Friday, June 7 2013, 08:13 PM MDT
Blu-ray Review: Warm Bodies
Genre: Horror, Comedy, Romance
Street Date: May 14, 2013
Available On: DVD and Blu-ray
Synopsis: R (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie. He has no memories of his life before his transformation, but something inside of him is changing. While scavenging for humans amongst the wreckage of civilization R came across Julie (Teresa Palmer). Rather than devouring her, like he had just done to her boyfriend, R kidnaps Julie and sets in motion a chain of events that could restore consciousness to the living dead.
Extras: “Boy Meets, Er, Doesn’t Eat Girl,” “R&J,” “A Little Less Dead,” “Extreme Zombie Makeover,” “A Wreck in Progress,” “Bustin’ Caps,” “Beware the Boneys,” “Whimsical Sweetness: Teresa Palmer’s Warm Bodies Home Movies” and “Zombie Acting Tips with Rob Corddry” featurettes, Audio Commentary, Deleted Scenes, Shrug & Grown Gag Reel and Theatrical Trailer.
Recommendation: Having read Isaac Marion’s novel Warm Bodies I wasn’t completely convinced that it had enough substance to make a film that wasn’t simply trying to catch the attention of the Twihards. Bringing on Jonathan Levine (50/50, The Wackness) to write and direct was a solid step in the right direction, but even good directors can go astray. Thankfully Levine managed to make a film that not only improved upon its source material he also stretched the tropes of the zombie subgenre to include a love story. It’s not quite on par with the masterpiece that is The Bride of Frankenstein, but it does get more right than it gets wrong.
When you try something new inevitably there will be unforeseen hurdles. In the case of Warm Bodies the key problem was finding a way to have a narrative told almost entirely from a zombie’s perspective without relying too heavily on voiceovers. In the novel it was natural to be in R’s head. Internal monologues aren’t nearly as effective in films (The Host being a prime example of where it can completely derail a film) and considering that zombies aren’t great speakers it was important to introduce the human element into the story as quickly as possible without completely glossing over the world as seen by zombies. I think Levine did a nice job of contrasting and balancing humanity against the living dead.
Where the film, and to a great extent the novel, goes slightly astray is in its inability to really embrace the more serious intellectual aspects of the story. I’m fairly certain that I’m in the minority when it comes to wanting zombie films to come with all the political commentary, both intended and unintended, that accompanied Night of the Living Dead. Gorehounds might be a bit disappointed by the film’s PG-13 violence, but Levine does manage to sneak in a reference to Lucio Fulci’s Zombie that provides a chuckle for even those unfamiliar with the film.
The bonus features are extensive and delve into almost every aspect of the adaptation of the book and the making of the film. I know there are a few scenes still sitting on the cutting room floor that I would have liked to see included, but you can’t always get exactly what you want.
-Ryan Michael Painter