I think it’s pretty obvious now that we here at Nerdophiles are pretty big fans of Warm Bodies. Therese and I have been lucky enough to get the opportunity to see it not once but twice since December – well before it’s release in theaters this Friday. Waiting to tell you guys just how cute this movie is for that long has been agonizing. Seriously. Agonizing.
Even the people I do tell seem to be skeptical. Day in and day out I have to listen to my roommate complain about the idea of a zombie romance and talk begrudingly about having to see it but making it clear he doesn’t expect to like it. I mean, I was skeptical, too.
It’s such a good movie.
I know, I know. You’re probably thinking, “Sam, are you freakin’ crazy. This is like… necrophelia or something. Didn’t you say that yourself in a post back in November? C’mon. Stop screwing around with us now.” It’s true. Even I bemoaned the plot of this film and the romance between Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer’s characters. I mean, i was rightfully worried something was going to happen between them while he was dead. I was concerned!
So what changed my mind?
It’s just a really well done movie. It’s well casted. The dialogue is great. Even R’s first person narraration – which I was iffy about throughout the book – was just the right amount of quirky fun the film needed.
I mean, don’t get me wrong. The premise of the film is kind of dark. It’s billed as something of a zombie romantic pseudo-comedy but don’t let that have you overlook the fact that this is a dystopian film set in a zombie apocalypse and humanity is on its last leg. The people you love are trying to eat you.
Plus, when the zombies get too far gone, they turn into skeletal things that can run at break neck speeds. More on that later.
The film starts with an introspective R – deceased and rotting – wondering about his general lot in life. He’s a zombie. He doesn’t remember who he was before he was a zombie. Everyone around him are also zombies. And – save for his buddy M (Rob Corddry pictured above) – no one else seems to really think like him to any degree. Even with M the best he can hope for is some grunted attempts at conversations that don’t really say anything.
And then he meets Julie.
Actually, while out hunting in a group he runs across Julie’s band of survivors out hunting for medical supplies to take home to humanity’s little last ditch settlement. Then he sort of eats her boyfriend’s brains. Because SURPRISE! When zombies eat brains they get little flashes of the memories of the people they eat. (At least R does – we don’t really learn if every zombie does.)
But he totally falls in love with her before that. It’s love at first sight.
Realizing that Julie is still alive – and knowing her name because he just chowed down on her boyfriend’s brains – R helps her ‘escape’ by rubbing some old oozing something from his body on to her face to hide her human scent. Then, instead of leaving her behind and letting her sneak away home like the friend of hers that survives the attack by pulling a body in front of her, he takes her back home with him to a zombie riddled airport.
I mean, you can’t really blame the guy. He’s lonely. And he’s a zombie. He knows not what he does.
R just wants someone to talk to and who can help him feel just a little bit human. Plus, he kind of wants to try and woo her. He brings along a little bit of Julie’s boyfriend’s brains so he can try and find out a bit more about her. Which, you know, is exactly how you get to know a girl better.
Initially, Julie has no idea what the hell is going on and pretty much expects to be eaten. Even though she realizes that R doesn’t intend to eat her, she does try a couple ill-fated attempts at escape. After which she accepts that she can’t leave right away and starts to bond with the super weird talking zombie.
The time Julie spends with R shows her that he is different than other zombies and makes her wonder if maybe the zombies aren’t really all bad. Maybe there are some out there who can change. Except she knows that her father and the other humans wouldn’t believe that. She once again tries to sneak away while R isn’t looking and nearly gets herself killed before R agrees to take her home. With the help of M, the two escape and start to head back.
Meanwhile, back at the airport, R’s attempts to save Julie and the efforts he goes through to protect her are having an unexpected effect on some of the other zombies…
Ultimately, Julie goes home and R dejectedly starts back to the airport. But things have changed. The world has suddenly become a very different place. Because Julie knows that zombies can change and R remembers what it means to love.
Together, they are changing things.
I know. I know. It sounds cheesy. It is kind of cheesy. But it doesn’t matter.
You just have to trust me on this one. Seriously. I don’t like stupid little hokey romances. I never have. And for some reason I find the onslaught of cookie cutter supernatural romances to be the worst. If I could burn every copy of Twilight or just hint of it’s existence – books, films, fanfiction, creepy felt fan-made vampire wombs.
Warm Bodies is different. It’s cheesy in a good way. Jonathan Levine is a really great writer and director. He knows how to balance violence and comedy, cheesy romance and reality. You’re not going to go into this film disappointed.
Sure, it changes up some aspects of zombie lore. It changes up quite a few things, actually. But who cares? Who said zombie movies had to follow a specific formula? Enjoy the film for what it is and don’t get caught up on what it’s not.
This is easily one of my top films for the year. I’d say ‘so far’ but I don’t think that will change. It’s in the Top Ten no matter what else I see this year. Which basically means I am already putting this on par with Iron Man 3, Star Trek Into Darkness, Man of Steel, etc. It’s a good movie. It’s cute. It’s the kind of movie you can enjoy and also take your girlfriend to see without having to worry about her being like “ERMAGHERD ZOMBIES WHY AREN’T WE SEEING THE NOTEBOOK 2?” (Assuming your girlfriend is the stereotypical girlfriend everyone complains about but usually doesn’t actually exist.)
See this movie.