HTS Moderator , Reviewer
Title: Warm Bodies
HTS Overall Score:89
The story of Romeo and Juliet has been told and re-told through a plethora of entertainment devices. The story resonates with people more than most other stories. It’s pretty basic, but one that we can all connect with on some level. Boy meets girl, they come from different sides of the track and fall in love. Families don’t like each other and conflict ensues. This can be traced to many a romance from just about every country, ever culture, and every sub culture known to man. It has shown up in film from direct adaptations of the film to the ever rising popularity of outlandish takes on the subject. Now I’m going to tell you a secret. I actually really like a good romantic film, with an emphasis on a GOOD romantic film. A majority of the romantic movies out there are pure trash and I’ve become rather jaded to the concept of a good romantic flick in this generation of film making; however, every once in a while there comes along a movie that surprises me. When my wife told me that she found “Warm Bodies” to be a “cute” zombie movie I was not exactly jumping out of my chair with joy. I grew up watching movies where zombies were not cute, could not run like the wind and ate people indiscriminately, so the idea of a cute zombie movie definitely made my eyebrow raise. Add that to the fact that it’s come in a generation where the fad is adapting the newest tween books to film, ala “Beautiful Creatures”, “Twilight” etc. with “Warm Bodies” being the latest. To my honest surprise, I have to say that we have a winner here. This scenario should not work by all logical thought processes, but for some reason everything clicked. The chemistry was there, the bone dry humor (excuse the pun) was spot on, and the supporting actors meshed well.
It seems that there has been a slight hiccup in humanity’s plans. Somewhere in the last few years there was an outbreak of some type, it’s never mentioned what, and the people infected start turning into the undead. As with these types of things in movies, the virus spread fast and the undead started outnumbering the living. Humanity is now stuck inside a city barricaded behind closed walls. This one city is governed by Col. Grigio (John Malkovich) and he is in charge of keeping the zombie hordes from over running the last remnants of humanity. On a routine mission, his daughter Julie (Teresa Palmer) is surprised by a zombie attack while looking for medical supplies. One of the zombies (who happens to be a VERY self-aware zombie) by chance spots her and has attraction (of some kind) at first sight. For some strange reason, unbeknownst even to him, this zombie (Nicholas Hoult) protects her and takes her to his lair, hiding her out for a few days (which is difficult at best) until the rest of the zombies settle down and he can get her home. While he’s hiding her, Julie and R (his name in a former life started with an R and that’s all he can remember) start to bond. As they bond, something in him starts to literally repair itself. Emotions come to the surface in a crude way, he can start to talk, his pale skin tones starts to shift towards a warmer color and he even starts to dream. It’s hard for a guy to meet a girl in any situation, but when you’re a zombie it’s even harder. As R said “it’s hard to find out things about a girl, and eating her dead boyfriend’s brains is a bit unorthodox.” It seems that the only way zombies can experience a semblance of humanity is through the ingestion of human brain matter where they absorb that person's memories and feelings. When Julie gets home, R realizes that she’s sparked something in him, and not only just him, but the other zombies are starting to feel and sense things as well. A chain reaction has started that can’t be undone. The only problem is that R has to get around the Boneys (zombies comprised of only bone who have finally gone TOO far and are like the “zombie” to the zombies) all the while making sure not to get shot by humans on his way to reclaim Juliet….errr Julie.
As I said, this mixture should not work by all accounts, but from some reason it clicks. Director Jonathon Levine strikes a fine balance between sweet, romantic and the macabre. Interjected seamlessly into the love story is a deadpan style humor about eating people, death, brain consumption and all around gruesomeness. Usually romantic movies dealing with a horror genre tend to swing more towards pitch black comedies interjected with gruesome horror. Here they did the opposite, blending a bit of dark and gruesome (albeit PG-13 gruesome) into a sweet story, rather than the other way around. R’s in head narrative is downright hysterical and lends a sense of humor to an otherwise humorless situation. The film loves to sit and satirize the clichéd points of the Zombie genre while not crossing the line into mockery or just plain tomfoolery. R and Julie’s chemistry is a bit wonky at times, but is saved by Nicholas Hoult’s ability to use his physicality as a way of expressing himself. The uniqueness of the situation just works. Analeigh Tipton and Rob Corddry are both fantastic as the best friends of Julie and R, respectively. Rob Corddry is extremely reigned in from his normal over the top comedic antics and it works to his advantage here. The subtle facial and body queues given by the zombies are all the comedy one needs in that situation.
Now the film does have a few downsides. There’s some plot inconsistencies at times. Such as one moment the zombies are described as slow moving and then the next scene they’re bolting after Julie. Sometimes it gets a bit too clichéd with the romance between R and Julie - things just fall into place too quickly and just a bit too pat. As a result every once in a while something doesn’t jive just right, however the film is still wildly entertaining, and if your date doesn’t mind a bit of the macabre humor, you’ll have a great Friday night movie time.
Rated PG-13 for zombie violence and some language
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=11818[/img]Oh my my my, Summit Entertainment has given us a truly fabulous 2.40:1 AVC encode for us today. Shot digitally, it looks near perfect. There’s a scene or two here or there where some digital noise is introduced, but nothing distracting. There’s the occasional flashback and the ending sequences that are bright and cheery, but the majority of the film is shot with a grey and teal color grading, giving it a bleak look. The faces of the humans look natural and the contrast is just about spot on, while the zombies are much more pale and grey, covered in scar tissue with some very deep reds for blood. Facial detail is pretty much perfect, you can see every pore and even a little bit of makeup on Nicholas Hoult’s face and every strand of hair on Teresa Palmer’s head. Even the little things like the fluttering strands from a chair that’s worn past its use by date are shown with exquisite perfection. Shadow detail is just about as perfect. Since the movie is pretty much shot in grey’s and blacks and blues its dark levels are put to the test, and luckily for us, come out beautifully. You can make out every bit of detail, even in the darkest of scenes.
[img]http://www.hometheatershack.com/gallery/file.php?n=11821[/img]Just as wonderful as the video is a beautifully nuanced 7.1 DTS-HD MA track. For those expecting a sonic bombardment of epic LFE proportions you will be disappointed. The LFE is most definitely there, but it is utilized mainly to keep a low throbbing low end throughout the film and within the musical numbers. There are some fight scenes with the zombies where the bass kicks in overdrive, but it’s not an overwhelming part of the track. It IS however, very detailed. The LFE is clean, tight and never obtrusive, giving a well-balanced feel to the track. Dialogue is just nigh perfect, balanced nicely with the sound effects. Surrounds are used often and with much aplomb, from the sounds of boney’s chasing our heroes, to the musical scores filling out the back channels, all the way up to the roaring sound of BMW sportsters, all flood the back channels with an immersive sensation of being IN the center of the film. There are times when R is using his little narration tactic and the majority of the sound is center loaded, but that is interspersed with quite a few surround active moments as well to flesh it out.
• Directors Commentary with Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer
• Boy Meets, Er, Doesn't Eat Girl
• A Little Less Dead
• Extreme Zombie Make-Over
• A Wreck in Progress
• Bustin' Caps
• Beware the Boneys
• Whimsical Sweetness: Teresa Palmer's "Warm Bodies" Home Movies
• Zombie Acting Tips with Rob Corddry
• Deleted Scenes with Optional Director Commentary
• Shrug & Groan Gag Reel
• Theatrical Trailer
I will be the first to tell you that “Warm Bodies” was not high on my to watch list, however with the influx of positive feedback and the unique genre that it was, I went in with hesitant expectations. As you can tell I was very pleasantly surprised and wouldn't hesitate to recommend this a must watch. I felt the comedy, the dark humor and the romance were balanced very nicely together creating a unique homogeneous blend that really hasn't been seen before. Add that with some beautiful audio/visual scores and a STUNNING set of special features and I would say we have a winner on our hands here.
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, John Malkovich, Teresa Palmer
Directed by: Jonathon Levine
Written by: Jonathon Levine
Aspect Ratio: 2.40:1 AVC
Audio: English: DTS-HD MA 7.1, Spanish DD 5.1
Studio: Summit Entertainment
Runtime: 98 minutes
Blu-Ray Release Date: June 4th, 2013
Buy Warm Bodies Blu-ray on Amazon
Recommendation: Buy It!
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