By Parker Thompson, Contributor
Do zombies always have to be bad guys? Maybe we’ve had it wrong this whole time. That’s the idea director Jonathan Levine (best known for 2011’s 50/50) is backing with his latest film, Warm Bodies (released February 1). Adapted from the Isaac Marion novel of the same name, this quirky movie puts a twist on the classic zombie mythology we’ve come to know through horror movies by incorporating a very literal Romeo and Juliet-styled romance. The result is a zombie-human love story, unorthodox to the post apocalyptic world the film is set in.
Seeing as Warm Bodies is an undead love affair, the protagonist is naturally a zombie himself. The zombie we know only as “R” (Nicholas Hoult) struggles on a daily basis amongst his zombie peers, burdened with the ability to think. While his thoughts are clear, his words come out poorly—a very relatable problem in our pre-apocalyptic world. R’s luck changes when he encounters a human named Julie (Teresa Palmer), and without missing a beat, falls for her at first sight.
I loved the fresh look at a genre that’s been done to death (no pun intended). I can’t give Levine all the credit for its half-hearted originality, but he did a good job bringing this story to the screen in a comedic, yet charming way. It took considerable faith for me to trust in the movie’s unconventional characteristics of a typical zombie, but once I did, it was more or less worth the leap. Within the first 15 minutes, I had already begun to sympathize with R and his zombie lifestyle.
The film sets us up with an intriguing premise, but I felt like the believability was stretched for it to reach a coherent ending. The story strays further away from zombie film principles as it progresses. For some scenes, this worked fantastically; for others, the resulting explanations were weak and a little goofy.
Despite a few bumps in the road, I enjoyed watching R and Julie’s love story unfold. It avoided the usual predictability that acts as a plague to most Hollywood romance tales; for once, the bold attempt paid off! So if you push aside the few silly plot points, Warm Bodies is quite an entertaining film. At the very least, this film is the perfect zombie-action-chick flick combination just in time for Valentine’s Day. Take advantage by dragging your significant other to the movie theatre for some sweet, sweet zombie love.