Warm Bodies entertains with a pulse

Grade: B+

Running Time: 1 hr. 37 min.

MPAA: PG-13

Released: Feb 1, 2013

If smearing zombie blood all over someone’s face to prevent flesh-eaters from snacking on them isn’t love then I don’t know what is.

That’s one of several unorthodox but heart-warming acts that zombie “R” displayed in the quirky but clever “Warm Bodies.” Nicholas Hoult played R, an unconventionally affectionate zombie (who can’t remember his entire name) in a zombie-infested, post-apocalyptic America. The vinyl record hoarder soon connected with a vibrant human named Julie, played by Teresa Palmer. The beautifully-bizarre love story began with a literal dagger lunged into R’s chest (yes, literally) on their first meeting.

If its main characters’ names haven’t given it away already, “Warm Bodies” channels Shakespeare’s “Romeo and Juliet,” with several overt but tasteful references. Julie’s father, played by John Malkovich, is the militant leader of the human force and forbids any interaction with zombies other than blowing their heads off. Consuming Julie’s dead boyfriend’s brain to retrieve memories of her, R is determined to win her heart despite the hostile barrier.

While the film serves a generous helping of humor, there’s something quite profound just beneath the surface. A single human interaction is the catalyst of growing love in R’s decaying heart, channeling The Beatles’ “Love Is All You Need.”

As the story advances, R becomes more and more human-like, regaining body temperature and even forming fragmented sentences.

There are countless real-life case studies that prove the vitality in human interaction. We can see what results in the absence of such interaction in the film’s true villains called “Bodies.” Bodies, tall hellish skeletons that terrorize both the zombies and humans, are what zombies become when they start to eat their own body. They are a metaphor for humans who give up on love in the absence of love.

Written and Directed by Jonathan Levine and based on Isaac Marion’s novel, “Warm Bodies” unites zombie-crazed fans and chick-flick fans for the first time under one roof. A corpse-filled feature, this film definitely has a pulse.

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