Director: Jonathan Levine ‘Say something human.’ [unintelligible moaning sound] ‘Nailed it.’
R’s thoughts, Warm Bodies
When Frances and I finally had enough time to make it to the cinema, we were only cautiously optimistic. Both of us were worried that what sounded like a neat plot with witty dialogue could take a wrong turn and become a painful teenage love story. I had seen several of the trailers, and read the Wikipedia article about the book, so I thought as long as it was correctly advertised I would be able to enjoy the movie. As the lights dimmed, we waited to see if the movie would reward our hope or crush us into boredom!
The story of Warm Bodies follows the zombie R, a young adult male who can no longer remember anything more than the first letter of his name. He doesn’t know what caused a large number of the population to become zombies, and at the end of the day this is not important. Instead, he wanders around with other zombies at an old airport and wishes he could connect again, but the closest he can get is to grunt at his best friend. On a food hunt, he and the other zombies stumble across a human party attempting to get medicines for the humans who have enclosed themselves behind a wall in an old city. The humans attempt to fight but most succumb to the zombies. R is sidetracked by a blonde girl catches his eye, and he begins to feel something. As he moves closer he is distracted by a boy who shoots him, and in turn he smashes out the boys brains (to prevent him from becoming an undead). R then approaches the girl (once she is out of bullets), motioning for her to be quiet, and he puts some of his blood on her face (as camouflage for her scent), and brings her back to the airport. What follows is R becoming slowly more like a human, and the girl, Julie, slowly beginning to see that zombies can be very different from what her father, the leader of the humans, says. Can R get Julie to understand, even though he killed her boyfriend? And even if Julie could understand, can a zombie and a human be in love?
While I feel like I am not doing the movie justice, I also don’t want to give too much away. The plot was a neat twist on the classic Romeo and Juliet story, and does keep you guessing.
The thing that really sets this movie apart from all the other paranormal romances (or even action movies) is the witty dialogue. Much of the story is told through R’s internal monologues. These show not only the story but his humor in certain situations. If any of us thought it was hard to talk to our crushes, image not even being able to form the words, and having them expecting you to eat them! His thoughts mimic those of many of us, the main ones being, “Don’t be creepy,” and “Act normal.” I know that there have been times those same thoughts have gone through my head.
While the dialogue made the movie, it would have fallen flat if it had not been for the lead actor, Nicholas Hoult. He does a great job acting as a zombie, even running like a zombie (he was so dedicated to the role that he choose not to blink, since he didn’t think zombies would need to). And while he is constantly talking to us through his thoughts, he has to act without the use of words or smooth motions. Yet in his representation of R there is something so human, and undeniably awkward teenage/young adult, that I think most people can relate to him. Watching him slowly change his acting, to turn from zombie to almost human, is really incredible, and I think few actors could have done a better job.
To complement the acting and the dialogue, the use of makeup slowly shows the external transformation R is going through. It is very well done. The change is subtle but it matches the other changes that are more internal to R. Frances and I had a lot of fun pointing out the subtle changes to him.
The other strength of the story is that even though the romance is one of the main plots, there is more happening than just the romance. There are still zombie attacks and violence, and there is also revolutions, car rides, and slapstick humor. It is great because there is a little bit for everyone in this movie.
Final Verdict: A brilliant movie, with a little bit for everyone. Run and watch it NOW!