For my second film celebration of Black History Month, I saw a film about people with strange appetites who are prejudiced against mostly because of fear. Also because these people attack them and eat them. Wait, is this High School Musical (2006)? When teens come en masse, I’m always a little nervous. After all, it’s their tastes that generally drive down standards in film and television–and one of them just said she saw trailers (for Beautiful Creatures (2013)) on ABC Family. I was unlikely to see Beautiful Creatures at the best of times, but now I’m here, I’m worried they know something I don’t. One of those things, apparently, is that Nicholas Hoult is an attractive young man as opposed to a budding serial killer with a weak jaw and seriously unkempt eyebrows. He’s no Grace Kelly. He’s not even Gene Kelly.
R (Nicholas Hoult) isn’t quite sure how the zombie apocalypse happened. All he knows is that it did and now he’s a zombie. But really, he’s not so different from some of the other emotionally stunted cretins sitting nearby. He doesn’t know how to act, he only communicates in grunts, and he feeds on the brains of others. Alright, there is one difference. These kids think they know how to act. Well I’ll tell you, it isn’t running up and down the stairs disrupting the movie for everyone else, that’s for sure. Anyway, R and his zombie buddies, including best friend M (Rob Corddry), go into town to score some brains about the same time Julie (Teresa Palmer) and her crew go looking for supplies. The groups collide and R locks his eyes on Julie (to the tune of Missing You) as she rolls into view with shotgun blazing. He immediately falls for her. As he gets closer to her, things start to change inside of him. Something tells me meeting Julie’s father (John Malkovich) is going to be more difficult than it usually is for a young suitor.
Warm Bodies (2013) is a funny, well-made movie from writer/director Jonathan Levine (who also directed 50/50 (2011)). Sure, the metaphor is something a sophomore philosophy major doodles in their notepad during a lecture on Nietzche, but it’s clearly getting a hearing in the right courtroom. We’ve got ourselves a crew of zombies in the making in this theater. And the concept just doesn’t stop being funny. “This date is not going well, I’m gunna die all over again,” thinks R. And every non-zombie zombie action is hilarious. Like when R and M meet up later in the movie and wave hello. It’s just so funny to see them try. Again, much like the target audience. Zombie dating. If you’re shaking your head at this, stop, look in the mirror, and say these words, “It’s okay to laugh. It’s okay to laugh.”
And laugh I did. While I have not altered my opinion of Hoult looking like an odd fella, he’s perfectly suited to being a zombie. His awkward running makes me laugh every single time. Palmer plays it straight-up. A thing to be saved and loved and confused. Warm Bodies ain’t gunna win any awards from NOW, that’s certain. Why Malkovich signed up for this movie, I can’t be sure. Maybe he thinks his days as a father (as opposed to grandfather) are coming to a close and he’s got to get the work while it’s there. It’s an awful lot of firepower for a rather uninteresting character.
Anything else to say? Music good. Jokes good. Resolution mostly good. It’s a pleasure, and not a particularly guilty one. Enjoy.