Film Review – Warm Bodies
To the living, breathing people of the planet Earth:
As a race, your kind has made great strides throughout history. From technology to the arts, humans have proven numerous times how special their capabilities can be. We see them becoming far more progressive—accepting others for their differences, and even encouraging them to be unique. You have a come a far way from your past, and there is no doubt you will continue to move forward into the future. But with that said, there is a group that you have consistently and negatively fought against. A group that has been given no opportunity to show their worth, despite the fact that they have plenty of it. You have judged this group before knowing who they are, to the point where the very sight of them fills you with anxiety and fear.
We are talking about us: The Zombies.
Yes, we The Zombies have been shoved into a harsh spotlight all throughout time. In all forms of pop culture, humans have fought and killed us without hesitation. Do we have signs around our necks that say, “Go Ahead, Kill Me”? Of course not! But we cannot count the times where the living blasted us without thinking how it makes us feel. When we lumber towards you, groaning with arms stretched out, do you ever stop to think that maybe we want to give you a handshake? Shuffling about endlessly is a tedious routine—sometimes seeing a person alive gives us a nice, uplifting feeling. Okay, yes, there is that little issue about ripping your bodies apart and eating your brains, but that’s a necessary evil. It’s not like we feel good about it!
Take, for example, the curious case of R (Nicholas Hoult) in writer/director Jonathan Levine’s Warm Bodies. R is like any other young person: lonely, shy, a bit awkward, and bored with his surroundings. It’s merely a technicality that he is one of the walking dead. R spends his time moping about the airport, where he has made his home inside one of the abandoned airplanes. The highlight of his day is having a conversation with his closest friend, M (Rob Corddry). When we say “conversation,” we mean a series of grunts and moans that can sometimes sound like words if you strain your ears hard enough.
R’s world gets flipped upside down when he meets Julie (Teresa Palmer). Julie is a living person, part of a survival group that blocked themselves into a small portion of the city. On a run to fetch medicine outside their walls, her group gets ambushed by R and his friends (this scene may make us look a tad bit bad, but stick with us here). For the first time in his afterlife, R notices a change within himself. He does not have a desire to eat Julie; instead, he wants to help her. Going against the stereotype the mass media has fed you, R tries to keep Julie safe from others, in hopes of creating a bond and possibly even developing a relationship. However, this attempt will be challenged in the form of Julie’s militant father, General Grigio (John Malkovich). General Grigio hasn’t had the best history with our kind, and would shoot R in an instant if they were ever to meet.
Take this film as a testament that Zombies can be good people. The story (written by Levine, adapted from the novel by Isaac Marion) sheds a unique light on us, including our ability to relive people’s memories after we eat their brains. As R grows closer to Julie, he becomes more human-like, with hints of actual emotions. This could possibly lead to a cure for the zombie disease. Some of us can actually grow personalities, and in regards to M, be scene-stealingly funny as well. If there were a group to be hated on, it would be the “Bonies,” badly-rendered CGI zombies that have rotted away to be skeleton-like monsters. If you’re going to kill anyone, kill them! They are mindless beasts that no longer have the ability to differentiate between right and wrong.
Warm Bodies is an olive branch in hopes for a mutual peace between the living and the dead. Take this “Romeo and Juliet” story as a sign that there is hope for both sides: that we may possibly return to our former selves, and that you can accept us for who we are, disintegrating corpses and all. Let R’s experience be the starting point. His story is one of love and hope in the face of already existent doom. There are plenty of laughs to be shared, with a nice touch of heart mixed in as well. This is not your typical zombie movie, and that is good thing. It bends the rules to allow something sweet to rise to the surface. It is not too late, Humans! We do not have to all end up as Bonies; as long as we help each other, there is a chance! Let that chance begin now!
Final Grade: B+
Also, be sure to check out our interview with writer Isaac Marion.