About the film
Warm Bodies is a 2013 romantic zombie comedy film that is based on the book of the same name by Isaac Marion. The film was released at the cinema in the UK on 8th February. Warm Bodies has a run time of 98 minutes and a rating of 12A.
R is a zombie. He doesn’t remember how he died, he doesn’t remember his name and he doesn’t really remember anything about his life. All he knows is, he lives in an airport with other zombies, eats brains and that he is different. On an outing with his fellow zombies to find something to eat, R runs into a girl called Julie, whose father runs the city close by which is surrounded by a massive wall. However, R eats Julie’s boyfriend’s brains and gets his memories at the same time. Not wanting to eat her too, he saves her, taking her back to the airport with him. Julie realises that R isn’t like the others, he can feel and talk and she doesn’t want him to die. The pair strikes up a strange kind of friendship and one which could change everything.
What I thought
I read Isaac Marion’s novel when it first came out and I absolutely loved it. Needless to say, I was desperate to see the movie version as soon as it came out so I went to the very first showing on opening day.
Nicholas Hoult stars as R, the zombie with a voice. I am a massive fan of Hoult, ever since his days in Skins and I have watched him in everything he has been in since. While I was a little unsure about him being cast as R to begin with, I ended up being really happy with the choice. Hoult narrates for the most part of the film, talking over what is actually happening. This, obviously, is because he is a zombie. Although he can talk, to begin with R can only grunt a few words and it isn’t until later in the film that he gets a wider vocabulary. I liked the narrative style though, as it gave R a very distinct voice, even if he could not use it himself. It must be hard to interact with other actors without actually talking for the most part. I think Hoult did a fantastic job as R, especially as he spends a lot of the time walking leaning to one side, looking extremely gross and grunting at everyone around him.
Teresa Palmer plays love interest Julie. The only thing I had seen her in previous to this was I am Number Four but she did impress me in that. I also think that when regarding the character from the book, she was a great choice for the role. Julie is a likeable character and in a world where everyone is out to just kill both the corpse zombies as well as the scary bones zombies, she is a bit different. Julie seems to understand that everything is not black and white and she is optimistic that things can change. This kind of attitude is also strengthened when Julie meets R. Although she is scared of him to begin with, it doesn’t take her long to see that he is unlike any of the other zombies.
Something that might not be apparent unless you know, is that Warm Bodies is a sort of retelling of Romeo and Juliet. Not only does R represent Romeo and Julie as Juliet but other characters have their parts as well. Julie’s best friend Nora represents the Nurse, zombie M represents Mercutio and Perry, Julie’s boyfriend represents Paris. I thought that this way of retelling such a classic and famous love story was incredibly clever. As I said, you might not pick up on these things unless you already know. The themes of forbidden love are extremely strong in Warm Bodies, with R, a zombie, falling in love with a human girl who is very much alive. However, the retelling is not overdone and this doesn’t take on every aspect of Romeo and Juliet, which was nice.
As well as having great characters, Warm Bodies is also really well paced. The plot is extremely interesting, with us getting to know R and his way of life to begin with. It doesn’t take much time for him to run into Julie though and from there, the film only gets better. As the two characters get to know each other, their characters really come to life… literally in R’s case. It was lovely to see the character development here through two people getting to know each other and what they enjoy. However, among R and the normal zombies are the scary bones zombies. These are very skeletal are no longer resemble humans. Due to R taking Julie back to the airport, the bones get a whiff of her and want to eat her. The bones provide the excitement in Warm Bodies, with them chasing R and Julie in order to get what they want.
Overall, Warm Bodies is a fantastic movie adaptation of one of my favourite young adult books.