Sunday, February 3, 2013

Warm Bodies


A zombie in post-apocalyptic America, R (Nicholas Hoult) is one of the few who still have the ability to think, which is manifested by his many internal monologues. One day while hunting with his group, he comes across Julie (Teresa Palmer), one of the human survivors raiding a laboratory for medical supplies. After killing and eating her boyfriend's brains, R gets some flashbacks from the guy's memories, including his good times with her. In a weird and inexplicable twist, the zombie falls in love and to the surprise of many, starts becoming human again, albeit bit by bit. But of course there will always be villains. The Bonies, zombies which appear to be skeletons that have reached the point of no return, do not like the change at all, and start hunting the two star-crossed lovers.

Clever. To devise a new story in an already saturated genre and expect it to be successful is a bit of a long shot, especially when the precedents have been very successful in their own right; case in point: The Walking Dead. Perhaps, the creator thought that catering to a market similar to that of teenybopper box office juggernauts would be the perfect formula. And so here comes your Twilight zombie edition, and everyone of them is laughing their way to the bank, topping the North American box office on their first weekend. By focusing on a rather hilarious premise, they were indeed bound to have some fans early on out of curiosity.

The film does get you hooked right away thanks to R, whose straightforward comments poke fun not just on zombies alone, but also on the genre as a whole. In effect it is like a zombie parody in the form of a zombie movie, and that is where most of the comedy is derived. By lending some human traits to a creature that is supposed to be inhuman and already dead, it is easy to get sympathy for that character, no matter how illogical that seems to be for the genre. But then again, the genre itself is illogical, with many scientific studies debunking even the slightest possibility of a zombie apocalypse from even happening.

The problem is how the film makes eveything convenient for everyone. The way the plot unfolds is all too contrived. The reasons for the apocalypse is left unexplained, which is the best way to do it to avoid having to come up with a more complicated universe for your movie. Hey, more details, more loopholes, so better just say from the beginning that everything just happened, period. Besides, this is not a documentary. This loophole happens again and again, with the biggest one being unable to explain the main premise itself, that on what triggered something in those corpses to become human again. In the end, they just do, and you have to accept it wholeheartedly because everyone ends up happy anyway. Well, except the Bonies, but why should we care about them?

Reviews from critics have been favorable in general. The movie is refreshing to watch because we get a zombie apocalypse story from the point of view of the zombie itself, which seldom happens because their typical raison d'être in projects like this is to be shot in the head or be severed with a chainsaw. This movie will not change your life, but you will have a good time, for sure, and probably a new appreciation for the undead. Congratulations to Isaiah Marion. You hit it big time, buddy.

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