Josh Wilding Reviews: WARM BODIES
Directed by Jonathan Levine and starring Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer and John Malkovich, Warm Bodies sets out to tell a funny new twist on a classic love story; what happens when a zombie falls for a normal girl? Hit the jump for my spoiler-free verdict!
The Walking Dead is proof that there's still plenty of "life" left in the zombie genre, but Warm Bodies makes it feel fresher than ever before. Writer and director Jonathan Levine (who was also responsible for the superb 50/50) takes the many tired tropes of zombie movies and manages to put an extremely interesting spin on them. Take for example the Boney's; exactly how these skeletal monstrosities come to be is a unique idea and just seeing things from the point of view of the undead is in itself particularly refreshing. However, the problem with making the zombies such a central focus of the movie is the need to then humanise them somewhat. Although this later becomes a pivotal plot point which does work brilliantly, seeing R (Nicholas Hoult) playing records and collecting knick-knack's before that happens may just pull you out of the world created for the film. It's just so very unexpected and different. Additionally, while the backdrop is certainly unique, the romantic elements of the film also aren't really all that original.
What really makes Warm Bodies work is its two fantastic leads. As the story progresses, it falls to Hoult to make R more and more human. Simultaneously, he must also make a zombie (who barely utters more than a few words) a relateable and likeable presence onscreen. The effective use of a voiceover proves to be a big help in this department, as does the fact that he's a charming and talented actor who does a great job here. Teresa Palmer (Julie) is equally as good and it's not hard to see why R falls so head over heels for her, even if part of that does have something to do with the clever plot twist of what happens when a zombie consumes someone's brains. Rob Corddry (M) is hilarious and the cast is nicely fleshed out with the likes of John Malkovich, Dave Franco and Analeigh Tipton. It would have been nice to see the latter two given slightly bigger roles however. With a great soundtrack, only a few hiccups in the VFX department and some inspired story decisions, Warm Bodies also benefits from an unexpected ending which emphasises the uniqueness of this clever film.
Warm Bodies may not fully satisfy those hoping for a full-on zombie horror or romantic comedy, but as a mash-up, it works almost perfectly. It's a movie with a lot of braaaains!
2013 Reviews So Far...
• The Last Stand (3/5)
• Bullet To The Head (1/5)
• Wreck-It Ralph (4/5)
• A Good Day To Die Hard (2/5)
A funny new twist on a classic love story, WARM BODIES is a poignant tale about the power of human connection. After a zombie epidemic, R (a highly unusual zombie) encounters Julie (a human survivor), and rescues her from a zombie attack. Julie sees that R is different from the other zombies, and as the two form a special relationship in their struggle for survival, R becomes increasingly more human – setting off an exciting, romantic, and often comical chain of events that begins to transform the other zombies and maybe even the whole lifeless world.
Teresa Palmer as Julie Grigio
Nicholas Hoult as R
Dave Franco as Perry Kelvin
John Malkovich as General Grigio
Analeigh Tipton as Nora
Cory Hardrict as Kevin
Rob Corddry as M
Patrick Sabongui as Hunting Zombie
Justin Bradley as Unknown
Tod Fennell as Armed Patrol
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