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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.
For more about Warm Bodies and the Warm Bodies Blu-ray release, see Warm Bodies Blu-ray Review published by Jeffrey Kauffman on May 24, 2013 where this Blu-ray release scored 4.5 out of 5.
Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer (I), John Malkovich, Dave Franco, Analeigh Tipton, Rob Corddry
Director: Jonathan Levine
» See full cast & crew
Warm Bodies Blu-ray Review
Till death—and/or life—do us part.
Reviewed by Jeffrey Kauffman, May 24, 2013
There have been a number of fanciful adaptations of William Shakespeare's immortal Romeo and Juliet through the years, including everything from West Side Story to, well, Romeo + Juliet, but there has never been anything quite like the rewrite given to the iconic couple in Warm Bodies. There have been a glut of literary-horror mash-ups in recent years, outings like the soon to be filmed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies or perhaps (if one were to slightly extend the bounds of "literary") even Abraham Lincoln vs. Zombies or Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. Warm Bodies plies much this same idea, retelling the oft-told tale of star-crossed lovers from different clans who learn to put aside their disparities to forge a more perfect union, while their kin fight mercilessly in the background. In this particular case the male just happens to be a zombie who can't quite remember his name, though he thinks it started with an R, an abbreviation he now goes by. The girl is a still human Julie who ventures outside of a heavily fortified walled compound to retrieve much needed medical supplies, but who soon finds herself in a halting romance with R when R and his zombie buddies attack Julie and her human cohorts in a pharmacy. Warm Bodies is strangely reminiscent of slacker comedies at times, with a deadpan narration by R tying everything together and some weird but fitfully enjoyable turns by a very colorful supporting cast. The film may not be able to entirely support its rather twee conceit, but as far as zombie romantic comedies go, it has some spurts of life sparking through a somewhat moribund plot.
We first meet R (Nicholas Hoult) shuffling through the cavernous expanses of an airport as R's narration gets us up to speed on the zombie apocalypse that has overtaken much of the planet. No definitive reason is given for this sad state of affairs, but it's obvious from the get go that R is one very self-aware zombie. He laments the fact that he can't really recall his former life anymore, let alone his full name, but he at least has the comfort of routine and the halting friendship of another denizen of the airport, M (Rob Corddry). The two basically grunt at each other, since zombies have a hard time speaking, but they are able to occasionally muster the power to emit actual words in order to make their wishes at least a bit more clear.
Meanwhile, we're also introduced to Julie (Teresa Palmer), the daughter of Colonel Grigio (John Malkovich), the no nonsense military leader of the surviving humans, all of whom have hidden themselves behind massive fortifications to keep themselves from turning into zombie chow. Unfortunately, the humans need to venture out into zombie territory at least occasionally to retrieve supplies, and Julie is one of a contingent of youths selected for the newest foray. Also accompanying her is her boyfriend Perry (Dave Franco). Needless to say, R's hungry zombie horde soon attacks Julie's human contingent, and by the vagaries of fate (and/or screenplays), R ends up killing Perry and eating his brain, something that gives R access to Perry's memories. R has already noticed the beautiful Julie, but once he consumes Perry's cerebral matter, he's more than merely interested, and he hijacks the frightened girl back to the abandoned jetliner where R has made a rather comfortable home for himself.
R's interactions with Julie are initially rather awkward (as might be imagined), and Julie obviously wants to escape and get back to her fortress, even if that means submitting to the imperious demands of her martinet father. But her first attempt at escape teaches her how dangerous her predicament really is. R manages to save her and the two begin bonding, but in the meantime, M and some of the other zombies have become a little suspicious about R's new "friend", whom R has been attempting to pass off as another zombie. There's something else going on, however—R is noticing subtle changes in his demeanor and well being, and he begins to wonder if maybe the curse of being zombie isn't necessarily a dead end street.
The rest of Warm Bodies plays out as a simmering love story between R and Julie as they attempt to evade first zombies, as well as the so-called Boneys, zombies who have really gone over the edge and look like CGI versions of those skeletons that dotted Ray Harryhausen pictures of yore, and, later, nasty humans who don't take kindly to Julie more or less shacking up with one of the undead. What's rather refreshing about Warm Bodies is its unironic winking at the conventions of the zombie genre, as well as it rather hopeful stance that love can indeed conquer all. The film offers two appealing performances from Hoult and Palmer (even if she looks a bit too much like Kristen Stewart for my particular taste—no zombie pun intended), and Corddry and Malkovich ham it up to expected degree with felicitous results. The film is neither very scary nor frankly very funny, and it's even occasionally completely illogical (why all of a sudden can zombies run in one sequence?), but it's something very few romantic comedies of any ilk are these days—it's sweet.
Warm Bodies Blu-ray, Video Quality
Warm Bodies is presented on Blu-ray courtesy of Summit Entertainment and Lionsgate Films with an AVC encoded 1080p transfer in 2.40:1. Warm Bodies has been very aggressively color graded, as is patently obvious in the bulk of the screenshots accompanying this review, though in this case there is a definite method to the unnatural color scheme "madness". The bulk of the zombie scenes are bathed in an ice cold blue hue, while some of the memories have the amber glow of halcyon days of yore. Rather surprisingly, neither of these gambits deprives the image of much fine detail, which pops quite commendably throughout this high definition presentation. The color scheme was obviously thought through carefully, for as R and his zombie cohorts begin to rediscover their humanity, things start to look more and more natural, until by the final scenes we have something approaching a relatively normal looking palette. Some of the CGI (especially the Boneys) may leave some a bit underwhelmed, but overall this is a really sharp, clear and convincing transfer.
Warm Bodies Blu-ray, Audio Quality
Warm Bodies' lossless DTS-HD Master Audio 7.1 is nicely nuanced, though those expecting an onslaught of nonstop LFE or other "summer blockbuster" sound effects may be at least minimally disappointed (there is some boisterous LFE at various points in the film, it's just sporadically utilized). The film features quite a bit of narration by R, which is of course anchored front and center, but there are some excellent sequences of immersion, notably in some of the zombie attack segments as well as the nefarious activities of the Boneys. Dialogue is very clearly presented and the appealing score (which contains a couple of cute source cues) also nicely fills the surround channels. Fidelity is excellent and dynamic range is quite wide.
Warm Bodies Blu-ray, Special Features and Extras
Warm Bodies Blu-ray, Overall Score and Recommendation
Films have long featured disaffected youth who, in the words of R, can't "connect". There's an obvious metaphor here at work that plays remarkably well into the seemingly eternally popular zombie framework. This film has a rather (sorry for the pun) deadpan humor that elevates it above much of its zombie kin, but there's also a preternatural sweetness about this film that makes it really, really enjoyable. This Blu-ray features superior video and audio and comes jam packed with excellent supplements. Highly recommended.
Warm Bodies Blu-ray, News and Updates
• Exclusive Giveaway: Warm Bodies - May 24, 2013
Blu-ray.com and Summit Entertainment are offering two members a chance to win a copy of Warm Bodies. Additionally one grand prize winner will also receive a Warm Bodies book, a t-shirt, a sweatshirt and a mini one sheet poster signed by Teresa Palmer, Nicholas ...
• Warm Bodies Blu-ray - March 26, 2013
Summit Entertainment, a Lionsgate company, has officially announced that it will release on Blu-ray Jonathan Levine's horror comedy Warm Bodies (2013), starring Nicholas Hoult, Dave Franco, Teresa Palmer, and John Malkovich. Street date is June 4th.
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