A Review of the novel
Katherine: Hi Axie’s followers (especially you Jennifer). I’m guest posting because I was OCD enough to read the whole book, Warm Bodies AS SOON AS I saw the trailer (coincidentally when reading a post on this blog). Now, this may or may not have been because I have a new, slight obsession with Katniss’s ex-bf. Anyway, I will review BOTH the book and the movie for your viewing pleasure, and that can help you decide whether to go see the movie 3 more times as you obviously saw it over opening weekend.
The book was written by the very (not so surprisingly) witty Isaac Marion (who is @IsaacInSpace on Twitter, which, in my opinion is one of the cooler twitter names I’ve seen; he also responds to people’s @’s so if you ask him a good enough question, he may or may not respond to you while you hold your breath in anticipation).
The book is told from the zombie perspective of R, which is pretty awesome considering all of the YA novels I’ve read recently (except Beautiful Creatures, to be featured in my next guest post if Axie doesn’t hate this one with a burning passion. Axie: Naw) have been told from the girl’s perspective. Now, I understand that YA is probably a girl-heavy audience, and I also understand that no one can know our angst like another girl. However, this book is awesome because it doesn’t have any of that stuff in it. It is pure and unadulterated confused zombie observances of the “human” condition. It’s Meta without trying to be Meta (I don’t actually know what that means, but it seemed fitting for this conversation).
Anyway, R is a zombie (if you haven’t gotten that by now then I applaud your ability to read this post while playing plants vs. zombies and also watching an episode of Sailor Moon, thus completely ignoring everything I’ve said so far). We don’t know how R became a zombie, and quite frankly, we don’t care, because he’s hot.
He just wanders around his abandoned airport (I assume it is a cool airport with a mall inside of it, not a lame airport like dumb Laguardia) and talks to his bestie, M. They just grunt and say a few words, which in the zombie world is akin to mensa status, so they’re pretty ahead of the curve already (they probably went to zombie Kumon).
There are two types of zombies in this world, the fleshies and the bonies. R is a fleshie. Bonies are weird skeleton looking things that have no remorse as they munch away at your dead and/or dying carcass. Anyway, R lives his mundane zombie life; he does mundane zombie things. Finally, he eats this boy, Perry, who is scavenging the city with a few other teens, one of whom is the swoon-worthy Julie. While chewing on Perry's brains, R sees Julie in the boy's memories, and all of a sudden, the heavens open up and undead life is worth unliving again. So, after R has one of those slow motion experiences where some power ballad from the 80s or 90s is playing in the background, he realizes “holy crap, these other zombies I’m with are totally going to try to eat the girl of my dreams, oh hellz no!” and he covers her with his gross zombie blood and leads her out as a “zombie” fraud!
After this, we get a lot of scenes of them at the airport where she’s terrified of him disemboweling her and eating her brains and he’s super nice to her but can’t actually express it since he only grunts and says three words (which is exactly how my last relationship went). Finally, Julie realizes R is super different and she befriends him, cue montage of them having a jolly good time in the airport even though there are dozens of other flesh-eating zombies wandering around. Anyway, after a scene where Julie is super impatient and tries to escape on her own (women, am I right?), R realizes he must help her escape for realsies. After M helps them out and we start to see that maybe R isn’t the only one “changing”.
Oh yea, this whole time R has been saving/slowly eating the remains of Julie’s boyfriend’s brains.
And then starts to effing dream with Perry as his spirit guide. I like to think that at this point, he and Perry are kind of reluctant friends. Of course…this is also all in R’s brain so it’s either just crap that R dreams up or it’s like that scene in Harry Potter where Dumbledore says “of course it’s all in your head, but why does that have to mean it’s not real?” (oh man, Dumbledore is so smart). Anyway, Perry is kind of helping R realize that he and Julie are starting to change things.
The book is really funny, like witty funny. And it’s a pretty good characterization of someone who is, for all intents and purposes, dead. So I applaud you Isaac Marion for both your twitter handle and your ability to make me sympathize with a character who would eat my brainz.
End of Part 1 (flip tape over)…
Warm Bodies: A Review of the FilmOkay, this is where it gets real, because I’m going to blow your mind with awesome comparisons between the book and the movie! I’m going to get super intense, so this is also where the swearing may start (if Axie doesn’t edit it out Axie: No way). So let’s get this shit started!
|I am Nicholas Hoult. I like blackbirds.|
So Nick Hoult brings T-Palm back to his airplane and they have lots of awesomely awkward scenes where she cries and he stares at her (also how my last relationship went). The book has a bunch of weird zombie life-style scenes where R had gotten zombie married and adopted zombie kids, the only reference we see to this in the movie are two zombie kids that pop up randomly to watch R and Julie’s romance bloom.
Anyway, there’s also crap in the book about the bonies that shows where they’re coming from. They have weird “sermons” in the middle of a circle made out of stair cars (you know, like the one Michael Bluth drives). I guess this is the zombie church, but mostly it’s bonies yelling to the heavens at their zombie God. Also, bonies and adult zombies teach the kid zombies how to hunt/kill humans with human cattle that they have captured and brought back to the airport (this gave me pause because it implied that the zombies had the wherewithal to hunt and bring back the live humans without eating their faces, which I highly doubt since it’s akin to putting a bowl of mac and cheese in front of me and telling me not to eat it). Anyway, NONE of that is in the movie, so forget that I told you about it.
The movie does a good job of showing the flash backs, but again, it is without some of the detail like the dialogue between R and Perry where they have heart-to-hearts and you realize that they’re both trying to get by in this post-apocalyptic waste-land. Dave Franco also has some pretty good comedic timing (this is based solely on his ability to cry on cue in 21 Jump Street) which is not utilized since Perry is dead for almost the entire movie.
In the movie they live in a commune inside of a big-ass wall, not inside of an arena (although they do show the arena right next to the compound). This is all good and fine, but it also means that the way R sneaks in is different. In the book, he shows some pretty genius strategic chops by pretending that his zombie friends are chasing him, which simultaneously proves his humanness and grants him immediate access inside the walls of the compound. In the movie, he just sneaks in covertly through the abandoned subway/sports arena (whomp, whomp).
John Malkovich plays General Grigio, which is pretty fracking awesome casting. But he’s not as evil in the movie as he is in the book and that makes me sad. John Malkovich makes an awesome villain (he also makes an awesome puppet, just ask John Cusack). Anyway, I guess the reason they wanted John Malkovich to be not so evil in the movie is because…
…in the book, when he refuses to accept that the zombies are curing themselves he pretty much commits suicide and dies, leaving Julie an orphan.
Also, there are parts in the book where I fear for the preservation of R’s undead body. You can pretty much get the gist that he is starting to cure himself and become human again about ¾ into the movie. But he still does dumb zombie things, like get himself attacked by bonies and fall off of roofs. So I kept wondering, when will he jump off a roof and break his neck and be like “oh crap, I’m mostly human now and now I can’t feel my legs”. Anyway, that doesn’t end up happening, but I kept worrying it would (or that he would lose a limb before he became human and then he would be an armless human). Anyway, the movie has a much happier ending where General Grigio accepts R’s human-ness and they drive off into the sunset and show the world being reborn.
In the book, it goes a step further and has a scene where the little kids (who were crappy zombies because they had the wide-eyed innocence of children still) are mostly human again, so they have a “mission” to paste pictures of human love and happiness all over, which works to allow the adult zombies to feel again. This makes them turn human again and all is good with the world. Oh, also, in the book R’s zombie kids are now R and Julie’s human kids, so instant Teen Mom status! Stay tuned for Isaac Marion’s next book How Did My Life Become THIS?! told from Julie’s perspective.
All Gifs and Pictures from Tumblr