemistry

- Logical fallacies abound (I know most people won’t care about this though)

- Goes for typical Young Adult tone rather than dark comedy

General Consensus:

Rotten Tomatoes: 80%

IMDb: 7.3/10

Metacritic: 59/100

Other Reviews:

Movie Fail Reviews: [Movie Win]

The Devils’ Advocates: 4.5/5

Mercifully Short Reviews: 8.0/10

Dan The Man Movie Reviews: 7.5/10

PG Cooper’s Movie Reviews: 7.5/10

The Code is Zeek: 3.5/5

Fogs’ Movie Reviews: B

Marcel’s Movie Reviews: 6.0/10

Fast Film Reviews: 2.5/5

Average: 7.1/10 – Good

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About r361n4

I'm a student at the University of Washington Majoring Business. I've always loved movies and my goal is to work on the financial side of the film industry. Until then though, I figure I'll spare my friends from my opinions and shout them from a digital mountaintop for anyone who's interested. After all, if a tree falls in a forest and nobody blogs about it, does it really happen?
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25 Responses to Warm Bodies Review: Too Much Heart, Not Enough BRAAAIIIINS

  1. Nick Powell says:

    I’m look forwarded to this, A LITTLE. The girlfriend read the book and loved it, but won’t stop complaining about the casting and some of the little details that changed.

    Either way, I’ll be seeing it. Hope it’s not THAT bad.

    • r361n4 says:

      It really isn’t terrible, but I was expecting it to be a little more like Zombieland and a little less like Twilight. It’s interesting being one of the first ones to review a movie like this, there aren’t any people for me to compare my opinion to yet, lol

  2. mettelray says:

    I’m looking forward for this as well and also plan to read the book before (it’s on its way to me right now) but I hope I won’t be picky with the casting and little details.
    I wish I could see it early as well, I haven’t seen a great comedy in a while.

  3. Emma says:

    Wow, I just went and saw Les Mis, which was excellent by the way, but the last few film trips I’ve noticed the trailer for Warm Bodies. I’m the total opposite to you – I usually hate zombie type films – even Shaun Of The Dead is weird to me!

    But I really like the look of this, and when it does come out I will be booking my tickets. Thanks for the review.

    • r361n4 says:

      I definitely recommend checking it out, I think my opinion would have been higher if I wasn’t so invested in the genre. I’m interested to see what you think of it.

      In any case, I loved Les Mis as well, the only parts I didn’t care for was the Cosette/Marius Love Story and one of Jean Valjean’s musical numbers later in the movie

      • Emma says:

        I will let you know what I think! I guess because I’m not avid about the zombie genre I might find it good – but who knows?
        As for Les Mis, I wasn’t that bothered by the love story either – kinda dragged on a little. And I found hugh Jackman’s singing very average overall – I know he’s an actor by trade but up against the others he was definitely a weak link! Anyway will put it in a review in the next couple of days!

  4. I`m about to start reading the book and I`m interested in seeing how this turns out. One because my best friend said that the book is a pretty good read and second because they filmed this right next to my office building and around my work area so I actually saw Teresa Palmer running around far away on the scene. Haha! I`d really like to see it turn out to be decent :)

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  6. You heartless bastard! Nah I understand always need more BRAINS!!!:D

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  8. PhenixFyre says:

    The book is, in my opinion, pretty good. From what you listed on the mechanics section, I think it would actually do you well to try to read it. It’s not very long and explains all of those questions. I want to go see it to see how it compares to the book…but to answer one of those complaints, it’s supposed to be some of R’s blood wiped on her, so that she seems to be dead. And I’m not sure how to explain it, but it’s described as them smelling, but also as them sensing a humans life force. Kinda hard to describe. XD

    • r361n4 says:

      lol, yeah the book did not do a good job of explaining that AT ALL. Sort of like how the comics apparently explain why zombie blood splatter doesn’t infect you in the Walking Dead but biting does…

      • PhenixFyre says:

        Yeah, books and comics are just able to explain that kind of thing better XD
        Also, the way they’re converted to new zombies is that a human can be bitten (and then the zombie is killed or distracted) or a person can die naturally and will then become one, which is why they “debrain” someone when they die, they can no longer turn into a zombie. (In the book, R accidentally creates a new zombie because a security guard tries to attack him and is bitten.)
        And when the zombies begin to turn human is when they can run
        And I believe that R “heals” when he starts to become human again, but the wounds aren’t supposed to completely go away, at least, not in the book. It just says that he begins to bleed.

      • r361n4 says:

        Interesting, thanks for explaining that! I think I actually would like the book, I’m glad it sets some sort of explanation for these things

  9. Mark Hobin says:

    Your “The Mechanics (Or Lack Thereof)” is great because it points out a lot of the illogicalities of the film. Normally I would say, just suspend disbelief, but I mean why even make him a zombie if he’s not even going to act like a zombie. I think it all boil down to the fact that this is nothing more than your standard issue generic rom-com where someone decided, “hey vampires have been overdone and zombies are really hot right now what with The Walking Dead so….”

    You nailed it.

    • r361n4 says:

      Thanks :) I just read your review, we’re definitely on the same page with this one. It’s intentionally light-hearted but I feel like it could have been so much more. It has been interesting to hear from people who have actually read the book though, there were a lot of “logical fallacies” that apparently were at least sort of explained in the book itself

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  11. Karen says:

    My eighteen-year-old niece texted me last night just as my shift at DISH was ending because she was so excited about watching this. Warm Bodies may cater to a certain audience, but I’ll still give it a chance. I found that I can add it to my Blockbuster @Home queue that I have set up through DISH. I like that they always let me add titles that are still in theaters to my queue because it saves me from having to watch a movie over the heads of kissing teenagers – lol!

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