Warm Bodies – 4/5 – Movie Reviews by Ry!

warm bodiesWarm Bodies – 4/5 – Zombie films, or to say Zombie anything, is everywhere in our main stream media.  Every generation has there fad, and Zombies are again, the new fad.  When it comes to films about zombies, there are a plethora of them, dating back to the early eras of cinema.  In every incarnation, there has always been the basic premise of ‘post apocalyptic’ or ‘survival’ tone in these films.  Every once in a while, a film comes along that likes to add some other kind of twist to make it seem ‘different’.  For Warm Bodies, the twist that is implemented not only helps the movie be strong, but also gives the film depth and intrigue.  Overall, Warm Bodies is a surprising film that will show you that even clichéd elements can still have new life.

Premise: After an unusual Zombie, named R, saves Julie from an attack, they begin to form a relationship.  This relationship begins to set in motion a sequence of events that might transform the entire lifeless world.

When it comes to the acting, the focus is on the main zombie, R, and the girl, Julie.  In the role of the zombie R, Nicholas Hoult provides a great, complex character.  Throughout the film, you watch as he goes from being just a mindless zombie and shows elements of being an actual human being.  From his subtle interactions and his ‘trying’ to feel with his music collection, you know he isn’t the usual zombie.  This process of humanity in him is gradual, and Hoult invokes this with grace and subtlety.  He interprets a feeling of what it would be like for a zombie to become human again.  From the stuttering, to the warmth he feels inside his dark heart; to when he finally finds real emotions, thought and ability to decipher situations helps add to his growth.  In giving humility to something that is usually wooden and dull, Hoult provides believability along with heart for the character R.  For the complementary love interest for R, we have Julie.  Julie is played by Teresa Palmer.  In this role, she gives someone who is pure and innocence, but is also smart and well versed in this world.  When she is saved by R, you witness her ideas of zombies changing along with the transformation of R.  This feeling of change helps the chemistry develop between the two of them.  This helps add intrigue and sincerity to the relationship, bringing a bond that the audience can see and feel as being real.  When it comes to the side characters, the most staunch and recognizable names are Rob Corddry and John Malkovich.  The former plays R’s best zombie friend M, and Malkovich plays the father of Julie and the leader of the resistance.   Corddry helps provide some comic relief to the zombie role, as you watch the same transformation in him as R.  Malkovich does alright in his role, but isn’t really strong or provide the same complexity that he does in most roles.  I felt that Malkovich casting was more for his recognizable name then his acting chops.  This was a miscast in my opinion, but it didn’t hinder the films strengths.

The direction of the film has the elements of a traditional linear love story, but with the added zombie infested world, with a twist.  That twist in the story is that the love from a human has an effect on zombies, which helps them to become alive again.  You watch this transformation develop strongly along the linear path of the love story.  This helps both strings intertwine well, and provides a simple tone with the emotions of the film.  Along this path, you have some shots at the typical habits of zombies in the beginning, when the director uses the cliché factors of clumsiness and there vicious reactions (initially) when humans are around.  Once we move to the second act, the clichés fade with the transformation, helping add a dimension to the ‘typical zombie’.  This added layer helps bring another different kind of charm to the film, and helps you bond even closer to the characters, as well as cheer for R’s return to humanity.  Once we get to the climax, you have many convienent plot devices.  These particular devices bring the zombies and humans together, to fight for a cause, and helps break from the linearity, dragging the film to an abrupt conclusion. Even for these rushed elements, by the end you still feel that you got a different take on a typical fad in the film industry.

The visuals aren’t the greatest, but the ‘post apocalyptic’ world is created well, and brings neutrality to all that is happening.  The deserted areas, rundown buildings, as well as dark and dreary color elements add to the typical ideal of the ‘doom and gloom’ type scenario.  Along with this, you have the normal look for zombies from any other film or TV show.  The score in the film does provide a spark to the film.  This spark is created by the ‘light hearted’ feeling the lyrics and music adds.  This brings irony to the situation of ‘death and gloom’, and adds another element of warmth to the characters and film.

Overall, Warm Bodies is a fun, charming film with a twist to the typical zombie fad.  With the additional of a love story, we get a very fun film that is both witty and entertaining.  There are many common clichéd moments, and simple designs to zombies and the world around them, but overall, you won’t be disappointed.  I’d recommend a good film to see with friends, and possibly a good date film for you couples out there.

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