With growing acceptance of the gay community and a trend toward equal rights for all, is it already time to shift our focus to a new kind of discrimination? Zombies are an underappreciated and stereotyped bunch, generally assumed to be lacking in intelligence and having an overzealous lust for human flesh. There are no laws against killing zombies; in fact, it is actively encouraged by every government body except for North Korea and Switzerland.
But can't zombies feel? Can't they love just like anyone else? Can't they be brought back from the abyss of being undead? If you think the answer is 'no,' think again.
From the director of the criminally overlooked comedy 50/50 comes Warm Bodies, a zombie movie told from the perspective of R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie who likes human flesh just like the rest of his kind, but also feels trapped in his primitive state. When he meets human Julie (Teresa Palmer) he immediately falls in love with her and slowly begins to regain his humanity as his result.
Thankfully, Julie is single now that R has eaten her boyfriend.
Jonathan Levine, working from a novel by Isaac Marion, has given an entertaining spin to a genre that isn't typically known for its innovation. Though on the surface it is a zombie comedy, Warm Bodies is, at its heart, a surprisingly sweet romantic comedy. Stars Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer have great chemistry together, and Levine's witty writing keeps the story fresh. The relationship between the two leads develops in an organic way, impressive considering most of R's organic material is literally rotten.
Unfortunately, in a subgenre that features Shaun of the Dead and Zombieland, Warm Bodies pales in comparison. It lacks the consistent humor and more noticeably the edge of those classics; while entertaining, it doesn't have much bite. Pun intended.
Warm Bodies isn't perfect and far from being the best zombie comedy, but it is worth seeing. Worth seeing in theaters? That is more questionable, but if it comes down to this or the latest Nicholas Sparks movie, there is no denying which film is more sincere - or has the stronger heartbeat.
Review by Erik Samdahl unless otherwise indicated.
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