Zombie boy finds unlikely life in ‘Warm Bodies’

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“Warm Bodies” has presented the world with a lovely, unconventional saga of forbidden love and zombies.

Though it is an uncommon story, its main theme of inner conflict with oneself is nothing new. The challenges of a person’s surroundings and circumstances when it comes to fighting for love and freedom from emotional and societal chaos is manifested throughout the film.

Not to mention it’s a good old love story.

A downside to all that? It’s predictable. But even with the predictable plot, this comical turnaround tale of a zombie apocalypse is so much more than its underlying themes.

The tale is told through narration by leading zombie lad R, played by Nicholas Hoult, who cannot for the life (or death) of him remember his name. Out of all the undead folks surrounding him, he feels like he is somehow different. He has come to accept his fate of zombiedom and people eating, and he understands his inhumane instincts are just meant to be.

Regardless, he is constantly discomforted by the fact that being dead is all he has, with the exception of a sweet vinyl collection that he listens to regularly in his home-sweet-home of an empty airplane.

On a human attack outing with his zombie neighbors, R first lays undead eyes on Julie, played by up-and-coming Aussie actress Teresa Palmer. Julie and her friends are on a mission searching for medicine in an abandoned hospital outside the skyscraper-high walls that surround the small city in which they live.

Having been trained to battle what they call the corpses, the group of young adults fights back with everything they have when they are attacked, but to no avail. 

R saves Julie and he sneaks her back to his airplane to keep her safely hidden from the others. Though Julie’s initial reaction to R is fear, she soon realizes his caring efforts to keep her safe are different from anything she’s ever seen before.

They don’t know it yet, but Julie and R have sparked a sort of revolution among the zombie population, and it all starts with one beat of R’s cold, dead heart.

Even though it is part comedy, the mood of “Warm Bodies” has an end-of-the-world sense throughout it that you can only expect in a zombie movie. There are a lot of gray shades and shadowy shots of the undead roaming an abandoned airport or subway tunnels. What were once places filled with busy people living their lives is now desolate but for the death that lingered behind.

As the film progresses and R starts to find purpose as a zombie, the shots get brighter and the movie itself seems to come back from the dead.

I like more blood and such in a zombie movie, but with its PG-13 rating, and the fact that its story is mainly focused on the relations of human-zombie interaction, I can deal with the lack of violence.

On the upside, the acting isn’t necessarily forgettable. Hoult gives his adolescent character just the right amount of awkward in the right situations. Even death doesn’t stop him from being a little nervous around the ladies.

The cast also includes the likes of Rob Corddry and Analeigh Tipton, who both bring comedy to the silver screen.

Despite the commonalities the movie might share with other stories that have come before it, I give “Warm Bodies” 3.5 out of 5 suns. The mix of humor, sympathetic zombies and fight for an unlikely love make it worth every heartbeat.