Pauls Valley, Oklahoma — When it comes to a list of the world’s easiest jobs, I’d have to place coming up with dialogue for zombies near the top of that list. Right next to that position would probably vocal coach for the undead, but I’ll come clean and admit that just about any role no matter how limited in the flesh eating genre would be a blast to play.
Although most flicks in the category provide some level of comedy from the groaning clichés alone, this one actually went there on purpose with an angle hard to ignore and something I had no problem checking out. Done to death and beyond torturous was the sparkly vampire craze of recent years, but shown quite a bit less often is exploring romantic notions with the walking diseased that don’t end in prison sentences. “Warm Bodies” delivers well with this “fresh” entertainment and when you aren’t busy busting a gut, one might actually find something with meaning and an ending that feels quite a bit more comforting than many other tales like it.
Set in a major metropolitan area, we are introduced to a zombie named R (Nicholas Hoult), who seems to spend his days wondering about who he was before becoming living impaired and wondering an airport with the rest of his kind. Though he regularly goes off seeking the living flesh with the rest of the horde, he wonders if there is more to his post-apocalyptic world and just grunting along with his best friend Marcus (Rob Corddry).
Enter Julie Grigio (Teresa Palmer), who is among the remaining humans who live in a walled off city, who is also not quite at peace with life, pretty much dominated by fear and the rules set by her father Colonel Grigio (John Malkovich). During a search for medicine and other supplies that does not end well for the non-dead sapiens the mere sight of Julie sets off a series of changes for R, and so begins a spiral toward a bigger picture none could have ever predicted. Everything that once would have been accepted as just a part of the genre is now open for question with a plethora of gags and an endearing look at what happens when those set in their ways must reconsider being cold hearted.
One of the things I enjoyed the most was the hint to a lot of the old monster movies where it shows how fear often does more damage than the so called evil force we’re afraid of. Consider examples like “Young Frankenstein” where a lady can fall in love with a creation that terrifies an entire town and with a few punch lines that would without a doubt make Mel Brooks proud.
Even the extras are well worth checking on the special features part of the DVD menu, my favorite being a youtube segment where Corddry talks about how it’s not enough to just act like a zombie. It’s appropriate for most ages, well those that can tolerate a little love, and highly recommended for something to bide time in between the various summer blockbusters. I suppose the biggest plus was not turning into a zombie by proxy and thus earns “Warm bodies” three out of five beating hearts.
DVD rental courtesy of Family Video of Pauls Valley.