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By JACKY TAMEZ
The concept of a supernatural creature falling in love with a human is not new. Stephenie Meyer’s “Twilight” saga and the traditional fairy tale of “Beauty and the Beast” depict tales of uncommon love interests.
However, “Warm Bodies,” the zombified version of Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” marks the first time that a zombie has been portrayed as a rational, loving creature.
Nicholas Hoult plays R, a reluctant zombie that wants something more than just eating the brain of his next victim. He wants to connect with someone, and that someone happens to be Julie, played by Teresa Palmer.
The whole movie revolves around R’s transformation to become human once again with the aid of Julie who teaches R the meaning of being human. Through their bond, they help the other zombies reconnect with their human emotions. The process is relatively slow, but it gives the audience a better appreciation of R, who is a loving, caring man who likes to collect records.
Hoult gives an excellent portrayal of R. He grunts, shrugs and limps into the hearts of teenage girls.
He makes great use of facial expressions such as the moment that R realizes that Julie has abandoned him. The pain on his face is visible and makes one want to jump into the screen and console him.
The voice over narration by R helps the audience understand how R feels about himself, from not being able to control his zombie instincts to being able to love Julie. It also adds humor to the movie.
For example, any love-struck teenager can relate to R’s “don’t be creepy, don’t be creepy” chant as they themselves have tried to woo another.
The special effects of the movie are executed well. Bonies, the skeletal remains of a zombie, are both creepy and scary. Tall and fast, a bonie’s favorite meal is that which they once were.
The audience even witnesses a zombie becoming a bonie by removing its skin from the bone.
The character development of Julie’s father, General Grigio (John Malkovich) is inadequate though. The last minute change of heart toward the zombies at the end of the movie is unrealistic, as he was leading the assault against zombies for most of the film.
Grigio is stubborn and blames the zombies for the death of his wife. He is persistent in his ideology that zombies cannot change, so it is hard to believe that he accepts them simply because one starts bleeding from a gunshot wound.
While the film does include one zombie eating frenzy and some action, those wishing for a gruesome, nasty, brain-splattering exposé will be disappointed. “Warm Bodies” is funny, entertaining and romantic. It is the perfect movie for those that enjoy a mixture of action and romance.