Sunday, 17 February 2013

Warm Bodies - The scoop and digest

Shaun of the Dead set the tone for the so-called zombie romcom and was quite a hoot.  It also meant that Nick Frost and Simon Pegg would be joined at the hip in other efforts such as Hot Fuzz and Paul.

Two other notable examples of the zomcom that may have escaped the average undead eye include Wasting Away and Night of the Living Dorks.

The former is a very original take as it’s from the zombie’s POV with the latter being a genuinely funny German effort.

Incidentally, Dorks and Shaun were both released in 2004 but Shaun walked the earth first.

While not really the same thing, The Revenant can also be cross referenced and is a right blast.

Jonathan Levine brings Warm Bodies into the fray which is adapted from Isaac Marion’s novel of the same name.

So is this more rotten than a zombie’s joy department or does it prefer to permeate the air with an aroma more pleasant than a Sunday roast?

Without further ado, let’s roll, rather than rock.

Plot details and/or spoilers will shuffle their way into view.

The living and the dead who form part of this alternative romantic endeavour include:

Nicholas Hoult – R
Teresa Palmer – Julie
Rob Corddry – M
John Malkovich – Grigio
Dave Franco – Perry

In the aftermath of a zombie catastrophe, the shambling, humans and ‘Boneys’ all play a different role.

While two of those are obvious, the inverted commas are the true baddies of this piece.

These skeletal monsters cause unrest even to the dead and will gnaw on anything with or without a heartbeat...

The narrative is provided by R who is not your average flesh muncher and this consonant is all he recalls.

Meandering around his home in the form of an airport with his best mate M would become boring but never does, because he’s dead.

This titular protagonist communicates by way of grunting and gesticulation.

You see, connection is a problem, when you've passed on.

Our man maybe different but still craves the diet of uncooked meat attached to the living with brains being the ultimate prize.

When he dines on this cuisine, this delicacy not only satisfies his hunger, but also makes him feel ‘alive’ as he receives memories of the deceased.

Oh and R, re: Your Brains, be a sweetheart and leave some for Jonathan Coulton.

Colonel Grigio is the father of Julie and is a tad obsessed with taking out the undead horde.

He sends daughter dear, along with boyfriend Perry and co to loot medical supplies from a pharmacy.

One day in Zombieland, oops wrong film, R and his dead associates stumble upon the living and the atmosphere of a massacre which could go either way seems imminent.

However, this isn't your typical zombie flick and it detours in an unexpected direction.

R clocks Julie in an unfamiliar way and compels him to leave her brains very much on ice.

Julie’s bloke Perry shoots first and asks R questions later but is unsuccessful which proves fatal.

He obviously didn't read the beginner's guide in how to kill a zombie as the chest shot is only synonymous with Alien and/or Page 3.

I’m fairly sure that either now or thereabouts, R paints Julie’s face in blood and teaches her how to effectively camouflage from zombie interest by displaying the stereotypical outstretched arms and moaning in the traditional fashion.

He takes Julie back to his haunt and as the attraction and bond grows, so does his human qualities.

We find that an interest is also shared with his vinyl musical collection.

After walking her home, she doesn't take the news that he ate her boyfriend particularly well and legs it. 

So while she retreats to her kind, he makes his way back to his, absolutely devastated.

Awww, poor old R.

There is light at the end of this tunnel because he notices that despite her abandonment, the human effect has seemingly spread like a virus among M and others.

An undead march toward the human enclosure is led by R and M...

After an encounter with her father, R fails to convince that ‘corpses’ can change and skidaddle plans are the order of the day to evade a death threat from Grigio.

As he and Julie are reunited, they both scurry to a baseball stadium, but Boneys are soon in close attendance.

In a spot more tighter than a new pair of shoes, the only way is down, baby, for him and her now.

R provides a cushion for Julie in a pool way below and they share a right old tongue wrestle.
That passionate snog is rudely interrupted by Grigio and R suffers a gunshot to the shoulder.

It appears the cure is complete as he’s bleeding the red stuff.

As zombies slowly become accepted among human society, they combine to destroy the Boney danger.

M reveals himself as Marcus under an umbrella with I think Julie’s friend Nora.

R is urged by Julie to rename himself but decides against it as they both overlook the city as a society has now been formed that most could never imagine.

I've already mentioned Wasting Away and this further proves that zombie films can be more interesting than your typical gore drenched bloodbath.

Tobe Hooper’s original Texas Chainsaw featured minimal gore and while a totally different type of revelation, the principle remains as this is also claret shy.

Of course, the 12A certificate helps matters and demonstrates that visceral gore was never Levine’s intention.

If you want blood to flow, look elsewhere as this tap will never leak...

The ‘almost’ conversations attempted by the undead folk frustrate the protagonists but never its audience.

The occasional Boney attack ensures there is an injection of action but the emphasis is largely on the unusual relationship developing between R and Julie.

Also, the giggles are few and far between and a copy of Lucio Fulci’s 1979 seminal horror classic held up against R remains the funniest gag.

I take it that permission from zombie supremo Romero was neither granted or sought.

The names of the principal chars are purposely less subtle than a spike up the booty but that’s cool, as this is never a tragedy of the romantic or whatever kind.

Malkovich is fun as daddy and human resistance leader but Hoult and Palmer steal this apocalyptic show with affectionate performances that at first run in different directions.

This is a smart, touching and engrossing tale and even the most stubborn cobra will eventually 'warm' to its charm as this flute toots a very welcome tune.

The admission fee is worth every penny and proves that the zombie genre is fresher than a daisy and decomposition is a million miles away.

You can't fail to appreciate this latest chomp and you’ll enjoy it more than a kebab laden with all the trimmings after a night out on the lash.

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