Jan. 30, 2013 - Issue #902: Come cry with Daniel Romano
Warm Bodies, based on Isaac Marion's novel, does no such thing. R (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie, blue-tinged flesh and all, and one half of our plague-crossed lover equation. He lives in an airport with other zombies, his thoughts coming through in an overdubbed voice; he doesn't remember how he turned, exactly, and despite retaining a droll slacker personality, he has no memories (not even his name), and his only pal is another zombie who can also grunt the occasional real word back at him.
The other half is Julie (Teresa Palmer) daughter of the human survivor community's leader (John Malkovich, underused here), whom R saves and attempts to develop a relationship with while keeping hungrier zombies at bay. As you might expect, there are some issues with that. How do you tell your militant pop that your new friend is still human, sort of? Or that he might actually be redeveloping a pulse?
There isn't much brain being worked in Bodies (fittingly, I guess). It plays pretty fast and loose with the situation's biology—it doesn't really make an attempt to give reason for the infection, nor its progress, nor address how it all starts to change when it does—and the story sticks to the rails you'd expect it to. But honestly? It's also more fun than you'd think from that wafer-thin, zombie-chic premise. It finds some footing in its humour, casting (the supports, in particular, are fun: Malkovich and Analeigh Tipton as Julie's best friend), and pacing (director Jonathan Levine, who also handled last year's solid 50/50 and here wrote the screenplay, keeps it all going at a decent clip). So while it may be close to a shambling, undead cash-in on a big ol' cultural meme, there is an unexpected bit of pulse to be found.
Opens Opens Friday
Directed by: Jonathan Levine
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