Tonight I saw the newly released Romeo & Julietesque romantic comedy zombie-style, Warm Bodies. Among the throngs of hormone imbalanced, emotionally unstable, kick the back of your effing seat teenagers, sat a friend and myself. Since I have not read the book, I wasn’t sure exactly what to expect other than the dry zombie wit of the main character, R (Nicholas Hoult), seen in the previews. This film definitely paid homage to Shakespeare but instead of having our star-crossed lovers submit to death as a means to show the strength of their love, R and Julie (Teresa Palmer) fight against death at every turn to bring love to all people and corpses.
Brief premise overview: zombie apocalypse has occurred; zombie R saves Julie, their love changes R (and other zombies) back into a human. The humor is well done mostly through the inner dialogue of our zombie hero but the best lines go to his friend, M (Rob Corddry). “Bitches, man.” Followed up shortly thereafter with “F#$% yeah.” Although this crude language may offend some, this is basically all of the profanity used in the film. I could ramble on about all the parallels between Romeo & Juliet and Warm Bodies but I think that’s a little too Film Studies for a review. I will, however, mention that this film had a fairly clear social commentary serving as a theme about our inability to connect, communicate, and feel in the current state of our world. We are zombies to our technology and that is how we avoid human interaction thus numbing our ability to emote. Heavy…f*$% yeah.
I have a one issue with the zombie behavior pre-heart warming changes in this film. Zombies don’t talk, ever. Although I can buy into the possibility that they could grunt out one word here and there, I don’t believe that they could spit out full sentences. There is too much intelligent dialogue between zombies, I think that if the actors were strong enough all they would need is one word and an emotive face to get their point across. I think the screenwriters (and novel writer) were a little too liberal with the zombie lines.
That being said, I appreciated the new spin on our current cultural obsession with the undead. I fancy myself a bit of a zombie expert at this point as I cover The Walking Dead for The Daily Quirk and I’ve seen all the benchmark zombie movies ever made; yet I do not believe the zombie apocalypse is coming. So, you can trust that I’m assessing this film with full zombie knowledge without all the obsession thus reasonably unbiased.
I can also report that every teenybopper within earshot loved this film. Maybe a little too much for my taste but I highly recommend it for the 14 to 18 age group. As for us adults, it is cute and funny with enough emotion for the ladies and lots of guns/violence for the men. I recommend it for a date or a night of brainless movie fun. Mmmmm…brains.