Plot: What’s it about?
Ahhhhhh…zombies! Is there anyone out there that isn’t simply in love with our undead friends? I jest. It would seem that for every movie about vampires, there’s an equal amount (and the numbers seem to be growing…baddam-chh) of movies about zombies. This isn’t a new theme, of course, as films about the undead have been around nearly as long as cinema itself. But in the last decade these films have exploded in popularity. And the concept is so simple! The undead walk and are in search of those that have life. Yep, that’s it. Granted there are variations on this theme and Warm Bodies embraces that in a way that’s actually somewhat unique. Zombies, of course, aren’t real even though there are several out there that would beg to differ. Just like witches and wizards, werewolves and our beloved vampires – I’m afraid that none of us will ever see a zombie apocalypse for the sole reason that…zombies aren’t real. However writer/director Jonathan Levine begs to differ, so let’s see what Warm Bodies has in store for us, shall we?
The zombie apocalypse has occurred. A majority of the world is undead and as the undead do, they’re looking around for those that have a pulse to, well, eat. We meet “R” (Nicholas Hoult) as he narrates his “life” and what’s really going on in the world. His only compatriot is “M” (Rob Corddray), which is the closest thing a zombie could call a friend. Granted they communicate in a series of snorts and grunts, but you get the idea. We’re then introduced to Julie (Teresa Palmer), daughter of no-nonsense military man Col. Grigio (John Malkovich) whose sole mission in life is to avoid being turned into food for the undead. Julie and her friends manage to make their way out of the compound and, sure enough, encounter a group of zombies. After “R” devours Julie’s boyfriend, Perry (Dave Franco) he’s inundated with an influx of memories that makes him feel a bit more for her. “R” becomes a surrogate protector for Julie, even going so far as to pass her off as a fellow zombie so she doesn’t become one of them. The other zombies, limited as they are, suspect something’s up so it’s up to “R” to save Julie and maybe even see if there’s a future for them.
The premise for Warm Bodies is certainly a variation on a theme and it’s actually quite clever. And isn’t this the poster year for Nicholas Hoult? First he’s a zombie with emotions and next he’s slaying giants. Nice! Just when you think there’s not a lot you can do with a dying genre (sorry, couldn’t resist) this film goes and injects some life into it (ok, I’ll stop now). I won’t say that this is the most original zombie movie out there and I’m still a fan of 2004’s remake of Dawn of the Dead, but this is fairly enjoyable in its own right. Though we’re not privy to how this zombie apocalypse happened, Levine has managed to craft a fairly believable tale out of something we know not to be true. Then again all films are fiction and, therefore, not real. Still, in the realm of zombie movies I’m hard-pressed to find one that’s this fresh. Ok, I’ll stop now.
Video: How does it look?
I’d imagine that when you’re reviewing a zombie movie, the flesh tones would tend to be just a tad bit off from other films, no? Warm Bodies comes to us from Lionsgate and is presented in a 2.40:1 HEVC 4K transfer. This is the first time I’ve had the chance to view the film in 4K, having previously only seen it on Blu-ray. Generally speaking, most zombies have some sort of “deformity” to them like brains leaking out of their heads or their internal organs exposed (they had to become zombies somehow, right) and that’s the case here as well. Detail is razor sharp and we do get the “flesh tones” from Julie, though the pasty white skin of “R” is an excellent contrast to her warm, living glow. It’s a step above the Blu-ray for sure, though nothing night and day.
Audio: How does it sound?
There might be some zombie movies that really utilize every speaker you have and the 4K version sports a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Warm Bodies certainly does have some examples of excellence with the narration by “R” throughout is well-centered with Houlht’s deep, monotonous voice echoing throughout. The front stage showcases a majority of the action, though I was surprised as to how often the LFE chimed in. Granted there are more robust soundtracks, but this one sounds pretty darn good. Surrounds could have been a tad bit more involved, but I’m just nit picking here. This is quite a dynamic mix and it does deliver.
Supplements: What are the extras?
There aren’t any new supplements included, they’re the same as the previous versions of this film.
- Audio Commentary – Screenwriter/Director Jonathan Levine and Actors Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer combine for a rather interesting track. It’s got a few more dead (sorry, couldn’t resist) spots than I’d hoped for, but it’s a nice inclusion nonetheless.
- Boy Meets, Er, Doesn’t Eat Girl – An amusing look at how this particular zombie film came to be and offers a nice little assortment of information.
- R&J – This shows the obvious reference to Romeo and Juliet in an undead way and shows us that love is in the (undead) air.
- A Little Less Dead – A casting featurette shows us how the cast was assembled.
- Extreme Zombie Makeover! – Make-up artist Adrien Morot works some magic!
- A Wreck in Progress – We get a few looks at some of the various spots the film was shot.
- Bustin’ Caps – Don’t let the slow-moving zombie thing fool you, there were some pretty good action sequences in the movie. They’re spotlighted here.
- Beware the Boneys – Essentially we get a look at the zombies in the movie.
- Whimsical Sweetness: Teresa Palmer’s Warm Bodies Home Movies – Pretty much that. We get some home movies, courtesy of Theresa Palmer.
- Zombie Acting Tips with Rob Corddry – Well…yeah. That.
- Deleted Scenes – These total, though none really add anything to the film. These have optional audio commentary by Director Jonathan Levine.
- “Shrug & Groan” Gag Reel
- Theatrical Trailer
The Bottom Line
With the plethora of zombie movies out there, I’m willing to bet that everyone has their favorite. While entertaining, Warm Bodies isn’t at the top of my list, but I enjoyed watching it again after having not seen it since its initial Blu-ray release. It’s a step up from the Blu-ray with a 4K image and a Dolby Atmos soundtrack. Essentially it’s identical to the previous 4K release from Lionsgate. If Steelbooks are your thing (and this film in particular) look no further.