Friday, 2 August 2013

Warm Bodies Review

Zombies are taking over the world. It's all but offical at this point.

I mean, Leeds fell a while ago (see images HERE of the recent zombie marches) but its become clear that the rest of the world won't be too far behind. Even the Australians are afraid...though they haven't cracked the date just yet

Literary classics are being revised - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies now seems like such a natural idea that I can't believe that no one attempted it before (dry voice).

The Walking Dead (which I'm not actually a fan off) and Ugly Americans (unseen, but heard good things) ensured that the undead are slowly but surely taking over the televisual world.
So it amuses me slightly that the film genera has become a bit stale in recent years, despite there being a glut available. So many rehashing the same stories and images, not even attempting to expand the mythology or try something new.

What? No hug?
Sure, 28 hours/days/weeks/years turned out to be a far more natural successor to the '...of the Dead' franchise than any of the series actual recent cinematic offerings. Zombies became faster; smarter; cruel and resourceful. And therefore more terrifying. I guess. For some*. 
The so-different-I-honestly-don't-know-why-they-bothered adaptation of I am Legend continued this trend - converting the books vampire types to zombie-trope characters with over-wealming speed, aggression and pack mentality - maximising their monstrous strength.  
I don't like.

I mean I do... but... I was raised with slow, lumbering, vacant, shopping mall monsters.
I guess I'm just a traditionalist at heart.

Of course, there was Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland. My saviours if you will. Two films so faithful, irreverant, funny and wry that you can't help but love them. In fact, sometimes - when the speedy zombies get too much for me - I hug my SotD dvd close; chanting "We're coming to get you Barbara!!" mantra like.

Warm Bodies is a Rom-Zom-Com and the closest thing that Shaun of the Dead has to a squel (Hot Fuzz and The World's End aren't sequels, they are Cornettos). While it lacks a certain bite (sorry, couldn't reist); it harks back to a softer, gentler more old fashioned film style, balanced with a more contemporary and cynical world-weary perspective.

BLURB (The Guardian review)
In a post-apocalyptic world, human survivors have barricaded themselves into a safe area of the city, but outside there are loads of shuffling, mumbling zombies, who are still in a relatively human phase before they degenerate further into hideous, skeletal attackers. 
One of these nice demi-undead folk, played by Nicholas Hoult, is a cute guy who falls in love with the lovely human Julie (Teresa Palmer), daughter of zombiephobe survivalist warlord Grigio (John Malkovich).  
Golly. Hasn't Nicholas Hoult done well. I still remember him as that odd looking freaky kid from About a Boy.

I won't summarise the story line here - I honestly think that it's worth you watching it for yourself - whoever you are. However, the usual *SPOILER* warnings still apply. 

Throughout the film, but especially at the beginning, the voice over was just golden. In fact, it might be one of the driest voice commentaries EVER. As a vehicle it's used quite well - heavy at the beginning with perhaps not quite enough of it in the middle while it tapers off as R becomes better able to communicate.  

As a piss take of twishite (no - not the whole thing, but there were definite references), it was hilarious. Especially as himself wasn't entirely sure that they were in fact taking the mickey and was terrified that it was about to descend into rat shit. He'd been half convinced the lead was a Kristen Stewart clone at the start and was wary (he warmed to her as the film progressed) so the near heart failure was just delicious to watch!

While this film - like most in the zombie house - focused on two primary protagonists, they were offered excellent support from Marcus and Nora (Rob Corddry and Analeigh Tipton), their best friends. All their interactions were just brilliant. Analeigh Tipton was equally good in Crazy Stupid Love and is definitely one to watch while Rob Corddry has a tendency to steal every scene he's in!

I liked the tweaks to the zombie mythology too - introducing two types of undead - those like R, who are dead but fairly human like and the bonies, who are scary monsters. For a film that often seemed determined to stay within the lines, it was an unexpectedly bold move and I for one would be quite happy to see more tales set in that world. 

As to the big issue - that of speed - Warm Bodies worked the two speed approach. In the main, the zombie wandered around, slow and almost placid. The second that they sniffed out a living person, however, they became transformed into vicious bloodthirsty monsters, moving with near in-human speed. 

A really enjoyable film and one I've happily recommended to people! As per usual, we'd love to hear your thoughts in the comments or on twitter!

*I can't be the only one who found original zombies terrifying precisely because they were so slow moving and drooly and thoughtless and ... relentless. Seriously creepy. They don't sleep, for example. So, even if you do find a great hidey hole - they can sniff you out and find you.

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