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Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Review

‘Warm Bodies’ lacking in gore

Ryan Funes

Published February 14th, 2013

When thinking of “love” and “romance” in movies, zombies are usually the last thing to come to mind. However, after watching “Warm Bodies,” you will definitely think twice.

"Warm Bodies" stars Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer.

“Warm Bodies” stars Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer. The movie is based on a novel by Isaac Marion.

Not much can be said of the movie’s protagonist. In fact, even he cannot say much about himself. He does not remember his name, who he was, what life he lived, only that he is a zombie now, spending his life trudging aimlessly around an airport with many others who have fallen to a zombie infection. But this zombie, who names himself R (after the letter he remembers from his original name), is different, in that he can still feel and think for himself, and he knows that he wants to stay this way, to retain what is left of his humanity before it leaves him like it did for so many other zombies.

This humanity, though, is what leads R to find a human girl named Julie who is from the last uninfected city out there, and he falls deeply in love with her. Going as far to bring her to his home, he bonds with her, and she in turn warms up to him, finding him to be one of the only decent zombies out there. Now R must protect and teach Julie, and her whole civilization as well, that even after death, love and humanity finds a way.

What struck me first when I heard about “Warm Bodies” was that it was a zombie film and romantic comedy, something that I had not heard of before. That said, I was actually pretty excited for this concept since I had not seen it before. And thankfully, this movie manages to get across that concept pretty well, but not without a few hiccups in some areas.

The unique thing about “Warm Bodies” is that is works in both ways as a zombie film and romance, but more so in the romance department. The relationship between R and Julie is very well fleshed out over the course of the movie, as we see R protect and care for Julie from the zombies in any way that he can and Julie in turn helps bring out the humanity in him by showing him fun and love. It is a really sweet relationship that by the end feels fully realized and natural.

In the zombie movie department, the film does something different in that it does not focus on the paranoia, deconstruction of society or horror of a zombie apocalypse that so many other zombie movies have done. Rather it focuses on the emotional and human side of the walking dead. The whole backstory of where this zombie apocalypse came from, and what caused it is tossed aside in favor of exploring how our deeper emotions make us living or dead inside. It also shows that these feelings are not just what keep us living life to the fullest, but what make us truly human.

With that in mind, it should also be of note that this movie lacks a lot in the gore and violence department, so fans of that side of coin may want to look elsewhere.

While the movie handles the love and romance side of it well, it falters in other areas. Despite the movie being billed as a zombie-romance-comedy, I did not find the movie to have used the comedy to its fullest. The movie does not feel like it takes full advantage of all the comedy there can be in this kind of setting and story. There were a few moments where I chuckled, but not enough to satisfy my urge for humor.

By the end though, “Warm Bodies” does right what it set out to do while adding some creativity to boot and, in my book, that makes it a movie worth anyone’s time. It’s the kind of movie that will make you feel all kinds of warm inside despite its flaws and is a definite one to watch with that special someone, whether they be girlfriend or zombie film enthusiast.

Ryan Funes is a lover of all things movie, TV, video games and stories and wants to become a television writer someday. In his spare time he enjoys hanging with friends, tapping into his imagination, and watching cartoons of all kinds.

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