Warm Bodies (Blu-ray)

June 26, 2013 8 Min Read

Review by: Matt Brighton

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 really 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 AVC HD transfer.  This being a new to Blu-ray film, my expectations were high and the film didn’t disappoint.  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.  Black levels are on the mark and save for a few blips here and there, this is one fine-looking transfer.

Audio: How does it sound?

There might be some zombie movies that really utilize every speaker you have and with its DTS HD Master Audio soundtrack, Warm Bodies certainly does have some examples of excellence.  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?

An early hit of 2013, Lionsgate has loaded down this Blu-ray with a bevy of supplements starting out with an audio commentary by writer/director Jonathan Levine.  He’s joined by Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer as the trio give their insights on the film, the additional shooting time used and some more technical information.  A good listen. “Boy Meets, Er, Doesn’t Eat Girl” is an amusing look at how this particular zombie film came to be and offers a nice little assortment of information.  “R&J” shows the obvious reference to Romeo and Juliet in an undead way and shows us that love is in the (undead) air.  There are a quartet of features that focus on the more technical aspects of the film like makeup, CGI and shooting locations.  Actress Teresa Palmer also has some home movies that are shown and we get some deleted scenes with director commentary, a gag reel and the original trailer.  An UltraViolet copy is also included.

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