Homefront movie
7.25 out of 10
The Hunger Games: Catching Fire movie
8.75 out of 10
Disney's Frozen movie
10.0 out of 10
Delivery Man movie
6.75 out of 10
8.25 out of 10

Saturday, December 15, 2012

Warm Bodies

Doesn't Skip A Beat

★ ★ ★ 1/2 out of 5 buckets | Matinee or DVD

Rated: PG-13 - Zombie violence and some language.
Release Date: February 1, 2012
Runtime: 1 hour 37 minutes

Director: Jonathan Levine
Jonathan Levine, based on the novel 'Warm Bodies' by Isaac Marion
Cast:  Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich, Dave Franco, Rob Corddry, Analeigh Tipton

SYNOPSIS: When a zombie named R starts to have feelings for a human named Julie, he finds himself in the strange position of finding love after death.

REVIEW: Jonathan Levine, noted director of The Wackness and 50/50, changes direction with a move into a popular but fickle subgenre known as the ZomRomCom - a zombie romantic comedy. Based on a novel written by Isaac Marion, Jonathan Levine adapts to the screen a new dead twist on a classic love story concept.
Being a zombie is a drag, literally! As your rotting corpse fails you and you can't feed you will eventually become a Boney - a skeletal shriveled walker with only the taste of human flesh ad blood. Corpses eats brains, too! But when the twenty-something dead corpse, with only the memory of the first initial of his first name R (Nicholas Hoult, X-Men: First Class), eats brains he feels conflicted about it. When young human survivor soldiers, led by Perry (Dave Franco, 21 Jump Street), venture out from behind the high walls of their safe urban city for a pharma-salvage run, they encounter a pack of corpses with a hungry R in tow. While feasting, R notices Julie (Teresa Palmer, I Am Number Four) and starts to feel something different than just hunger. He protects her from the other corpses in the pack and takes her back to his airfield home. Julie soon realizes that R is different from the other corpses. He escorts Julie back to her city, Julie trying to come up with a way to persuade her general father (John Malkovich, Transformers: Dark of the Moon) to look at R with more than just the urge to put a built in his skull.

Warm Bodies is one of those film that could have premiere CW or SyFy Channel film. But this film goes above and beyond to put together a good cast, clever story, and decent FX in order to give the zombie loving audience a cool big screen experience. There have been other well done zombie genre films that never made the big time, including cult films like 'Fido'. Warm Bodies takes advantage of the recent trend of monster romances like in The Twilight Saga to fit nicely into what is popular theater past time these days. Lucky for us, the filmgoers, 
Warm Bodies doesn't change the formula of what makes a zombie a zombie, never compromising the essence of the undead craving human flesh and soft brains.

Writer/director Levine adapts some interesting new walking dead ideas from Marion's book, like the deteriorated Boneys and the idea that a corpse can remember and even fall in love
. The corpse R shuffles around with the other walkers at the local airport, bumping off his fellow undead with stiffening limbs. But unlike most other zombie flicks where the undead are simply backdrop pieces to a human tale of survival, this film's main corpse R provides a more human internal narrative to give us insight to their inhuman condition and set the stage for sympathetic and sometimes hilarious monologues.

Part comedy, part brain-eating undead survival tale, part classic Shakepearean love story - Warm Bodies is the perfect blended ZomRomCom film for both rabid genre fans and newbies who do not want to have to hide their eyes behind their split fingers. Sure, there are a couple moments that could be frightening to some, the majority of the story is more about the relationship between a corpse who has enough of a memory to collect random knick-knacks and to play found vinyl records on a turn table in his hoarder's airplane fuselage and a human girl who has lost her boyfriend and who does not share the survivalist attitude of her military leader father.

Nicolas Hoult plays R with style and staggering grace, ever the handsome corpse. Teresa Palmer, as the lovely Julie, is not just the typical damsel in distress. She plays fear, sadness, and defiance with equal ease. Rob Corddry, as a fellow zombie and possible best friend zombie to R, trades in pink flesh for a gray pallor  - all the while not relinquishing any of his signature dry wit. And John Malkovich, as Julie's father and leader of the last bastion of humanity, brings all of his Malkovich-esque abilities to his role.

Warm Bodies entertains as a fine genre romantic comedy, offering quaint insights to the human and undead condition. This film will never be on par with Romeo's original Night of the Living Dead, but it does take zombies to the next step of acceptance by the rest of us.

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