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The Independent Critic

STARRING
Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich, Analeigh Tipton, Dave Franco, Rob Corddry
DIRECTED BY
Jonathan Levine
SCREENPLAY
Jonathan Levine, Isaac Marion (Book)
MPAA RATING
Rated PG-13
RUNNING TIME
97 Mins.
DISTRIBUTED BY
Summit Entertainment
DVD EXTRAS
The Blu-ray and DVD extras are set to include:

  • Boy Meets, er, Doesn’t Eat Girl featurette
  • R&J featurette
  • A Little Less Dead featurette
  • Extreme Zombie Make-Over! featurette
  • A Wreck in Progress featurette
  • Bustin' Caps featurette
  • Beware of The Boneys featurette
  • Whimsical Sweetness: Teresa Palmer’s Warm Bodies Home Movies featurette
  • Zombie Acting Tips with Rob Corddry featurette
  • Audio Commentary with Director Jonathon Levine and Actors Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer
  • Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary with Screenwriter/Director Jonathan Levine
  • Shrug and Groan Gag Reel

 

 

 "Warm Bodies" a Warm & Sunny Zombie Love Story 
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Warm Bodies is the "Velveteen Rabbit" of zombie films.

In case you're wondering, that's a compliment.

An unabashedly romantic and hopeful teen flick meets zombie-lite, Warm Bodies actually brings to mind those treasured teen romantic comedies from the 80's and 90's including the ones with and without John Hughes, Chris Columbus and John Cusack involved. If you're looking for hardcore zombie scares, the PG-13 rated Warm Bodies is going to let you down. However, if you're looking for a light-hearted, breezy and rather sweet zombie flick with occasional moments of anxiety tossed in then Warm Bodies is most definitely worth your time.

The film kicks off with a rather ominous vision of a gigantic wall that obviously separates us and them, or non-infected humanity and those who were infected by a virus that destroyed a good portion of humanity.

On one side of the wall resides what's left of an uninfected humanity led by a vengeful and cartoonishly maniacal leader (John Malkovich) whose wife was one of the casualties and who now has created a paramilitary that embarks on daily raids into zombie-filled territories outside the wall. The paramilitary includes his daughter, Julie (Teresa Palmer, I Am Number Four and The Sorcerer's Apprentice), and her gung-ho boyfriend (Dave Franco - Yes, James's brother). Julie isn't quite as gung-ho as dad or her boyfriend, but seemingly goes along with it all out of a sense of family loyalty. When one such raid goes rather badly, that's when Julie meets "R."

Oh, and that brings us to the other side of the wall. The zombies are holed up inside what's left of the airport, which now could more easily be referred to as a zombified Holiday Inn of sorts. That's where R (Nicholas Hoult, About a Boy) dwells with dozens of others whose existence is pretty much the stuff of every zombie movie stereotype. R is friends of sorts with M (Rob Corddry), at least as much as two grunting zombies can be friends.

But, rest assured, that's actually quite a bit.

Now then, if I'm guessing correctly you're probably thinking to yourself "That all sounds remarkably silly."

You may be right. It may be silly. In fact, if you put too much thought into it you'll likely start picking apart the illogical and impractical elements that weave their way throughout the film.

Stop it.

Just give yourself to it and Warm Bodies will give you a really good time.

Warm Bodies is refreshingly devoid of cynicism and really doesn't play a false note throughout its 97-minute running time. This isn't a horror film. The "bonies" are the scariest thing in the film and, quite honestly, they're fairly low-grade special effects that are more entertaining than scary.

Warm Bodies is a simple and cute little love story. It truly is the "Velveteen Rabbit" of zombie films, a film where the central lesson is that love makes you real and, if we truly believe, it's never too late. I found myself laughing a lot, smiling almost constantly and, I'll even admit it, shedding a wee bit of a tear once or twice.

I'm a sucker for a good old-fashioned love story.

Nicholas Hoult is a low-key joy of a slacker as R, so named because he can't actually remember his name but he's positive it started with an R. R doesn't like being a zombie, but he's fairly resigned to it until he locks eyes with Julie, played with wide-eyed innocence and adorable believability by Teresa Palmer. As ludicrous as the story is, Palmer makes us a believer when it comes to Julie finding the beauty beneath the scars of R. Rob Corddry is a scene-stealer as M, who like R seems to still have a touch of humanity buried somewhere deep within him. Even John Malkovich, who has never met a character he can't turn into a histrionic buffoon, is surprisingly restrained and satisfying as the vengeance driven father. Finally, Analeigh Tipton (Crazy, Stupid, Love and Damsels in Distress) is a hoot as Julie's best friend and confidante.

On the down side, Dave Franco is woefully under-utilized here and, as previously noted, the dreaded "bonies," the zombies who are farthest gone and who look like they climbed out of a Gore Verbinski film, are rather weakly created and not particularly convincing. The film's music, at times so obvious that even the characters talk about it, becomes a bit overly cutesie by film's end.

But, these are minor quibbles in an otherwise enjoyable and immensely feel good film.

Warm Bodies will, indeed, warm your heart.


© Written by Richard Propes
The Independent Critic
    The Official Rating Guideline
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