Warm Bodies DVD Review
Directed by Jonathan Levine
Written by Jonathan Levine (screenplay) and Isaac Marion (novel)
2013, Region 2 (PAL), 94 minutes, Rated 12 (UK)
DVD released on 17th June 2013
Nicholas Hoult as R
Teresa Palmer as Julie
Analeigh Tipton as Nora
Rob Corddry as M
Dave Franco as Perry
John Malkovich as Grigio
It’s a zombie movie for the tween generation as a post-apocalyptic landscape is the setting for this loose retelling of Romeo and Juliet, where R (Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie and Julie (Teresa Palmer) is his captive who succumbs to a serious case of Stockholm Syndrome.
If the surge in popularity of watered-down, sugar-coated horror to appeal to the masses of barely-teens is something that annoys you, you’d better turn away now. It doesn’t come more saccharine and horror-lite than Warm Bodies.
R (he can’t remember his full name) is both the narrator and lead character. He’s a walking corpse that spends his time shuffling around an airport with the zombies that inhabit the dead zone taking up most of the city. With some affectionate nods to zombie cinema in his introductory tour (“We don’t know why we come here, we just do”), it’s the most enjoyable segment of the film. R introduces the viewer to Boneys, the creatures that zombies become when they ‘give up’. It’s like dying again, he explains, as one unfortunate begins to peel his bloodless skin off to reveal a desiccated, alien-like creature beneath. Apparently, when you become a Boney, you also turn into fairly unconvincing CGI.
When R joins a pack of zombies to forage for food in the city, the horde does battle with a group of young survivors. After splitting the cranium of Perry, R sets his eyes on Julie and, in a moment that could have played out like the ‘Foxy Lady’ scene in Wayne’s World, decides that her Hayden Panettiere looks are just right for him. Rubbing a bit of zombie goop on her face (no, not that, you’re watching too much porn), he leads her back to the airport with his pack being completely unaware they have a walking banquet in their midst.
Where Warm Bodies adds to zombie lore, it only does so to further its own plot; The Boneys exist purely to separate bad zombies from the good ones we’re expected to root for. The good zombies still eat brains, but if they do it’s a good thing because you won’t come back. If they just chow down on your leg, you’re infected and doomed to their fate. When they eat a victim’s brain they also get their memories, another plot device that allows R to get to know the object of his affection more closely.
At the airport R takes Julie to the plane he calls home. Not some piddling little Cessna either, this is a full on Jumbo with reclining seats and a vinyl collection that R prefers because it sounds “more alive”. Yeah, he’s a hipster zombie. Over the days that Julie is held captive, only partly against her will, she becomes fonder of R and he becomes more human, talking with greater clarity and even starting to dream.
With the inevitable request of Julie’s to return home, R has to lead her out of the airport, which at first gets his undead buddies worked up for chow-time, but eventually leads to them all feeling the affection between the couple. This angers the Boneys and turns the two groups of undead into opposing factions. If that wasn’t bad enough, Julie’s father (John Malkovich) is the militant leader of the heavily armed survivors and not the kind of guy that’s going to want R calling him ‘Dad’ any time soon.
There will be no surprises for anyone who’s ever seen a romantic comedy (or Shakespeare’s play for that matter), as Warm Bodies follows the exact template: Boy meets girl from the other side of the tracks, they don’t like each other at first, grow to like each other, get separated, re-unite. Boom! Sexy-time.
Zombies are definitely en-vogue at the moment, but Warm Bodies does little to satiate the fans waiting patiently for The Walking Dead Season 4. It’s too family-friendly for horror fans to lap up, and not quite as funny as it should be. If you want a romantic-comedy/zombie movie, you’d be far better off with Shaun of the Dead or Deadheads to get your fix.
Video and Audio:
Video is crisp and clear, with the typically desaturated look that's become the norm for zombie movies. The audio, while offering 5.1 surround, is adequate but does little to impress.
There's more than enough to keep you happy if you need to know more about the world of Warm Bodies. Delving behind the scenes are a variety of extras including:
- Audio Commentary with Director Jonathan Levine and actors Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer
- Boy Meets, Er, Doesn’t Eat Girl
- A Little Less Dead
- Extreme Zombie Make-Over!
- A Wreck In Progress
- Bustin Caps
- Beware The Boneys
- Whimsical Sweetness: Teresa Palmer’s Warm Bodies Home Movies
- Zombie Acting Tips With Rob Corddry
- Deleted Scenes with Optional Commentary with Director Jonathan Levine
- Shrug & Groan Gag Reel