Somehow, I’ve become “the zombie chick”. Alright, true, no one has actually called me that. But considering the glow-in-the-dark zombie play set on my wall, “A Zombie’s Guide to Zombies” on my shelf, and other zombie paraphernalia I’ve received as gifts over the years… well, I think it’s safe to assume. I don’t know when it happened. Maybe it was because I made a (horrible) zombie film in college? Is that really all it takes?
But somewhere along the trashed, postapocalyptic road, I started to really like zombies. And I started living up to my implied moniker.
When it comes to zombies in cinema, some might argue that the genre is over-saturated. But every once in a while, a gem comes out that makes the other B-movies worth sifting through. Zombieland did that. Walking Dead, venturing into the TV arena, did that. And then comes a love story about a zombie coming back to life after falling for a beautiful resistance chick. Warm Bodies.
My first thought: The perfect Valentine’s date movie!!
Thanks to my local Regal Cinema chain, I didn’t have to wait that long. I was afforded the opportunity to catch an early screening of Warm Bodies with Nicholas Hoult (X-Men: First Class) and Teresa Palmer (The Sorcerer’s Apprentice), written and directed by Jonathan Levine (50/50).
The film starts with a glorious, Cameron Crowe-esque voice over monologue that sets a quirky, mocking tone for the film. Everyone these days is into a “meta” tone, a self-aware take on life. Warm Bodies runs, or shuffles, with that indie vibe. At least until the other plot swings into action. Enter the human resistance, the last of all life left on the planet. They’re militant. They’re serious. They send out snarky teenagers armed with weapons to scavenge for supplies.
Let me stop here and say, I’ve seen 50/50, Jonathan Levine’s previous film. It’s a multi-faceted peek into a cancer patients life, and the trials and tribulations of treatment. I don’t remember a bad thing about the movie. It’s wonderfully intimate.
I think that’s what Levine wanted with Warm Bodies, too. But the tone doesn’t carry well into the zombie battling world that’s set up. Just when you’re enjoying a moment with R, the self-deprecating zombie, and Julie, the rebellious teenage daughter of the resistance leader (played by a flat John Malkovich), something interrupts, bringing you back to the sort of ridiculous world it all lives in.
The film just doesn’t seem to know what it wants to be.*
But guys, I’d still say take your girl to see it for a Valentine’s date. R’s vulnerable inner-monologue is enough to make a girl’s heart melt, and she’ll be squeezing your arm during the Bony scenes.
I only wish it could have found its rhythm. Like so many February films, it could have been one heck of a movie. But I’ll settle for the light laughter and corny jokes.
*Note: The film is pretty chopped up… I get the feeling is was edited to pieces. Maybe a director’s cut would solve a lot of the problems…