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.
Let’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.
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.”
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.
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.
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.
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
Rotten Tomatoes: 80%
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
Marcel’s Movie Reviews: 6.0/10
Fast Film Reviews: 2.5/5
Average: 7.1/10 – Good