Sunday, February 3, 2013

Movie Review: "Warm Bodies"

Relationships are hard to come by. Especially when you're a zombie. R (Nicholas Hoult) is tired of the same old grind—shuffling through the deserted airport he and other zombies call home, grunting at his compatriots, and tracking down human prey when their hunger gets the best of them. He's a bit of a collector (some might say hoarder) who calls an empty airplane "home," and seeks the solace of old record albums to fill the empty space.

But R is lonely. The closest thing he has to a friend is fellow zombie M (Rob Corddry), but he wants more. And then one day, during a random attack, he meets Julie (Teresa Palmer), and he realizes that she, well, completes him. Or something like that. He saves her from being attacked by his fellow zombies and takes her back to the airport, where he promises to keep her safe, because the minute she breaks free she runs the risk of being found by the other zombies, who can, well, smell prey.

The more time Julie and R spend together, the more she realizes he's not just the dangerous killing machine she's been programmed to believe all zombies are. While she misses the walled city she has called home since whatever caused the zombie virus affected the world, she starts to question the take-no-prisoners, us-versus-them attitude her military (and militant) father (John Malkovich) has perpetuated. And R realizes he's not just a dead being destined to waste away into nothing—he starts realizing he can feel, even dream, which in turn rubs off on his fellow zombies.

Warm Bodies was one of my favorite books of 2011, and I am pleased its film adaptation was faithful and well-done. This is a bit of a zombie romantic comedy (or zom-rom-com, as I'll call it) that isn't particularly controversial or frightening; it's just sweet and funny. It's one of those movies where you find yourself rooting for the zombies instead of the humans who want to destroy them because they think it's the right thing to do.

Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class and the pursuer of Colin Firth in A Single Man) gives an enjoyable, sympathetic performance as R. He's so good-looking it takes some work to make him look like a convincingly frightening zombie, but it's still a little hard to believe this was the young boy in About a Boy years ago. In certain scenes, Teresa Palmer, whom I've never seen before, looks like a prettier and less over-it-all Kristen Stewart, and you can see why R is enamored of her kickass character. Rob Corddry does his usual humorous shtick, even as a grunting zombie, and Crazy, Stupid, Love's doe-eyed Analeigh Tipton gets some laughs as Julie's best friend.

This isn't your traditional romantic movie for Valentine's Day—looks like you have another Nichols Sparks adaptation to fill that role if you're interested—but Warm Bodies puts a sweet twist on the young couple in love. If you like your love stories more quirky than sappy, this is one for you.

1 comment:

  1. It's a zombie movie that might make you feel squishy but under completely different circumstances. Totally not expecting that in the least-bit. Nice review.