"Warm Bodies" Movie Review (2013) (SPOILERS)
Last Saturday, I finally saw the film Warm Bodies, the teen zombie romance based on the book I reviewed awhile back. Here's my review.
The stuff that happens after R.'s zombie group attacks Julie's team and especially after R. infiltrates the walled-off portion of the city still controlled by humans is extremely entertaining. I was actually concerned for the characters, which isn't something that happens very often. That half of the movie is also where the funniest jokes were, including Julie and her friend Norah giving R. a makeover so he doesn't seem so pallid and, well, dead.
There's a good bit of social satire, which is more clear in the film than in the book. In the beginning, R. is reminiscing about the days before the zombie apocalypse and how people were able to have real conversations (unlike the zombies, who just grunt a lot). He then has a flashback to everybody walking around on their smart-phones, not actually talking to anybody. We also get the origin of the "boneys," the most corpse-like and inhuman of the zombies. The book hints that people turning into zombies was the result of a lack of human communication and connection and this scene gets it across.
The film also cuts some aspects of the book that I didn't particularly enjoy, like R. having a "zombie wife" and "zombie children" that needed to be trained to hunt humans or R.'s zombie wife "cheating" on him. That slowed down the book and I'm glad they got rid of it.
I like how the movie version spared Julie's father, the human general and apparent ruler of the human enclave. In the book he and one of the "boneys" kill each other just as the zombies start turning human again en masse. I think that's supposed to be symbolic about how he's gotten so overzealous that he, like the "boneys," has become unable to adapt. In the movie, he's a lot more reasonable and even has a really amusing line at the end.
The ending is also clever. The revived zombies are reintegrated into human society by simple expedient of them and the humans teaming up to obliterate the "boneys." The film ends with R. and Julie watching as the walls around the human enclave are dynamited. The symbolism of the walls between people coming down was really well-done.
The early part of the movie before R.'s zombie group attacks Julie and her friends is rather dull and not particularly funny. That's not really a good thing for a comedy. That's my one major complaint and that's a pretty big one.
In the book, R. has conversations in his head with Perry, Julie's prior boyfriend who he killed and ate. We don't see any of that in the movie except for a single dream sequence. Although too much of that would have slowed the movie down, it could have been a good concept to explore.
Although it's good to encourage originality in movies, I'm glad I waited for the dollar theater. It was worth $2 to see, but not worth $12. 6.0 out of 10.