When the initial trailers for “Warm Bodies” were released, it didn’t inspire much promise. It seemed like it was being made because the studios knew that they could make a quick buck for very little effort. Fortunately, “Warm Bodies” is smart, funny, heartwarming film that will go down as one of the best comedies of 2013.
The story follows the zombie R, played by Nicholas Hoult, falling in love with a human named Julie, played by Teresa Palmer. Julie is attacked by a group of zombies, but R coats her with his blood, hiding her scent from the others. He proceeds to take her back to his home, and abandoned plane, and hide her until he feels it is safe to bring her back to the human shelter.
Julie is obviously terrified and angry at first, but begins to get closer to R as he proves he has no intention of hurting her. It is later revealed that R is becoming more human the more he spends time and falls in love with Julie, and it may be possible for R and Julie to change all of the zombies back into humans, but they need Julie to get back to the human shelter.
If this plot summary was presented to any critic who hadn’t seen the movie, it would be laughed at and mocked. However, due to the effort put into the movie by the creative team, the story actually works really well and is thoroughly enjoyable.
It has enough suspense to keep the audience engaged, progresses at a good pace, and feels very natural. Despite this, some of the film doesn’t work as well as it could. The movie takes a lot of liberties with the zombie mythos, and while it doesn’t ruin the story by any means, it makes the story feel weird. There are also some odd reactions by the characters to the events they experience. The story does has it’s flaws, but most of them are only nitpicks.
The main reason the story works is due to the characters, who are all very memorable.
R is an interesting protagonist because he feels like a teenage boy, but he also feels like zombie. By having these two feelings mixed so well, he becomes much more interesting than a teenage boy or a zombie alone. Julie isn’t as interesting as a character, but the situation she is in is very interesting. To be saved by something she has been fighting for her entire life creates good drama, and her responses all feel natural. She is also a fairly strong character, and thankfully doesn’t become a damsel in distress.
Despite their strengths, the most enjoyable character is R’s best friend M, played by Rob Corddry. M has an unusual charm that can only be attributed to this movie. It could be because he has the best lines, or Rob Corddry’s charisma, but M’s charm is unique and it makes him enjoyable to watch throughout the movie.
The cast does a good job, but it isn’t anything spectacular. This isn’t a bad thing, but none of the performances are particularly powerful. They do perform well enough, especially in a movie where it seems so easy to put in a bad performance, so it isn’t a problem.
Despite being a comedy, the movie doesn’t have that many jokes during the first act. It does have a few funny lines, but it seems like there could have been a lot more. This could have been done in order the establish the characters, which admittedly might have been the movie’s best option in order to be good, but it does leave the beginning of the movie a little baren. Even with the first act being a bit joke deprived, the second act is full of great humor. This is where the movie really starts to pick up and become much more entertaining. The main humor comes from the awkwardness of the characters and their interactions with each other. The film takes full advantage of it’s unusual premise in order to deliver creative and hilarious jokes.
It’s a shame that the film’s soundtrack isn’t as good as it’s humor. It seems like there is always an annoying country or pop song playing in the background, and the songs only make the movie feel less timeless. It would have been better if the movie stuck to it’s score, and left it at that.
It may have it’s flaws, and a ridiculous premise, but “Warm Bodies” is a sleeper hit, very similar to how “Zombieland” was in 2009.
“Warm Bodies” earns an 8.5/10.