Even before I read the book, I knew without a doubt that I was going to be watching the movie version and I finally caught the film this afternoon with some girlfriends from work. I was excited to see how writer/director Jonathan Levine (50/50) would adapt this Isaac Marion novel to the big screen, because judging from the trailer, the movie looked awesome. And it was awesome, and adorable, and heartwarming, and funny… oh let me just get on with it.
R is a zombie, but unlike other zombies, he yearns to regain the feelings that he had when he was still human. Now, he can’t remember anything about his former life and lives out his days at the airport, a hive of the undead controlled by “Bonies,” skeleton like zombies who will devour anything with a beating human heart. One day, as R and his best friend M, along with a zombie pack storm the city to get some grub (read: humans), they encounter a group scavenging for supplies, and he lays eyes on the human girl named Julie for the first time. When he munches on the brains of Julie’s boyfriend Perry, he learns bits and pieces about their relationship and he finds himself wanting to have the same connection with Julie. So in order to save Julie’s life, he takes her with him to the airport, inside his home, an abandoned airplane filled with memorabilia to keep her safe. As the two spend more time together, R discovers that he is changing, and as his feelings for Julie develops, the feelings that has since eluded him begin to return, along with his humanity.
The premise of this movie is totally whacked, and as with the book, many fans of the zombie lore will surely react to the very idea that love has the power to revive the undead. But Warm Bodies managed to make the ridiculous premise work, mainly because it retained the very essence of the book that made it so much fun. It poked fun at zombie stereotypes in an offhand manner, the scoring was super cool and super cheesy at the same time. The cast was also super likeable. Nicholas Hoult was adorable as the zombie R, creepy but still adorable, a tad ripe and grungy but charming nonetheless. Teresa Palmer was the perfect girl to play Julie. She had a kickass attitude that was just right for the daughter of the military leader of the humans (John Malkovich). Saturday Night Live alum Rob Corddry was great as R’s goofy sidekick M.
Warm Bodies was an unsual rom com, or as they are now dubbing it, zom-com. I think Jonathan Levine was the right guy to handle this project because he has that air of coolness about him that translates to his adaptation of rather unusual subjects (such as a zombie-human love affair). His other project 50/50 starring Joseph Gordon Levitt as a cancer patient and Seth Rogen was sort of the same way. He has the ability to put a positive spin on rather dire situations and make light of a rather grim topic like zombies (who are mostly featured in horror flicks).
Compared to the book, there were some minor tweaks, some that I missed like the bonies having a worship session and a wedding session, and some towards the ending that actually served the movie well, but basically, the filmmakers did good in this movie adaptation.
All in all, Warm Bodies was a fun ride, very entertaining and very cute. The interactions between Julie and R were very sweet and audiences can’t help but exclaim awwww on many scenes. The fact that audiences keep forgetting that R is a zombie (who should really be creepy and gross) is a testament to the success of the pairing. Warm Bodies was light, funny and smart and extremely well put together. Good writing, excellent casting, great scoring, make up and CGI. I can’t help smiling, just thinking about Julie overselling her zombie act, my favorite scene in the book, and in the movie. I wouldn’t mind seeing it again.
If you want to check out my review of the book, check it our here: http://cineramaetcetera.wordpress.com/2012/11/12/warm-bodies-book-review/