Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Warm Bodies [A Fat Jesus Movie Review]

I love zombie movies and it's probably my favorite sub-genre of horror. From the original (and remake) of Dawn of the Dead to comedy inspired ones like Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, I'm a fan of zombies. I can agree with people who criticize that the zombie genre is over-done, but if you find the right movie, zombies can bring life to a good flick. There are a ton of bad zombie films lately. So going into one that turns the genre into a rom-com, well, it had me apprehensive. But Warm Bodies is a breath of fresh air to what can be a very "zombie" genre.

Warm Bodies follows the story of a zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult). Since the zombie apocalypse R spends his days pondering about his new life as a zombie while wandering around an airport. He lives in abandoned airplane and even has a friend, M (Rob Corddry). One day, he leads a pack, very slowly, in search for food. R and the rest of the zombies crave human brains, and when they eat brains they get the memories of who they eat. The pack runs into a group led by Perry Kelvin and Julie Grigio (Dave Franco and Teresa Palmer) with their friend Nora (Analeigh Tipton) with them too. They are sent out to scavenge for supplies from the leader, Colonel Girgio (John Malkovich), Julie's father, as they now live in a walled of city. R sees Julie and is strangely attracted to her. Perry shoots R in the chest, which prompts him to attack and eat Perry's brain. This only makes his infatuation grow and R rescues Julie from the rest of the horde and takes her back to his airplane. R could be regaining his once human form, and in this wasteland, Julie may be his unlikely cure.

I really liked this movie and it all started with the way they portrayed R as a zombie. They kept him zombie-like (obviously), but gave him an inner monologue. Which turned out to be a great addition to this movie. R was funny when it needed to be and got to the point when R needed to as well. From explaining what happened to the earth to start out the film, to thoughts and information about his emotions throughout, R was made perfectly. Hats of to Nicholas Hoult for his portrayal as well. More of that to come though. The character development was more or less limited to R and Julie (to an extent Perry). But that's really all you needed in this movie. Julie and R's relationship is the meat of this movie. Even with R not having much out-loud speaking, the gestures (and grunts) by R combined with the intuitive nature of Julie, make this relationship work. With the more subconscious development going to Perry as R remembers Perry's memories. The story is pretty original, and kinda gooey (in more than one sense of the word). But this is still a completely standard romantic comedy. Julie loses Perry, is "saved" by R, she leaves R and then they a reunited in the end. It's even got the teen-esque "father forbidding the relationship" story-line we've seen in a ton rom-coms over the years.

Johnathan Levine did a great job in directing this film and the scenes were done well. Zombies look, well like zombies. With the blood and gore, while scaled back, looking good on-screen. I liked his previous two films in The Wackness and 50/50 but this is still his weakest of his three latest. His screenplay adaptation of the book, by Issac Marion, leaves something to be desired. Everything was done well, but this is full of unnecessary stuff. There were a lot of times I felt myself bored and just wanting the story to continue. This isn't a long movie, but you don't want it to feel like a long movie either. But that's another one of the problems that occurs here. The movie is brought back by the acting of Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer. The on-screen chemistry between the two is great. Nicholas Hoult, in both acting and the voice-over thoughts, gives the strongest performance of the movie. Teresa Palmer also gives the love interest a little bit of spice as she does well as the lead actress in this. Rob Corddry was a great supporting comedy role and Dave Franco was good as the deceased ex-boyfriend. John Malkovich was a good protective leader with Analiegh Tipton filling in as Teresa's best friend well enough. The acting, while not outstanding aside from Nicholas Hoult, could've done a way worse job in a movie like this.

This is the first real toss-up for me this year I think. While Warm Bodies leaves a lot to be desired, it's a fresh take on the stale genre. With good to great performances by the the entire cast, this is crippled by unnecessary stuff littered throughout. I think it was made for guys who wanted to go on a date night. The zombies, action and violence keep the guys involved, while letting the ladies get into the emotional parts of the movie. Overgeneralization here, I know, forgive me. This has a lot funny moments as well as a good story. It think if you can get into this early, it'll carry over to the rest of the film. But if you're like me at all, a lot of the dragging stuff will leave you wanting to be a zombie yourself.

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