Sunday, February 10, 2013

Warm Bodies: A Witty Zombie-Human Love Affair

             Have you ever heard of the phrase, “There’s life after death.”? Apparently it’s true or that’s how the film Warm Bodies put it. Everyone’s past the vampire-human-werewolf love affair because that’s so mainstream. As we’re nearing the apocalyptic era, the spotlight’s on zombies now. Thus, it’s the perfect time for a new take on the whole zombie thing.
            Others would still say that the zombie theme has been used and every possible twists has been done over and over and over again. But fear not for the death of the zombie genre because Jonathan Levine (The Wackness, 50/50) prepared a romance-comedy film based on the debut novel of Isaac Marion.
            Some say it’s another Twilight film. Some say it’s Twilight done better. Although they have a different set of characters they basically have the same star-crossed lovers, Rome and Juliet feel. As to the film being better than Twilight I would say it is. But setting the comparisons aside here’s what I have to say about the film.

              Well-plotted is the very term I would use to describe the film. I like how it did not focus much on how R, the main character, became a zombie and how the world reached its destruction. It rather focused on the development of the love story between the zombie and human and tried its best to make it believable. It’s a bit cheesy as well since a zombie who was looking for brains found the heart of a girl and made his dead heart beat once more. Unlike other zombie films, Warm Bodies present zombies still having a part of their humanity inside them and that it only waits to be triggered. That is the essence of the film- the dead can be brought to life through affection and yes, love. It may sound cliché but the story makes you want to sit in front of the big screen and see how the story would end. Another big factor that made the film stick to one’s brain is its sense of humor. All the punch lines are executed perfectly and even the simple acts of the characters (like the groaning/murmuring of conversing zombies) will crack you up. Plus the narration of R, in his perspective, is definitely humorous as well.
           The film, although comprising of only a few characters, was made big by the actors. Nicholas Hoult (X Men: First Class) is laudable for his portrayal of the zombie R. The funny thing is that he only has few lines (because he doesn’t talk that much) but I found his acting superb. It’s as if he really is a zombie who’s got more brains than the usual zombie. He may still be that hunchbacked scuffling groaning zombie but he’s the zombie who, at back of his head, knows that there’s something more beyond their abode in the airport. Teresa Palmer as Julie, on the other hand, somehow balances the affair. She may seem to be the typical damsel in distress but the she proves to be more than that. She played her role well but cannot be equated to Hoult’s. The subcharacters include Rob Corddry who plays another zombie character named M who had most of the comic lines in the film. Analeigh Tipton as Nora, the best friend of Julie, also stars in the film. And of course John Malkovich as the overbearing father of Julie and the leader of the survivors who would put a bullet straight to the head of any zombie that would come his way. The Bonies also appear in the picture. These are the zombies in the final stage of “zombification” who would haunt both living and the dead.
             Adding to the beauty of the film is its cinematography. The transition of the scenes is reflected in the film through its color palette that gives emphasis to the dull and dead scenes while the sceneries vibrantly contrast them. As the movie develops and R begins to be “undead”, the atmosphere of the film also brightens. The songs used are also well-chosen. R has this amazing collection of hit soundtracks ranging from Guns N’ Roses to Feist to The National which are fitting for every scene. The graphics used for the Bonies remind me of I Am Legend but less terrifying and startling with wee bit of gore.
               In totality, I’d say that the film is a simple one but it pulled off what it wanted to present. They did not go overboard with the plot and the effects, just enough to make one believe of the possibility that the dead can be brought to life with the power of love and a little bit of funny.

               Now say hi to R... Just R... :)