Sunday, 17 March 2013


Warm Bodies [Review]

Opinion: B

By Jason Lin

Humanising a morbid genre makes an interesting watch with heartwarming and hilarious results. Filmmaker Jonathan Levine's latest endeavour, which is based upon Isaac Marion's similar titled novel, sets a romance tale within a post-apocalyptic era that takes viewers through a zombie's perspective to seek out what makes the world a better place and what doesn't. While the relatively brisk pace enables a fun watch that is easy to digest, one cannot help but feel that certain plot and character development are likewise rushed.

A funny new twist on a classic love story, WARM BODIES is a poignant tale about the power of human connection. After a zombie epidemic, R (a highly unusual zombie) encounters Julie (a human survivor), and rescues her from a zombie attack. Julie sees that R is different from the other zombies, and as the two form a special relationship in their struggle for survival, R becomes increasingly more human – setting off an exciting, romantic, and often comical chain of events that begins to transform the other zombies and maybe even the whole lifeless world.

The story is set within a time where three possibilities for mankind are possible. Either one remains as a surviving human being, or being infected to turn into an undead. An undead begins as a walking corpse, but some degenerates further into skeletal "bonies" who have far forgotten how being human is like. On surface, the setting allows the humans to be pitted against two degrees of adversity. But on a closer observation, it portrays varying degrees of moral degeneration for those who've strayed away from humanity.

And this makes good material for a Young Adult fiction genre, which inevitably takes on YA enticing themes such as romance and fresh ideas that attracts their curiosity such as, well, a zombified nation that seeks to cure itself.

During one of the average days of groaning and mindlessly bumping into one another, 'R' (Nicholas Hoult) and his best friend 'M' (Rob Corddry) decide to venture into the city to find food for their hunger where R encounters love at first sight with Julie (Teresa Palmer). R is a walking corpse who has forgotten his name but vaguely recalls that it begins with an R. While most of the other walking corpses do not recall their human past, R and M are two who vaguely holds on to their memories and even develop a friendship that is showcased in the film in the form of zombie conversations with comedy effect.

Corpses feed on human flesh for survival and it is also interesting to note that R's favourite is human brain matters. For he is able to savour the memories of the brain's host just so to be able to feel human again. Much like dreaming that only humans are capable of, as corpses are not able to fall asleep. This is, by opinion, one of the best symbolism of humanising a morbid subject.

Soon enough R and Julie develops a rather peculiar relationship where R furthers his pursuit of feeling human while Julie begins to shred off her stereotypical impression of zombies. In honesty, it is probably more of overcoming fear in Julie's case. Who wouldn't be frightened by the mere sight of a walking corpse? What is unknown to both is how R's physicality begins to evolve with the influence of human elements.

Interesting contrast here where R who represents the supposed lifeless community feels so much more alive than most of the humans who are lifeless in the eyes of Julie. When Julie retains hope that someday there might be a cure for the zombie-syndromes, her father (John Malkovich) is cynical about it and refuses to believe anything else other than his capabilities to ensure survival.

Yes, cynism is possibly a greater enemy over zombies to mankind.

Likewise, as per R's opening expressive monologue the Bonies are those among the walking corpses who have given up on themselves and hope to turn towards a darker side that feels far stranger than humanity. The Bonies are in fact, what the corpses hope not to be as they admirably yearn for the state of living. The corpses are those who are zombies by circumstances and not by choice who still hold on to the slightest traces of hope that someday a cure will be unravelled.

Hope is the corpses' greatest ally against the Bonies.

Amidst a story of hope and humanity in strife against those who do not believe, Walking Dead makes a good cinematic experience that also evokes "Romeo and Juliet" to show the world that only love makes the world a better place. This couldn't have been a better piece of YA material as opposed to say, The Twilight Saga, particularly when certain similar traits are witnessed. R makes a better zombie who's inspired by love as opposed to Edward who's simply confused by the flush of emotions he gathered as a vampire.

Despite an upbeat pace induced by brisk editing for easy consumption, the film feels somewhat shortchanged in terms of detailed story and character development that might have better enhanced the film by opinion. Nevertheless, Warm Bodies is a relatively competent piece of cinema that sends our rising generation a positive message that is set within some of the most morbid subjects for a fresh take as a zombie romantic comedy.


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