Friday, December 14, 2012

Movie Review: Warm Bodies ( A Flick With Heart...and Brains!)

With a four hour road trip, I was fortunate enough to catch an advanced screening of Warm Bodies last night. If you follow me at all, then you already know that I've been dying to see this movie ever since I finished the brilliant book by Isaac Marion. I'm a zombie junkie, having written my own zombie book and being obsessed with The Walking Dead. I'm always on the lookout for anything unusual in the genre, like Zombieland and Shaun of the Dead. As shown in the movie trailers, the premise of Warm Bodies is based on a zombie boy somehow changing after he falls in love with a living girl. A hardcore zombie fan recently told me, "I don't know if I'm ready for the 'power of love' curing zombies," but I'm here to tell you that this story is so much more than than some sappy love story.

True to the book, Warm Bodies had a little bit of everything: comedy, heart-warming moments, action and romance. In Marion's zombie apocalypse, the dead are able to function and retain a little piece of their former selves, although they only see flashes of their old lives. Still, they can open doors and operate record players. With a little effort, they're even able to say a few words at a time. I've heard people say that they're completely turned off by this concept, but since a zombie apocalypse has never actually happened, we don't know what it would really be like. We can only pretend through the magic of writing and cinema.

The hero in our story simply goes by 'R' as he can't remember his name. He wants to connect with someone. He collects things he finds, like snow globes and vinyl records. He wants to feel human again. When out on a "hunting expedition" for food, 'R' becomes smitten with a pretty blonde girl and decides to bring her back to their hive at an abandoned airport (right after he eats a part of her boyfriend's brain and is able to glimpse into some of the couple's past experiences). The whole story is focused on this couple getting to know each other and trying to understand what is happening when 'R' begins changing for the better. This is as far as I want to go with the plot as I don't want to ruin it for others who haven't read the book and want to see the movie (but you really should read the book if you haven't).

While you may find it hard to grasp the concept that a girl could fall in love with a zombie, I remind you how so many of us were quick to believe that a girl could fall in love with a creepy vampire who seems completely repelled by her and watches her sleep at night. 'R' is nothing but sweet to Julie from the very beginning (except maybe for the part where he smeared his zombie blood on her face, but that was only to keep her from smelling like fresh meat), and becomes more and more "human like" as the story progresses. Dare I say, this was a much better love story than Twilight.

The only beef I walked away with after seeing Warm Bodies involved the music. I know it's kind of a petty thing, but I'm moved by a good soundtrack and this one just didn't cut it. And I had high hopes when The Black Keys were used for the trailers. Only one song stood out from the rest in one scene when 'R' and Julie are parting ways. Otherwise, meh. I get that some of the songs had to be old since they're being played from old records, but there are much better choices they could have used. The songs were so blah that I can't even remember off hand what they were, other than Guns and Roses's Don't Cry, which was totally appropriate for the scene.

Overall, I was not disappointed with how the story came to life on the big screen. Sure there were major parts cut out (like the marriage of 'R' to a random zombie girl and their adopted children) and the ending was altered somewhat, but the most important things, like the heart and soul of the story, were well preserved. The Boneys (creepy corpses who have deteriorated to nearly a skeletal remain and show no sign of human nature) were as terrifying as I had pictured them, the best friend to 'R' ('M') was the hilarious side kick the readers of the book had come to expect, and 'R' was every bit as likable as our narrator and guide through this unusual experience.

My 22-year-old step-daughter was my date and had not read the book. She laughed quite often along with myself and the rest of the audience (including some super annoying cacklers). After it was over, she told me with a bright smile, "That was really good!"So who should go see Warm Bodies? Zombie lovers, people who like Isaac Marion's book, hopeless romantics, anyone who likes a good laugh and anyone who can really appreciate a really moving story. I guess that covers just about everyone. On a scale of 1 to 10, I would say this movie has earned a solid 9. It was that good.

Catch it in theaters on February 1st.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Sounds like a good movie! Glad it was worth your four hour drive to see it. I'm curious to see how the writers pulled off making the romance between a zombie and a warm blood seem even remotely plausible. I thought the writers of a certain popular vampire movie did awful with the "believability" of the romance and relational dynamic. It'd be fun to compare the two.

London Cole

Post a Comment