Monday, January 6, 2014

Warm Bodies - Movie Review

Who knew that a zombie movie could be profound, but this one was.  The movie is Warm Bodies.

It starts out rather awkwardly, following R.  Why is his name is R, because that is all he can remember of his name.  This is the perfect back story for lead character.  Video games have been using the amnesia thing for years.  If you are an role-playing game fan you will know exactly what I am talking about.  At any rate during an average food run in the city R comes across Julie.  There is something about Julie that changes R's life forever.

I find it extremely interesting that the film makers choose to tell the story from the viewpoint of the zombie.  It is something I have never seen done in a movie like this before.  The scary thing however, is how much I can identify with R's way of thinking at the beginning of the film.  There is a moment in the first 15 minutes of the film where they do something brilliant.  R thinks back to how it must have been when people were all alive, and could easily communicate with each other.  Then a flash back shows us the airport R lives in full of living people walking around staring into their smart devices not interacting with each other at all.  Almost like they were themselves zombies, huh, imagine that.

Social commentary aside, this film is truly exceptional.  The sets, are well done, and typical post apocalyptic fashion.  You have burned-out, smashed, and destroyed cars, dilapidated houses and building, pretty much everything you would expect from this type of movie.  Although in other scenes you find abandoned houses that look like the people just left one day.  The scenery really does a great job setting the mood for this film.

The costumes in this movie were also well thought out.  The zombies were all dressed in filthy tattered clothing, while the humans were dressed casually with function in mind.  After all the humans are busy fighting the zombie apocalypse.  You will look chic in these fancy designer jeans while you are smashing in zombie brains.  In all seriousness the costumes were correctly designed for each character.  Although, I can imagine the room full of people rubbing rocks and dirt over clothing to create the look for the zombies.  It is an amazing effect and makes for the perfect looking zombies.

The special effects in this film do not disappoint.  Perhaps the best piece of special effects wizardry is the Bonies.  The Boneies are things of nightmares brought to life by CGI magic.  These are the zombies who have completely given up hope on life and shed their skin to become nothing more than twisted black walking skeletons that eats the living.  Every piece of CGI is used to help tell the story.  It never feels like they are just trying to use up their graphics budget.

Speaking of the story, I will say that the writers did a good job conveying their message.  For me personally, this story was a touching tale of being kind to each other and accepting of our differences.  While this is not a unique message, it is certainly told in a pretty unique way.

For the first time ever, I have consulted with someone else to determine my rating for this film.  While my initial reaction had me rating the film much higher, speaking with my consultant made me see some of the cracks in the shiny exterior of the film.  The biggest issue is the amount of weight put on the love story.  Although some may not find issue with this you will understand what I'm talking about after you watch the film.

As my consultant stated, it is a date night zombie film.  There is something for everyone to love.  If you love hardcore gritty zombie films there is something there to keep you entertained, but it is not action from beginning to end like some others I've seen.  If you hate zombie movies this one might just change your mind.  OK, that may be a bit overstated.  I can say you will at least enjoy this film.  How about this, it has a love story, but it is not so sweet you want to vomit it back out and then burn the vomitous mass into a charred lump, and then bury that lump in your neighbors back yard.  Perhaps that was a bit much too.  I think you will like it.

I rate this film four out of five smiley Mike heads.  I was initially teetering between four and a half or five smiley Mike heads, but as stated I reassessed this rating when talking with my consultant.

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