Warm Bodies (2013)

Warm Bodies.jpg

Rating: 7.5/10

A retelling of Romeo and Juliet, except instead of Capulets versus Montagues it’s humans versus zombies. It’s a romantic comedy as R saves Juliet from other zombies so he can protect her then seduce her using a combination of Stockholm Syndrome and eating her dead boyfriend’s brains to gain his memories. It works out for the best and actually works for the story, but that should give you a sense of what kind of dark, gross humor you should expect from this movie.

I think this film does a good job of combining the bare bones (no pun intended) of the Romeo and Juliet story with the backdrop of “several years after the zombie apocalypse.” Using this as the two warring families of zombies and humans actually works quite well for the flow of the story and the humor, which is sometimes as dry as a walking corpse, but if you’re a fan of humor that’s dry and dark then I would highly recommend this movie.

The love story is really good, I have to say. I’m usually not a fan of the romance in romantic comedies because the love can often feel forced or sometimes ridiculous. Here though, despite it being a human girl and a zombie boy, feels more like these two are really falling for each other than it does in many other stories in a similar vein.

I like the performances in this film, which is maybe a little odd as much of the cast are playing zombies, but it does stand out. The performances are what make this film, and the plot becomes secondary to the characters, which are the real heart of this film. And this movie has a lot of heart, enough to make the Grinch’s grow three sizes that day.

There’s a couple of slow points, would be my biggest complaint. Someone accused me recently of having no attention span because I think movies are “slow” sometimes. So I guess I’m going to break that down. What makes a movie slow? Is it slow because it takes 1-4 hours of your actual time to watch the damn thing? Of course not, that’s (usually) enjoyable. What makes a movie slow is sudden changes in pacing, tone, or plot, that also takes a long time or parts where the story is standing still.

Let me give you a few examples, for pacing: Let’s say you have a movie where your protagonist knows where the bad guy is, he just went through some huge car chase and shot some guys in order to get the information. Let’s also say the bad guy is about to blow up a city in 5 minutes if the good guy doesn’t stop him. He’s there. He’s about to enter. Suddenly, we flashback so that we can see the whole backstory of the villain from start to finish. If this movie were paced correctly, this part would happen a lot sooner in the film, probably in the first act as that’s the part meant for introductions, but maybe the second if you want to keep the villain a surprise to some degree. Introducing it all here, at the end, would really slow down the pacing in your movie.

For tone: Let’s say you have a spaceman flying around shooting aliens, the next scene you have a girl giving birth, that takes a long time, the baby is born, it cuts to twenty years later the baby is now an accountant and discovers his wife is cheating on him, then it’s back with the spaceman but he’s just crying in his apartment on the moon for reasons we don’t understand, then it cuts to another person and this is our protagonist and now the real story begins. These scenes have little to do with one another and the meandering on pointless things before starting would be considered slow as well.

For plot: Let’s say you have a story of a man who’s stuck in a time loop, like in Groundhog Day, and we focus on him for half of a movie, suddenly it cuts away from him and shows that he’s in some kind of experiment being run by evil scientists and it never comes back to him again. The rest of the movie is about these scientists. The pacing and tone could be consistent in this story but the plot would not, his story therefore would be slow, especially if it took up half of the movie.

As for pointless scenes: Let’s say the hero has to slay a dragon, instead of doing so he whines to his mom about slaying the dragon, he gets drunk at the bar and complains about slaying the dragon, he goes over to his girlfriends and whines to her as well about that dragon, really everyone just wants to see him slay that damn dragon, but he doesn’t and the only clear reason is to eat up screen time.

So, in my opinion, that’s what makes things slow. But one man’s opinion is another man’s asshole. I think that’s how the saying goes…

Why you should watch it: I think this movie is very entertaining and funny. If you like comedy that can be a little dark or gross then don’t miss this one.

SCORING:

+7.5: A great, unique take on the Shakespearean tale with a believable romance

+1: Superb acting

-1: Slow bits due to my low attention span

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