Friday, February 1, 2013

Warm Bodies

Warm Bodies is a romantic comedy with zombies. I can approach this film from 2 different perspectives: One point of view is that this film is just a tried and true comedic love story, or that this is a film that is much deeper than that and begs the question; What is it to be human? I will analyze both views and ultimately let the reader decide based on my critique. When looking at this film from afar, it appears to just be a generic romantic comedy, zombies not withstanding, with a main character who becomes infatuated with a girl that is reluctant to the idea of embracing him as a person, let alone a lover. The girl slowly Warms up to him, they come to some rocky terrain, but finally love perseveres, and the 2 live happily ever after. You would have to be a fool to not think that that was going to be the ending. Now that is what I enjoyed so much about this film, it is so simple. I was a fan of zombies long ago, long before this god awful trend of zombies and I really want it to stop, and I was actually getting tired of seeing zombies in the media, but I thought this was a really unique twist on this overexposed genre. The main zombie, named simply R, appears to have brain activity, (because he is constantly narrating) but the activity doesn't allow his body to function. As time passes, he slowly forgets everything about his former life, but tries to hold onto his humanity by collecting various unique items he comes across, which leads me to my second point; up close, this film seems to have an underlying theme of humanity. This film is the perfect contrast to The Walking Dead. Where The Walking Dead portrays the zombies as tragic, this presents them as lethargic. The only release from their state in The Walking Dead is death, and the release from their state in Warm Bodies is life. Doing human activity kick starts their heart and brings them back from a state of seemingly endless somnambulism. Now I previously pointed out that the film asks (very subtly, I might add) "What is it to be human?" It approaches this question from both sides allowing for an unbiased judgement. The film is post apocalyptic so the humans revert to a cold and calculating state of mind and act on logic, for the sake of survival, while the zombies act merely on instinct for the sake of survival and because, well, they are zombies. R is just like all the other zombies. He has a routine which most likely echoes his former life, this is based on the habits that are shown from other zombies which includes a janitor zombie mopping up, a TSA agent wanding anybody who passes through the metal detector. But the thing that makes him come alive is just a girl. She makes him want to remember, and eventually their time together brings him back from the dead. R fights for the girl, named Julie, and it helps the other zombies remember that they once were human. What is so unique about this is for the first time, or least that I've seen, that it shows that zombies are still humans, they just forgot how to be a human. This film has 2 villains: The human military and the zombies that lack all humanity and are too far gone mentally and physically, called bonies. The military, led by John Malkovich who is Julie's dad, have forgotten to be human too, but in a way that is appropriate considering the inevitable emotional trauma that comes with the zombie apocalypse, and in the end, R was the most humane character in the whole film. But in the end, its just about people coming together and learning to love each other.
Nicholas Hoult
I don't want to give a whole lot away, but the film is as solid a film as I have ever seen. This is the kind of film I want to make. I don't think I have ever said that about any other film. The direction is so tight. The attention to detail is tremendous and the subtlety (ironically) is very high. It is the kind of story I like, it has a very cohesive narrative, its consistently funny, it has underlying themes, the editing and the script were great and the performances were terrific. Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class, Jack The Giant Slayer) put on a terrific performance as R. His job wasn't easy. He had to be lifeless, yet the most humane character at the same time. He had a lot to juggle. His delivery was the right amount of awkward (he's dead) his movement was clumsy enough without coming off forced or campy and his gradual return to form (in a manner of speaking) was very noteworthy. Plus all the supporting cast were great. Except Dave Franco, who plays the same douchebag in everything he is in. I like to think that this film takes place in the same universe as 21 Jump Street and Dave Franco plays the same character from that.
Overall, Warm Bodies is a well directed and scripted romantic comedy with some tight action, nice little moments, real emotion, without getting too mushy, and some very fun performances. I give this one a big recommendation and encourage you all to bring a date.
Who says romance is dead? Who cares? That's not what this film is about. Its about life and the people in it being good to one another and sometimes, that's all we really need to feel alive

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