Okay, so the Zombie Apocalypse has happened, and we're so far along that everything is routine. Zombies get up in the morning, after an unsatisfying sleepless night, stagger around aimlessly, and then, when their gas tanks are on "Empty," they lumber off to the city to find something -- someone with juicy brains -- to eat.
On the other side of the wall, the Humans get up in the morning, after a brief sleep in a nightmarish world, sit through training sessions, and then, when they begin to run out of supplies in their fortress, they arm themselves, and set off into the city to find medicines, food, whatever, to keep themselves alive.
R, a zombie with an overactive imagination, finds someone with juicy brains. Julie, trained to kill zombies, weary of her zombie-killing-obsessed father, finds someone to keep her alive.
R falls for Julie even while attacking her search squad, his not-life suddenly illuminated by her automatic weapon-packing hott blonde militia pose. He saves her from being eaten by his compatriots, and shuffles her back to his pathetic "home," filled with artifacts he is drawn to because they seem somehow to help him forget that he is dead.
Learning what it is to love begins to change R, to cure the zombie infection that has blighted his life. And like the zombie infection itself, love begins to change his whole world.
There are no Oscar nominees here, I'll be up front about that. The gags are predictable, but not so much as to be un-funny. The story is as old as Shakespeare (duh) but the tone, in spite of brain-eating, and killer "Bonies," is sweet throughout.
Nicholas Palmer (R) and Teresa Palmer (Julie) do an okay job as the zombie boy and human girl. No great shakes, but I enjoyed their portrayal of meeting, attraction, and affection.
Can love actually enliven the world of the grasping well-to-do, as well as the tawdry existence of the hopeless? We all would like to believe that, and that is this movie's strength.
Warm Bodies is a story of redemption through the power of love, and I enjoyed this cute movie a lot.
I won't be buying this one on DVD, but I look forward to watching it on Netflix or cable in the future.
When I am not at the movies or actively involved with the writing of movie reviews, which as you can imagine doesn't occur often since I am a professional movie critic for the Piker Press, I will in fact try my own hand at creative writing. I know first hand how it is very easy to get into your head a really funny scene like: main character Suzy slips on a banana peel at school sending her legs flying into the air, momentarily revealing her panties to the rest of the student body; everyone can see that clearly printed on her underwear was the word "Saturday," and since this is Tuesday, the day of the so very critical pep rally for the big game with cross-town rival Tar Pits High, she has some explaining to do.
Can't you just see it? A scene like this with its inherent comic quality is just the kind of thing that could lead to hilarity, pathos, relevant social commentary, and page turning prose. Why, from this starting point, we could find Suzy having to try to sneak her Saturday panties into the wash without her mother seeing them, only to be caught with her hand in the hamper and have to undergo her mother's grueling but loving interrogation which is overheard by her kid brother who spills the beans to his friends who in turn spread the story all over their small town jeopardizing Suzy's relationship with Jake, her new boyfriend, who happens to be the mayor's son.
As a writer, you get these moments of creative brilliance, and there seem to be really good and clear threads leading from this kernel to other scenes, a novel's worth of ideas shooting like the flashes of a Fourth of July sparkler in all directions, until that is, you get to your word processor and begin to write. Then, all those ancillary ideas start to dissipate like a drop of food coloring in a pitcher of water. Scenes that in your head seemed to flow naturally one to another are clunky and disjointed. Associations that had seemed clear are now at best dubious. Situations that were riotously funny take too much time to set up and are drained of the humor in the telling.
Still, after you highlight all the stuff that doesn't work and hit the backspace key to consign it all the ether, you're left with a banana peel and a pair of Saturday panties, and that's funny enough to make you think there is a story there somewhere.
Warm Bodies is that kernel of a good idea. The concept -- a zombie with a soft heart who with the right girl demonstrates that love can conquer all -- is clever, or at least it seems like it should be clever, and for about fifteen minutes at the beginning of the film, it is clever enough to elicit a couple giggles from the audience. Then, however, the story loses its inspiration and plods on without much humor or novelty.
There is really nothing about this movie that distinguishes it. The writing is weak, the production values are unremarkable, the acting is blah, except for Nicholas Hoult in the lead role of R, the zombie. He managed to impart a warmth to R that almost, almost made you believe that a girl could fall for a zombie like that.
The oddest part of this whole thing is that without any redeeming value that I could see in the story or the movie making, Warm Bodies actually managed to be entertaining, and on top of that, it was ... cute. That's right. I said cute. It resisted temptation and did not resort to gratuitous gore, vulgarity or sleaze to tell a story about two kids meeting and falling in love, and that alone might be the most novel idea I've seen in movies for a while.
Don't go to see this movie if you have a dog to wash or spoons that need polished -- it's not that diverting. But if you really have a lot of time on your hands and want to pass some time with some harmless fluff, you might want to wander on down to the movie theater. There would be no shame, however, if you just wanted to wait for it to appear on cable.