Saturday, 29 June 2013

Review: Warm Bodies

World of Blackout Catch-up Review

Warm Bodies Poster

Warm Bodies
Cert: 12 / 97 mins / Dir. Jonathan Levine

Another genre-bending oddity, and a good indicator that there's more to be done with zombies than just growling and clawing - if it's handled with care. Warm Bodies succeeds on some levels and boldly fails on others, never quite managing to clear the hurdle of supernatural romance. It's this, hand-in-hand with its near constant vocal-soundtrack, that holds the film back and will leave many dismissing it as a sub-Twilight teen movie. Think of it as a Shakespeare-adaptation (for the most part, the end isn't that dark), and it holds the attention a lot better.

Nicholas Hoult is a great choice as R, the zombie at the centre of it all, and reminded me at times of a young Tom Cruise. It's his eloquent voice-over that really sells it, being the only truly unique selling point of the film. Teresa Palmer plays a confident second-fiddle, doing most of the heavy-lifting in terms of dialogue, and Rob Corddry handles his share of the undead-shambling with a relaxed ease. John Malcovich pretty much phones in his role, which he can't really be blamed for given the part he has.

Overall, I found it to be rather sweet and slightly fascinating, but the purist in me couldn't detach from the fact that the zombies here may look in keeping with the Romero-school, but they don't follow any of the same rules. I loved the memory-transference caused by the eating of brains; Running-zombies I can handle, but talking corpses had me raising an eyebrow; Why don't the Bonies need to be shot in the head like the Walkers?; The decomposition of necrotic tissue alone would render the plot resolution impossible…

And when you're complaining that the zombies in a film 'wouldn't work like that', you know you're in too deep. Either way, it's still a better zombie film than World War Z.

Warm Bodies is a valiant effort, but I think I'm better off sticking to The Walking Dead.

Is the trailer representative of the film?
If anything, the film's more ponderous than the trailer, but yes.

Did I laugh, cry, gasp and sigh when I was supposed to?
Pretty much.

Does it achieve what it sets out to do?
I think so.

Buy, pay to rent, or wait until it's on for free?
Pay-to-rent, unless you're already sold on it.

Will I think less of you if we disagree about how good/bad this film is?

Will I watch it again?
At some point.

Is there a Wilhelm Scream?
I don't recall catching one, but I could be mistaken.

And because you won't be happy until I've given it a score...

And my question for YOU is…
Leaving aside the mechanics of how the undead function in this film, is talking zombies a step too far? If the deceased brain can hold enough residual charge to handle walking and eating, wouldn't there be enough left for basic words (if not actual conversation)? Let me know what you think.

• ^^^ That's dry, British humour, and most likely sarcasm or facetiousness.
• Yen's blog contains harsh language and even harsher notions of propriety. Reader discretion is advised.
• This is a 'catch-up' review. I watched this film at home, not at the cinema. I saw the trailer for this at the cinema, and I would have seen the film there too, but they didn't/couldn't show it. So now iTunes, Amazon, Netflix and Blockbuster get to reap the rewards of my local's advance-advertising, and I'm sure they're delighted. Now you may say "oh come on, they can't show everything down there", and that would be a valid point if they didn't do things like running Taken 2 for six weeks. Was it that successful? No, I don't think so. Twilight? Batman? Les Mes? Sure, go for it; if they're pulling the punters in then keep making that money. But Taken 2? I ask you. Anyway, this is essentially a DVD review, but still of a new(ish) film. There. I'm glad that's sorted.
• This is a personal blog. The views and opinions expressed here represent my own thoughts (at the time of writing) and not those of the people, institutions or organisations that I may or may not be related with unless stated explicitly.

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