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Featured Blu-ray / DVD Review: Warm Bodies

June 3rd, 2013

Warm Bodies - Buy from Amazon: DVD or Blu-ray

Warm Bodies was released in theaters in early February, which is a bad time of the year to release a film. Additionally, the early buzz was bad. A lot of people saw the basic premise (romance between a zombie boy and a living girl) and thought it was just another Twilight rip-off. The first trailer showed it was something different, but sometimes first impressions are lasting impressions. Fortunately it was able to top expectations and became a surprise midlevel hit. Will it continue to perform well on the home market? And did the studio thank those who made it a hit in theaters by releasing a fully loaded DVD / Blu-ray?

The Movie

The film begins with an introduction by R, a zombie. He doesn't remember how the zombie apocalypse happened, or for that matter his name. He spends his time wandering around an airport and occasionally grunting with his "friend", M, knowing eventually he will succumb and turn into one of the Boneys, the more psychotic variant of zombies. They also occasionally go to the city for food, a.k.a, humans, with a pack of other zombies.

It is at this point the movie shifts focus to said humans living in one of the cities. We are introduced to the leader of the city, Grigio, who is sending out of group of volunteers, led by Perry, to get much needed supplies. Among the group are Julie, Perry's girlfriend and Grigio's daughter. Also in the group are Nora, Julie's best friend, and a bunch of others that might as well be credited as, Victim #1, Victim #2, Victim #3, etc. They are sent out to get much needed medicine, but as fate would have it, they run into the group of zombies with R and M.

The fight goes poorly for the humans, but when R sees Julie, it is love at first sight, so much so that his heart beats. He is still in the middle of a fight and when Perry tries to Kill R, R comes out on top. It is then we learn why they eat brains. When they eat brains, they gain the memories of the victim, but not just the memories, their emotions. Its these emotions more than the meat that they crave. By eating Perry's brains, he sees Julie tell Perry that she loves him, and this solidifies his feelings for her. Of course, Julie doesn't feel the same way towards him. He is able to save her life by covering her scent so the other zombies don't eat her. (In the process, he leads the other zombies away and this allows Nora to get back to the city.) R takes Julie to the airport and to the plane he calls home. She is understandably freaked out; however, after he saves her life, again, she begins to realize he's not saving her for a snack, but there is something different about him. She even agrees to stay with him, till it is safe, but eventually R admits to himself that she can't stay there forever. But before that happens, something changes. Not only is R beginning to feel emotions and remember things, but so do other zombies, starting with M. This is not all good news, because when the zombies' hearts begin to beat, the Boneys begin to see the zombies as nothing more than another food source. The Boneys want to stop this infection, and its source, R and Julie. In order to warn Julie, R is going to have to get into the city without being detected.

Warm Bodies was not exactly what I was expecting given the trailer. I was expecting more comedy, but while there are certainly some funny moments in the movie, it is more serious than I thought it would be. That's not a complaint, but merely an observation. The film is actually a really good and deeper than expected look at modern life and the difficulty of romance. And the film is a really good romance. Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer have good chemistry together, although the film does have to deal with the obvious creepy factor. Not only is R a cannibal zombie, he basically kidnaps and holds her captive while trying to make her fall in love with him. In most movies, this would make him pretty irredeemable as far as a leading man would be, but here it is forgivable, because he is a zombie, after all. Speaking of zombies and people being eaten, the horror elements are toned way down, so if you are looking for a bloody movie, you will go away disappointed. Also, sometimes the special effects were a little dodgy. That was only a minor complaint compared to the overall quality of the movie.

The Extras

The extras on the DVD start with an audio commentary track with the director, Jonathan Levine, plus the two leads, Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer. It's quite an entertaining track. There are also several featurettes, starting with Boy Meets, Er, Doesn't Eat Girl, a ten-minute look at the creation of the source novel and its adaptation. R&J is a 16-minute featurette on the two lead characters and the actors, while A Little Less Dead is a 17-minute featurette on the supporting characters / actors. Extreme Zombie Make-Over! runs for ten minutes and it is about the special effects make-up. A Wreck in Progress is a 15-minute look at the filming process in Montreal, which has an abandoned airport that they used in the filming. Bustin' Caps is a ten-minute featurette on the stunts and the fight scenes. Beware the Boneys is a seven-minute featurette on the CGI effects for the Boneys. Whimsical Sweetness is 13 minutes of behind-the-scenes footage shot by Teresa Palmer. Zombie Acting Tips with Rob Corddry is a five-minute Screen Junkies featurette with Rob Corddry giving acting lessons. Next up are nine deleted scenes, with optional audio commentary track. And finally, there are five minutes of outtakes. There are no exclusive extras on the Blu-ray, but this is still a lot of extras.

The technical presentation for the film is great. There's nothing to really complain about when it comes to the video. It isn't a very colorful film, but that was an aesthetic choice, not a problem with the transfer. A lot of the film takes place either at night or in poorly lit scenes, so sometimes there's not a lot of details in these scenes, but it's not distracting in any way. The 7.1 surround sound audio track is just as good as the video is. The dialogue is always clear while there's great separation and dynamic effects. The technical presentation isn't reference level quality, nor is it as good as a $100 million blockbuster, but for a $30 million film, it is great.

The Blu-ray cost $5 or 33% more than the DVD. This is inline with the average price premium for Blu-rays.

The Verdict

Warm Bodies is one of the best wide releases to come out in theaters this year with great writing and excellent chemistry between the cast. Furthermore, the DVD and the Blu-ray are loaded with extras. It is easily worth picking up and it is even a contender for Pick of the Week.


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Filed under: Video Review, Warm Bodies, Twilight, Rob Corddry, Nicholas Hoult, John Malkovich, Teresa Palmer, Dave Franco, Analeigh Tipton, Jonathan Levine