February 2, 2013 by Matt Spencer
With young adult literature adaptations being all the rage these days and studios snatching up books left and right, Warm Bodies seems like the perfect fodder for a surefire hit from the studio that brought us the The Twilight Saga. I mean, it’s got everything in the formula that draws people to these books: an unlikely relationship, young love being tested under extreme circumstances, and oh yeah . . . ZOMBIES!
The unlikely protagonist of the film is “R” (Nicholas Hoult from X-Men: First Class), a zombie unlike any other you’ve met. For one thing, he’s got an inner conscience and monologue more akin to Ferris Bueller, and at the end of the day he goes home to his airplane where he listens to vinyl records. Well, one day R meets the very much alive Julie (Teresa Palmer from I Am Number Four) and becomes smitten after an encounter with Julie’s boyfriend (Dave Franco from 21 Jump Street). From that point on, a bond begins to grow between the two that not only has a profound impact on R, but everyone around him as well.
Now let’s be real here; this is a zombie love story. That is the central premise of the film, and if you’re at all a zombie purist, you probably won’t like this film. I was a little doubtful myself going into the film. I mean, a zombie falling in love with a human? Come on! However, the film does a pretty good job of setting up the plausibility of this circumstance, and Hoult and Palmer do an equally good job of building the relationship between R and Julie. Since this isn’t your typical romance movie, their reactions and feelings seemed pretty spot on, and by the end of the film I bought into the relationship even though there were times where it definitely seemed creepy.
However, it’s not all love and romance. If anything, Warm Bodies is more of a romantic comedy with zombies, so there is human-on-zombie and zombie-on-zombie action. In fact, the film introduces us to a second type of zombie: fleshless skeletons called “bonies.” What separates bonies from regular zombies? Bonies are basically zombies that have gone crazy, are pretty mean, have ripped off all their own flesh, and attack anything with a heartbeat. In the film regular zombies are played by real life actors while bonies are all done through visual effects. While I liked the idea and difference between these two zombie species, you could totally tell the bonies were computer creations and not that believable. Despite this, I got where the filmmakers were going with this as the bonies did provide an obstacle (and action sequences) for both the regular zombies and humans.
If you’re looking for a perfect date movie, you might find it in Warm Bodies. It’s got hunky Nicholas Hoult with a pretty decent love story for the girls, and you have zombies and action for the guys. It’s also got some good humor that I’m sure both parties will find laughs in. Not only is R’s inner monologue hilarious and awkward, but R’s zombie friend M (Rob Corddry from Hot Tub Time Machine) delivers some great one-liners as well.
On the whole I was entertained by Warm Bodies, but at the end of the day it didn’t do all that much for me. While the story is cute and funny, there’s nothing really outstanding about it, any of the performances from the cast, or even the visuals in the film. The biggest thing going for the film is that it challenges the audience to believe that a relationship can develop between a human and a zombie, which I give credit to the story. However, I didn’t feel there was too much more there than that. Warm Bodies gets 3 out of 5 stars.