When I was young, I found the whole dating thing a bit awkward. My main problem, I think, was I didn't know how to flirt. I could carry on a conversation, of course, debate politics, gossip, drink .... but the nuances of behaving in a cute or sexy way eluded me. I eventually hooked up with a guy who was no more adept at the nuances than I was, a dude who confessed to be being terrified of women, and we got married.
What can I say? Dating and relationships, in your teens and early 20s, are tough. Imagine if you were navigating these waters in a greatly decimated population? Or if you had no way of communicating interest in a girl besides smearing smelly zombie goo on her face or staring creepily at her? Or getting to know a lady by eating her late boyfriend's brains? Damn. I practically had it easy.
Warm Bodies is a somewhat unconventional zombie tale told from the perspective of R., who is one of the undead. In this fictional world, zombies lose their humanity gradually. R. hasn't begun to decompose yet, and while he's lost his human memories, he still has some human emotions. He knows he will gradually degenerate, eventually turning into a "boney," a vicious walking corpse with no remaining shred of humanity. He spends his time roaming an abandoned airport, with other zombies, and wondering about his undead companions' history as humans. That and hunting for fresh human brains.
There's a catch, though. When you eat a person's brains, you experience some of their memories. That can't be easy. On the other hand, R. gets to briefly re-experience what it is to be human.
When he finds himself attracted to a beautiful young woman, Julie, something in his soul begins to reanimate. He feels driven to protect her and to try to find a way to connect with her. It's difficult since his communication mostly consists of mindless grunts. But his increasingly human feelings give him hope.
I enjoyed the unusual spin this movie put on the hugely popular zombie apocalypse theme, and I liked the world it created, a bleak landscape featuring a deserted, zombie-ridden airport and a hollowed out, mud-soaked suburban neighborhood. I enjoyed the way it played with light and color as the bleakness gradually faded.
There were also some funny moments. I loved the little satirical touches, poking fun at the cluelessness and social ineptitude of the living. "This is my best friend. By best friend I mean we occasionally grunt and stare awkwardly at each other." At some point, R. also says something like, "It must have been better when we could really communicate." Hah! Well played. Reminded me a bit of the satire in Shaun of the Dead.
So while I found this a basically predictable and unsurprising comedy-romance, not nearly as funny or engaging as Shaun of the Dead or Zombieland, it was enjoyable. The narration was humorous, and the story had shades of "Beauty and the Beast" and Romeo and Juliet, but with its own unique twist. I'm also giving this movie some latitude since I'm considerably older than its target audience. Plus an eclectic, kick ass soundtrack always helps. How can you not love a zombie who collects vinyl records?
- This was a good date movie, even if we were the oldest couple in the theater. And even though I watched this film because I couldn't talk The Hubby into Side Effects. :-)
- I liked seeing John Malkovich as a zombie killing patriarch. Love him.
- My husband and I were disturbed by the scene where R. and Julie finally kiss. Why? Our first thought was "I wonder whether he's brushed his teeth since the last time he ate brains." Seriously. Think about it.
- The boneys were actually kind of creepy. I liked that.
- At one point the boneys were lined up, one row behind another, ready for battle. And I had the stupidest random thought: "How awesome would it be if we heard music and they all started to dance right now ... a freaking undead flash mob?" Yeah, I know. I probably shouldn't have had that mixed drink in the restaurant before the movie.
Maybe next time I'll just have fruit cocktail and a Corona.
My Rating: 3.5/5 Stars