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Warm Bodies - Film Review

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by Chrystal Byrne (subscribe)
Freelance writer living on Brisbane's north side. Studied creative industries - currently studying library and information services.
Published April 15th 2013
R is a zombie living in an abandoned airport with a horde of other zombies. He cannot remember his actual name, just that it started with an 'R'. He cannot remember how he became a zombie, just that it was from a plague or from monkeys or something. He spends his days shuffling around, bumping into other zombies, groaning, grunting and trying to think. He avoids the 'bonies' – zombies so far gone that they've become walking skeletons, devoid of all hope. He wants to be something different, but he can't think of what.

He and a bunch of other zombies venture out of the airport to search for food. Food can be hard to find, as all of the humans have holed up in the centre of the city; behind a huge wall to keep the zombies out. The gang are in luck though. A group of young humans have been sent out on a mission to retrieve medicine, and R's group can smell them.

The zombies burst in on the humans and chaos ensues, R's group are chomping down on human brains in no time. But R is struck by the beauty of the blonde, who throws a knife at him before trying desperately to shoot him with a gun that has run out of bullets. R kills her boyfriend and eats a little bit of his brain before smearing the girls face with muck to hide her smell, saving her from the other zombies. Then, he brings her home with him, to an abandoned airplane filled with trinkets that he's collected from his victims and places of interest.

Warm Bodies (2013)
Warm Bodies (2013)

Julie, for that is her name, is scared of R at first, and cannot grasp the situation. Why has R not eaten her? Why did R save her life? R tries to extend kindnesses to his 'hostage'; providing her with food, a blanket, space to think, in an effort to express what he wants: "Keep. You. Safe." R gradually consumes Julie's ex-boyfriend's (ex because he's dead) brain when Julie is sleeping, as zombie's do not sleep, and consumes memories of Julie with it. As time goes by, R is able to say more words, think better, move better – he even starts to feel. Is R's time with Julie changing him?

And then R sleeps, and dreams.

When the other zombies find Julie and R together, a change is sparked within them too, and Julie knows that she must fight for them, fight for her growing relationship with R.

Warm Bodies (2013)
R and Julie, played by Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer.

Warm Bodies (2013) was directed and written by Jonathan Levine, based off the 2010 novel of the same name by author Isaac Marion. The movie stars Nicholas Hoult as R, Teresa Palmer as Julie, Analeigh Tipton as Julie's friend Nora, Rob Corddry as R's friend M and Dave Franco as Perry, Julie's ex(dead)-boyfriend. The film focuses on the development of the relationship between Julie, a beautiful young woman, and 'R', a zombie. The story is told from R's perspective. Warm Bodies is being publicised and promoted as an American paranormal romantic zombie comedy.

Warm Bodies has received positive reviews from critics. It currently holds an 80% certified 'fresh' rating on Rotten Tomatoes based on 162 reviews, with an average score of 6.7/10. It also boasts a 79% 'liked it' audience rating. The site's consensus reads: "Warm Bodies offers a sweet, well-acted spin on a genre that all too often lives down to its brain-dead protagonists." On Metacritic, Warm Bodies holds a score of 59 out of 100, based on 38 reviews, and has a 6.7 user score of favourable reviews, based on 123 ratings.

Warm Bodies (2013)
R sets eyes on Julie for the first time

I really enjoyed Warm Bodies. It was comedy that I could relate to and my partner and I had quite a few 'laugh out loud' moments, as did others in the cinema. I loved R's narration, and the fact that the story was all told from his perspective made for most of the comedy. His self-deprecating but positive manner was enlightening and heart-warming, as was his will and determination to become 'something else'. I found this a refreshing sort of zombie movie, separate from the usual zombie apocalypse movies that normally plague the film industry.

About halfway through the film, I realised the inferences made between R and Julie, and William Shakespeare's Romeo and Juliet. Romeo and Juliet move in different circles, circles that would keep them apart. Despite this, they fall in love, shattering the ideals around them and sparking chaos all round. Thankfully, R and Julie's love does not end the same way as Romeo and Juliet's, as I may have called it quits on the movie if that had been the case. I adore the character of R. His sweet nature is endearing, his facial expressions are comical and his love for Julie is uplifting. His efforts to change his nature for her go above and beyond, and I believe in their story.

I would recommend Warm Bodies to anyone who enjoys comedy, romance or zombie films; or all three. The film works wonderfully in each category and brings something new to each genre. The director, Jonathan Levine, said that "even though this is a love story that involves zombies, he hoped people wouldn't try to put the film into one category and zombie enthusiasts would be open to a new twist on the genre" ( Either way, go see Warm Bodies. It's worth the hype.

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