Warm Bodies (2013)
Its summertime in America, ok not really, since large swathes of the country are still blanketed under snow, but for Hollywood its about blockbuster time.Its that time of the year when America must suffer another apocalypse, which of course means there must be a CGI-ed post apocalyptic America to gawk at, which gives the studios a raison d’être by offering us yet another spin on how America may bounce back again from the dead.The makers of this film take this notion very seriously indeed and they give us a Zombie romance where the undead become the unloved, as a tiny zombie shuffle towards redemption.
I saw a Twilight film once, (yes yes, I know), and to be honest, thought it was a perfectly entertaining film. And I totally understood the hysteria surrounding Robert Pattinson and Kristen Stewart.While watching Warm Bodies I was completely fooled into believing I was watching Ms Stewart when it fact it was Ms Teresa Palmer, her clone.Now thats a cheap trick but then who cares.Warm Bodies is another riff on the Zombie genre and tries to be cash in on the current craze for paranormal romance, just the way Beautiful Creatures recently did.I walked out of that affront of a film but this one was a little more tolerable.
We start at square one, there has been a deadly epidemic and most Americans have turned Zombies, but this time there is a class divide, some are badder, the “bonies”,erstwhile zombies, who against their better(ahem..) judgement have peeled away their unnecessary layers of skin and flesh to become lean mean killing machines.Now if you were a zombie, shuffling along slowly, seems a terrible handicap when hunting fitter humans for food, but zombies cant think, can they? Except to sniff out human flesh, and lunge for it? We will let this pass since this is a zombie film, remember? We see a zombie in a red hoodie who can’t recall much about himself except the first alphabet of his name, R (Robert Pattinson maybe?). He has delusions of grandeur, he feels he has a heart and is capable of human emotions like befriending a fellow zombie.In this mix arrives Julie( lookalike alert!) and R eats her boyfriends brains, ingests his memories in the process, which will help him hook Julie.
Julies father is Grigio (John Malkowitch) who is the leader of the last surviving group of humans, armed to the hilt , he has the whole arsenal of NRAs(whose members must have turned zombie too) legacy at his disposal, so he cant complain, and is determined to blow every zombie brain off, that he can find.That will undoubtedly pose serious problems for Julie and R when they do fall in love.What Malkotcih is doing in this film beats me, making pocket money maybe, but undoubtedly his presence is likely to sell quite a few tickets but loose him a few fans in the process.
The makeup guys get the transition of the zombies to human just right, and so do the actors. Nicholas Hoult nearly pulls of a badly written role with his disciplined performance, the same cannot be said of Mr Malkowitch and Ms Palmer.Jonathan Levine has made a mixed bag of films which showcase his ambition but unfortunately he seems more preoccupied with become a saleable director than a good one.
Warm Bodies tries to subvert the genre of zombie movies but in the process produces a film bereft of the charm required of a rom-com. The scenes between R and Julie have no chemistry and the sequences which set up their romance just do not add up to the imagination bending premise of a hot babe falling for a zombie who just killed her boyfriend. The scene where Julie reunites with her father is so devoid of emotion that it should alert us the director does not have his heart in the right place, unlike the zombies whose hearts are beginning to beat again.
Jonathan Levine, the director is certainly not dead, just hope he gets warmer.