Warm Bodies – Novel vs. Movie {Review}

Warm BodiesWarm Bodies
Series: Warm Bodies #1
by Isaac Marion
Published by Atria on April 26, 2011
Genres: Sci-Fi
Pages: 239
Format: Hardcover
Source: Borrowed from Library
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R is a young man with an existential crisis--he is a zombie. He shuffles through an America destroyed by war, social collapse, and the mindless hunger of his undead comrades, but he craves something more than blood and brains. He can speak just a few grunted syllables, but his inner life is deep, full of wonder and longing. He has no memories, no identity, and no pulse. Just dreams.

After experiencing a teenage boy's memories while consuming his brain, R makes an unexpected choice that begins a tense, awkward, and strangely sweet relationship with the victim's human girlfriend. Julie is a burst of vibrant color in the otherwise dreary and gray landscape that R lives in. His decision to protect her will transform not only R, but his fellow Dead, and perhaps their whole lifeless world...

Scary, funny, and surprisingly poignant, Warm Bodies is about being alive, being dead and the blurry line in between.


Book Review:

I had a little bit of trouble getting into this book at the beginning. Lately I’ve been on a major zombie kick, scooping up any book I can find on the subject. I go through these phases all the time. This time it’s zombies, next maybe vampires, then witches, etc. But I digress. This one was just not capturing my attention at first, but I was desperate to watch the movie adaptation of the book, so I HAD to read the book first.

R was just hard for me to get invested in. His personality was just…dry. Now I know, you’re thinking, “Duh Meagan, he is a zombie”. But hey, I had already heard that this was supposed to be a zombie with a conscience so I was expecting more I guess. So he was a little dry at first……then enters Julie and BAM! Freakin’ Loved the book from there on out.

Julie’s character was what really sold this book for me. She is living in a sort of post-apocalyptic world (post zombie apocalypse) and she has adapted to her world in the best way she possibly can. She has an overly optimistic view of people, easily trusting and generally nice to everyone she meets. It was a really refreshing character profile when I am so used to reading about self-centered or whiny characters. Kids, take what life throws at you and make the best of it!

Warm Bodies takes a “Twilight” approach to zombies: instead of the grotesque skin falling off kind of zombies, these are a milder, made-for-tv version. You know, the kind that a teenager could fall in love with. :) On top of that, these are not people who have come back from the dead as zombies. In this story, being a zombie is like contracting a disease. In fact, it all began with people becoming sick and becoming zombies, then infecting others.

I thought the premise of the book was exceptionally well-built and was made for the young adult crowd to eat up. Now I will put a warning out there. Although I did not feel it was necessary to put a Mature Audience disclosure on this book, there are several scenes in the book that include mature content of an almost comical nature (i.e.: zombie sex).

This was a fun, light, and sometimes comical sometimes heart-wrenching story that I think people of any age would enjoy. Yes, there are zombies, but this is a story about accepting those things that you cannot change and changing the things that you cannot accept. R and Julie are trying to accept what they are and help to change others to accept them as well.

4 Stars

Movie Review:

Of course, AS SOON as I finished reading the book, I rented the movie adaptation via Amazon Videos. P.S. I absolutely love books made into movies, but I have a very strict rule that I must read the book before watching the movie. Otherwise, the book becomes boring and I cannot picture anything other than the actors as the characters.

P.P.S Kristen Stewart has forever ruined Bella Swan for me. :(

OK, back to the movie at hand. I am going to lay out for you all of the things in the movie that bothered the Hell out of me…then I will fill you in on whether the movie is worth your time or not. I will do my best to keep these non-spoilery, but there may be some things that are unavoidable. You have been warned. Here we go, in no particular order…..

  • His Clothes Are Wrong! This typically would not be a big deal, but in the book his outfit is discussed repeatedly and it becomes a part of his character. In the book he is wearing black dress pants, a white button-down shirt and a red tie. In the movie he is in a hoodie and jeans. I think this bothered me so much because I feel like they only did it to make it appeal to a young adult crowd.

  • Where’s His Wife? The movie cuts out a really funny and interesting part of R’s life, his zombie wife and kids. The movie does show the kids in various places but never with R. In the book this was a major part of him growing into a caring human being again. He genuinely cared about his zombie kids and wanted them to learn and grow.

  • Head, Not Stomach In the book she shoves a knife into his head when they first meet which never heals, leaving him with this thin hole in his forehead that he has to cover later on. I don’t know why they would change it to getting stabbed in the stomach for the movie. Was it too hard to fake a knife to the head? Or too hard for make-up to leave the knife wound permanently there?

  • First Date Jitters – In the book they almost go on a first date of sorts while she is stuck in the airport with R. When they go to find food, they find freeze-dried Thai food (Julie’s favorite) and sit in an airport restaurant talking while she eats. It was cute and I was looking forward to seeing it play out in the movie. Alas, they cut the whole thing.

  • R’s Voice-Overs – I think it would be hard to do this any other way, but I was really missing out on R’s thought process throughout the movie. In the book, he has a lyrical and abundant inner monologue that gave you more of a glimpse into his character. The movie tried to include some of this, but it was nowhere near the constant narration we got from the book.

  • Get Out of My Dreams!! No. No. No. Julie was never aware of R in his dreams and never talked directly to him. It was only Perry that was able to have conversations with him. Speaking of, the whole piece with Perry was really down-played in the movie, losing yet another key piece from the book. 

  • Alternate Ending? ABSOLUTELY MY MOST HATED CHANGE. They changed the freaking ending of the story! The ending in the book was so incredibly tragic and actually made me tense up at the injustice and yet closure in it. Then they went and slapped a HEA (Happily Ever After) ending in the movie which made me want to gag. Everything does not need a HEA people! Life does not always work out so well, why do we continue to need this in our entertainment.

Despite all of the above, the movie had some great special effects (Holy Cow the Boney’s were F-R-E-A-K-Y) and they did make some changes that I preferred over the book (like how R gets into the stadium). But still, I enjoyed the book so much more than the movie adaptation in this case. If you are a non-reader, I think the movie is definitely checking out, but otherwise, Read The Book! 

If you have read the book and watched the movie, let me know in the comments which ending you liked better? Did you like the HEA ending?

About Isaac Marion

Isaac Marion

Isaac Marion was born near Seattle in 1981 and has lived in and around that city ever since. He began writing in high school and self-published three novels before finally breaking through with Warm Bodies. He currently splits his time between writing more novels, playing obscure instruments in obscure bands, and exploring the country in his 1977 GMC motorhome.

About Meagan

Meagan is a Reviewing Wonderland founder and featured reviewer. Because reading books does not go far in paying the bills, Meagan is also an established certified public accountant (I know, right) and spends most of her time working or spending time with her family.
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5 Responses to Warm Bodies – Novel vs. Movie {Review}

  1. Excellent review! I agree with everything you mentioned. The book is definitely better, but I thought the movie was actually really good as well.
    Check out Amanda @ Confessions of a Bookie Monster’s most recent post! – “Visited” – By: Janine Caldwell [Blog Tour + Giveaway]My Profile

    • Meagan says:

      Hi Amanda! (I love your blog name btw) :D

      If I had not read the book I think I would’ve enjoyed the movie more. It was well done (except for the bit when their hearts start beating again. Yeah, THAT was terrible and corny).

      The book just had more depth and a different overall message than the movie.

  2. So I haven’t read the book yet but I saw the movie. I really liked the movie! I’m so curious about the book and I really need to read it. I love your review and want to compare both really bad now!
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  3. Great review on both accounts Meagan! I loved the book when it came out because I thought the whole concept was so unique and well done. The whole zombie wife and kids thing was hilarious, and so strange. I wondered how they were going to do it in the movie but yeah, they cut it out! Also that HEA just did not suit at all. I think the whole mood of the book was changed in the movie to make it all teeny boppy, in fact I didn’t think the book was particularly suitable to YA audiences because of the mature parts. But if any zombie movie/book was, I guess this one did.

    Excellent write up!
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