Saturday, 13 July 2013

Josh: Film: Warm Bodies

2013, directed by Jonathan Levine.

WARNING: May Contain Spoilers (it does)

My main concern before watching 'Warm Bodies' was the possible similarities to the likes of the 'Twilight Saga', which I'm not so fond for a wide variety of reasons mainly concerning the poor quality of writing and acting involved. Alongside some cheesy advertising and lack of knowledge about the story itself, my only optimism revolved around the increasingly popular Nicholas Hoult as 'R'. Labelled as a paranormal romantic zombie comedy, Warm Bodies cleverly mixes these genres to provide an hour and a half of great entertainment. In no way is this film perfect, however, the way in which this absurd concept is delivered deserves some recognition.

     Set in post-apocalyptic America, R, a Corpse saves the daughter of Colonel Grigio (John Malkovich) whose soldiers are determined to kill all zombies. R thinks like a human (as depicted through a deadpan narration by Hoult) and throughout the film develops shared romantic feelings with Julie, Grigio's daughter, which seemingly spreads to the others as a cure, all against the wrath of the further deteriorated; Bonies. Admittedly, the idea of 'love saving all' is one I do not usually agree with but, within context, the idea works. Rather than produce another zombie film where the cure is some sort of medicine needed to be given out to raging undead, Warm Bodies turns it on its head. The human characteristics in the zombies themselves as well as the whole film being told from R's perspective causes audience sympathy with what is usually depicted as the atagonist. Alternatively, the murderous behaviour of the human enclave is scrutinised and the answer to the problem is not to kill the Corpses but to treat them, to love them. Conversely, though the Corpses are treated equally to the humans, the Bonies are not and this is jokingly referred to, despite this, it is understandable as they have lost all humanity and cannot be saved like the Corpses.

     Warm Bodies revitalises the zombie genre somewhat, giving us an alternative outlook on how they are not mindless creatures craving for flesh but possibly pertaining human characteristics, struggling against and hating what they are, something which is never really envisaged in any other zombie fiction. Typical zombie tropes are made humorous with genuine laugh-out-loud moments whereas new ones are introduced like the ability to experience human emotions through eating the brain. Though Warm Bodies defies some logic, the origin of the apocalypse left unexplained and Julie and R's love seemingly somehow affecting every other Corpse, the purpose of the movie is the development of Julie and R's relationship. Again, twisting an iconic concept, this time the one of a Romeo-and-Juliet-esque love story, the film sees a human and zombie falling in love. Though there was excessive use of music which lacked certain subtlety, Hoult and Teresa Palmer have excellent chemistry conveying a cute romance which doesn't venture into the extreme like its associates 'Twilight' and others.

     Infusing the zombie genre with romantic comedy significantly impacts how 'scary' or 'realistic' the zombies are, even the CGI of the Bonies is sketchy, however, their presence is not to be one of intimidation and so this impact is both necessary and acceptable. The light yet effective use of humour and the apocalyptic setting to this primarily romantic fiction is one of uniqueness and brilliance which allows Warm Bodies to be a surprisingly fantastic film. Though full of minor limitations and things which could have been improved or removed, Warm Bodies is a heartwarming piece of cinema which just falls at the last hurdle to become a cult classic.

Thanks, Josh.

1 comment:

  1. Could have been edgier and pushed-buttons more, but hey, its kind, sweet, and romantic and I guess that’s all that matters. Nice review Josh.