Wednesday, July 3, 2013

Warm Bodies is a Funny, and Pleasantly Original Zombie Love Story

Warm Bodies (3 1/2 Stars out of 5 Stars)
Directed and Written by Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Wackness)
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Theresa Palmer, Nick Corddry, and John Malkovich 

The Walking Dead is the probably one of the most watched television series on the air, the show explores the dark contextual side of zombies.  The zombie trope is constant within popular culture today, from recent films like World War Z, to television series and graphic novels like the above mentioned Walking Dead.  While this trope has existed for a while its relevance has become even more prominent as many societies fear of becoming these mindless corpses.  To pose a deeper question are we already the mindless zombies within these films?

Warm Bodies explores this thought to some extent, as we follow R (Hoult), who narrates the story within his mind.  R is a zombie who eats human flesh, but longs for the days of his human side, explaining who is zombie co-hort is, former athletes, rich kids, and so on.  While on a raid to find medicine non-zombies including Julie (Palmer) search to find medicine.  R sees Julie, and in one of the most unique meet cutes, R kills her boyfriend eating his brains, but decides to save Julie because part of his human nature starts to kick in, and the two start to form a unique relationship.

Levine direct and adapts this novel to be one of the most human zombie stories ever told.  When R has consumed the brain of Julie's ex Perry (Dave Franco) he sees the story of the rise of their relationship, the death of Perry's father, and the disappearance of Perry's human nature as he works to fight for his life, and seek revenge.  R and Perry have this parallel journey, as Perry has moved toward losing his humanity on his journey to revenge, R is moving toward missing the life he had before his mindless human binging.

Levine is one of the most under rated writer/directors these days; he has taken many different stories providing a more original take on a variety of stories.  In 50/50 he provided a humorous take on the cancer battle, which was beautifully told.  Bodies is incredibly well directed, and a smart and snappy take on the impact of the way love shapes our humanity, and lack of humanity.

My only pet peeve with the film is that they never address the fact that R ate and killed Julie's ex Perry. While addressing this may have detracted from the story and could have made the film "soapier" this was an important aspect of the story.  Aside from this little plot hole, Warm Bodies is one of the best films of the first half of this year, providing a funny, and original take on zombies, which will play well within the cannon of zombie films and television series.

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