Warm Bodies - 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray
- Street Date:
- October 3rd, 2017
- Reviewed by:
- M. Enois Duarte
- Review Date: 1
- October 4th, 2017
- Movie Release Year:
- 98 Minutes
- MPAA Rating:
- Release Country
- United States
Portions of this review appear in our coverage of the standard Blu-ray release written by Michael S. Palmer. Specifically, Mr. Palmer wrote about the Movie Itself and Supplements while M. Enois Duarte penned new Vital Disc Stats, Video, Audio and Final Thoughts sections.
For a full in-depth review of the Blu-ray SDR HERE.
The Movie Itself: Our Reviewer's Take
Warm Bodies is a charming zombie love story horror comedy based on the novel by Isaac Marion. It takes place a few years after a zombie apocalypse. However, our main character / POV into the universe isn't a human survivor, but rather a zombie who is mildly self aware. Though he doesn't remember his name -- he thinks it started with an "R" -- R (Nicholas Hoult) is a collector of the world gone by. He wishes he could remember his life before. Or communicate with another zombie. Or stop eating the living.
R hates feeling so alone.
Then one day R and the other zombies -- including the closest thing he has to a friend, M (Rob Corddry) -- attack a group of humans who have left their walled "green zone" and gone out looking for medicine. What we learn here is that when R eats human brains, he gets that person's memories. And after killing a young man named Perry (Dave Franco), he turns and sees Julie (Teresa Palmer) fighting off the horde, and instantly falls in love with her.
By saving Julie's life, R and Julie will form a relationship that could save mankind. Slowly, through this emotional connection, R is becoming more and more human. And if he can be rehabilitated, maybe the other zombies can as well. Which is pretty freaking great, right?
But there's a catch.
Remember Perry, the guy R ate? Well, not only is Perry Julie's (now ex) boyfriend, but but Julie's Dad (John Malkovich) is the militaristic leader of the post-apocalyptic zombie resistance. It's no surprise that such a man hate-hate-hates (!) zombies, but he also gets to play the role of overprotective father, which is completely relatable.
So these two young people might have a way to save everyone, but will their relationship survive the truth and, if it does, will anyone believe them / not immediately murder R? And if that weren't enough to deal with, there are also these really baddass zombies called Boneys -- they're essentially zombies that have lost all their humanity and have become full on monsters -- trying to kill them all.
I was extremely disappointed to miss this film's original theatrical release. Thankfully, purely by chance, I caught a double feature of Warm Bodies and Django Unchained up at the Kennedy School in Portland, Oregon. To be fair, I'd had a couple beers and missed the first two minutes, but I absolutely loved Warm Bodies and couldn't wait to sign up for this Blu-ray review.
I'm not really into horror-comedies because I like my scares scary and my tension gutwrenching, and most horror comedies lean towards camp and over-the-top one-liners that eat suspense. But Warm Bodies totally nails a delicate tonal balance. The comedy comes at times when you need a quick release, the set-pieces build and grip your attention, and the relationships are lovely.
All of these elements -- from the acting to the cinematography to the production design to the makeup to the visual effects to the writing -- really comes together under screenwriter/director Jonathan Levine (50/50, All the Boys Love Mandy Lane) and his producers. Truly, well done all around.
My only complaint isn't really a nitpick, but an observation of a structural challenge. I love setups where the hero did something bad to the heroine's ex-boyfriend (or husband) before the two destined-lovebirds meet. It's fantastic drama, right? Can he reveal the truth? Should he? Can they survive the truth? But the challenge with this element, or story structure, is that when the truth finally comes out, usually later in the movie, there isn't always enough story time to deal with the grief and forgiveness because, by this point in the film, we're accelerating towards the third act and climax. Though Warm Bodies does an admirable job, it's still a bit rushed in this respect, but perhaps it will always seem that way in anything but a novel. Heck, think of Romeo + Juliet -- Romeo kills Juliet's cousin, Tybalt, and twenty seconds after Romeo tells Juliet, the ill-fated newlyweds have sex for the first time. So, if the Bard can't master it, maybe no one can. (Or, worse, it could be one of those personal things I notice in movies that no one else cares about!).
If you like zombie movies. If you like action comedy. If you like chills and chases. And yes, if you like a love story or two, I highly recommend giving Warm Bodies a chance.
Vital Disc Stats: The Ultra HD Blu-ray
Summit and Lionsgate Home Entertainment brings Warm Bodies to 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray as a two-disc combo pack with a flyer for a Digital HD Copy, which can be redeemed via redeemmovie.com or through VUDU but only available in HD SDR and HDX. The dual-layered UHD66 disc sits comfortably opposite a Region A locked, BD50 disc inside a black, eco-cutout case with a glossy slipcover. At startup, the disc goes straight to a static menu screen with full-motion clips and music playing in the background.
The Video: Sizing Up the Picture
The romantic horror comedy warms up to Ultra HD with an occasionally stunning and gorgeous HEVC H.265 encode in Dolby Vision, which defaults to HDR10 for those not yet equipped for the newer format.
Right away, viewers can note a nice uptick in definition and resolution, revealing a bit more background information. The lettering on windows and billboards are resolute and legible, and the threading in the clothing of various characters is distinct. The tiniest imperfection and blemish, whether we're at the airport or in the broken-down buildings of the human commune, is visible from a distance, and every out-of-place hair in R's messy, greasy haircut is razor-sharp.
Shot on traditional 35mm and later mastered to a 2K digital intermediate, romance and peace with the walking dead are brought to life with significantly improved brightness levels. The Blu-ray was already a great looking disc, but comparatively speaking, this DV version easily blows it away with deep, midnight blacks in the clothing, certain parts of vehicles' interiors and other random objects decorating R's airplane home, displaying superb gradational differences in the various shades. Much of the background in the deliberately toned-down and somber photography is awash in rich, silky shadows that penetrate deep into the screen without consuming the finer details, providing the 2.40:1 image with a welcomed three-dimensional appeal and a lovely cinematic appeal.
Contrast, too, is more upbeat and dynamic though not as apparent as the black levels due to how it was photographed, emphasizing more of the gray tones. Nevertheless, whites are punchier and more dramatic here, giving the specular highlights a healthier, more realistic shine around the edges of objects while light sources come with a tighter and more revealing glow. The stylized cinematography also noticeably affects the color palette, largely limiting it and looking fairly desaturated, which means this 4K presentation is as intended and as close to the original theatrical showing. However, primaries remain incredibly vibrant in a few areas of the dead zone, from the rich, vivid reds of R's hoodie sweater and gooey crimson blood to the electrifying blues of the airport and the few splashes of green vegetation still growing in the city. Within the walls of the living, viewers can enjoy more variety, from the brighter splatters of true-to-life yellows and the homely orange glows of lamps to the warm, rosy-colored lifelike complexions of the humans.
The Audio: Rating the Sound
The dead save the living with an excellent and often amusing Dolby Atmos soundtrack that not much different than its predecessor, though it has moments which make it the preferred way to enjoy the film.
One of the more obvious differences is R's narrating voice now booming through the ceiling channels. At first, this feels somewhat distracting and can draw attention away from the on-screen action, but after a while, it starts feeling natural and makes sense since the audience is meant to be inside the thoughts of the protagonist. However, when he's not in voiceover mode, the overheads are largely silent, except for a few very minor effects, like the Bonies breaking the dome glass ceiling inside the stadium. The surrounds are employed a bit more frequently, particularly during the few action sequences and in the climactic last quarter of the film, revealing some excellent directionality.
Like its DTS-HD counterpart, most of the attention is spread throughout the fronts, generating a wide and welcoming soundstage with superb channel separation and off-screen movement. Imaging exhibits superb mid-range clarity and distinction during the loudest moments, and the music of Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders enjoys the extra breathing room, displaying outstanding distinction in the orchestration and effortlessly bleeding into the sides and front heights. Vocals are precise and very well-prioritized, as well. Low-bass can seem a bit wanting, but it's adequate and ample for the most part in the music and song selections.
The Supplements: Digging Into the Good Stuff
The same selection of supplements are ported over for this Ultra HD edition.
Audio Commentary with Screenwriter/Director Jonathan Levine and Actors Nicholas Hoult and Teresa Palmer: A fun listen for fans who want to learn more about the movie. All three constantly interact, offering informative and funny anecdotes, and even a pitch for Tomb Raider 3.
Boy Meets, Er, Doesn't Eat Girl: Novel and Film Development (HD, 10 min): A nice feature where the producers, the book's author, and the film's screenwriter/director discuss the novel's origins and the adaptation process.
R&J: Nick and Teresa (HD, 16 min): The filmmakers and lead actors talk about what drew them to the material and the project.
A Little Less Dead: The Acting Ensemble (HD, 17 min): A look at the extended cast, including Rob Corddry, John Malkovich, Dave Franco, and Analeigh Tipton. If you love Rob Corddry, you'll enjoy this featurette.
Extreme Zombie Make-Over! Makeup Effects (HD, 10 min): This piece dives into makeup special effects artist, Adrien Morot, and his work on the film and how makeup was used to show R's transformation.
A Wreck in Progress: Product Design and Montreal (HD, 15 min): The filmmakers talk about how they found, and shot within, an actual abandoned airport, as well as in and around Montreal.
Bustin' Caps: Weapons / Stunts (HD, 10 min): Nothing says a zombie movie like lots and lots of high caliber, semi-automatic weaponry!
Beware the Boneys: Visual Effects (HD, 7 min): Boneys are what happened to zombies after they've lost all of their humanity. Despite the film's practical effect and limited budget, these creatures were computer generated (with some help from performance capture) and generally look great.
Whimsical Sweetness: Teresa Palmer's Warm Bodies Home Movies (HD, 13 min): Some fly-on-the wall flip cam material shot by the lead actress.
Zombie Acting Tips with Rob Corddry (HD, 5 min): An episode of Screen Junkies where Rob Corddry talks about how his zombie performance is the best one ever, and various inspirations (move over, Daniel Day Lewis). Hilarious.
Deleted Scenes with Optional Audio Commentary with Screenwriter/Director Jonathan Levine (HD, 11 min): We get an Alternate Boneys Intro; Flashback to Perry; R & Julie on the Plane Floor; R with Kids; and Julie & Nora Walk R, Meet Kevin. Levine is available to describe each scene's original intention and why it was changed / cut.
Shrug & Groan Gag Reel (HD, 5 min): A nice collection of flubs and pranks.
Theatrical Trailer (HD, 3 min): Thanks, marketing department, for showing the whole movie. If you share this movie with friends, don't show them this.
HD Bonus Content: Any Exclusive Goodies in There?
Other than the UHD Blu-ray with Dolby Vision, there are no exclusive features on this release.
Warm Bodies is one of those movies you might have missed in cinemas, but if you like zombie movies, this one's a lot of fun, with relatable characters and real scares (not to mention a hilarious role by Rob Corddry).
The romantic horror comedy finds a warm place to live on Ultra HD with a beautiful and eye-catching 4K Dolby Vision presentation that offers a pleasing upgrade over its HD SDR counterpart and an excellent Dolby Atmos soundtrack that delivers an amusingly notable difference over its predecessor. With the same set of supplements are ported over from the Blu-ray, the overall package is recommended for both fans and 4K enthusiasts hungry for more Dolby Vision goodness.
- Two-Disc UHD Combo Pack
- UHD-66 Dual-Layer Disc / BD-50 Dual-Layer Disc
- Region Free (UHD Only)
- 2160p HEVC/H.265
- Dolby Vision
- English Dolby Atmos
- French Dolby Digital 5.1
- Spanish Dolby Digital 5.1
- English, English SDH, Spanish
- Audio Commentary
- Deleted Scenes
- Gag Reel
- UltraViolet Digital Copy
Exclusive HD Content
- Blu-ray Copy
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