It’s a post-zombie-apocalypse world. R is a zombie, Julie isn’t, and there’s love in the air. Is this simply Twilight with zombies, or is there more life to this movie than you would expect?

warm-bodies-pstr03WARM BODIES

Director/writer – Jonathan Levine
Based on novel by – Isaac Marion

Nicholas Hoult – R
Teresa Palmer – Julie
Analeigh Tipton – Nora
Rob Corddry – M
Dave Franco – Perry
John Malkovich – Grigio

It’s hard to know where to begin with this one, as I had certain expectations when going in to this movie, and I suspect most everyone else had the same reservations: “It’s trying to be Twilight with zombies”; or “It’s trying to be Shaun Of The Dead”. I can assure you that, right from the outset, neither of these are the case.

ZOMBIE-O AND JULIETTE

This movie is much better than you think it is, better than it should be. Right from the opening credits, with Hoult giving a charming narration, explaining his situation, the slight differences between him and other zombies in other zombie movies, you realise that this is not quite what you expected. For starters, this is actually pretty darn funny, and sweet.

The centre piece to this movie, and what keeps you interested, entertained and involved, is Nicholas Hoult. He gives a surprisingly great performance as the lead, R. His opening voice-over gets across the sad and pathetic life these zombies must endure, but it is his physical performance that really conveys it. The progression of his physical presence, as well as his speech, is very impressive, effective, and gets across the changes he is going through. His co-star, however, doesn’t come off quite as well. Teresa Palmer is good, but not great. She is just on the right side of bland, however that could be because she bears a resemblance to The Kristen Stewart, only with functional expressions and emotions. She makes for a perfectly adequate Juliette, but she’s not so amazing that she would jump-start a dead heart.

The supporting cast do give good support: Corddry is fun as R’s best friend, and delivers some of the movies best words; Tipton, as Julie’s best friend, is spunky and fun; and Malkovich is pure Malkovich, which is what you expect, and are pleased to get.

OVERLOOK THE UNORIGINALITY

That is one of the issues with the movie, the fact that very little surprising happens. The story rarely deviates from what you expect. Zom-boy meets girl; they are from different backgrounds; they bond; fall in love; overcome adversity; change the world; then comes happily ever after. It really isn’t the best written movie, with some lines that simply fall flat, and a climax that you see coming from the first 15 minutes. On top of that there is, at times, deeply uninspired direction, with some visibly awkward camera movements. Writer and director Levine may not be the most talented man in Hollywood, but he is adequate enough. The soundtrack is also a little on dull side, filled with bland non-descript emotional soft “rock”. Also, for a movie revolving around zombies, there is precious little in the way of zombie action. However, this movie successfully manages to rise above these failings.

This is not to say that there is NO originality here. The Bonies are an interesting addition to zombie lore, and the twist on the benefits to zombies eating brains is actually pretty clever. However, as a “Zombie Movie” it does fall short, with the lack of blood and violence one has come to expect from the genre. Fortunatly, as a comedy, and a romantic comedy at that, it is more of a success.

BOTTOM LINE: CHARMING, FUNNY AND FUN

So…It isn’t quite Shaun Of The Dead, or ZombieLand. But it is also definitely NOT Twilight with zombies. It is light on zombie horror, blood and scares, but it is funny, and definitely better than you expected. This is a charming and entertaining movie, mostly due to Hoult’s performance.

Rating: ★★★½☆

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The Author

Cathal Ó Míocháin

Cathal Ó Míocháin

What to say...born in the last year of the seventies, the decade of the best music and movies, Cathal's earliest memories are of movies and comics. Star Wars, Batman, Superman and Indiana Jones filled his childhood, and not a whole lot has changed. He lives in Dublin, with his supremely understanding wife. Cathal voice his opinions across the various corners of The IntarWebs: @CatHaloMovies on The Twitter; Cat Halo Movies on The FaceSpace; and on the Major Spoilers Forum, where all manner of opinions are aired by all manner of folk on a wide variety of topics.

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4 Comments

  1. February 14, 2013 at 10:03 am — Reply

    The only comparison I can make of this being like Twilight is that it uses the term “zombie” a little loose (compared to traditional zombies) in the same way Twilight is a little loose with the term “vampire” (compared to traditional vampires). But that could also be the uber-geek in me that has had far too much exposure to both mythological and fictional terms for specific types of supernatural creatures, many that are similar but are actually far different creatures.

    I’ve been burnt out on zombies since long before the craze hit (which is my own fault for being a monster movie addict), but this one definitely has my interest.

  2. Allen
    February 14, 2013 at 10:18 am — Reply

    Myself and my daughters (YA) enjoyed this movie very much. And we are fans of the Walking Dead.

  3. ChrisInTX
    February 14, 2013 at 1:57 pm — Reply

    When I first read the article intro on the the main page; I thought to myself, “You have got to be kidding. This is going to be pure crap.” but, after watching the trailer, I seems as though this may actually be worth a look.

    I agree it does not appear to be nearly as tongue-in-cheek as Zombieland and Shaun Of The Dead. It does look as though it may have enough of those comical silly moments to hold its own and actually be entertaining.

    It also features Rob Corddry, who is funny as hell and John Malkovich who is, without a doubt, one of the greatest actors ever. This fact alone, will sell me a ticket.

    • Cat Halo
      February 14, 2013 at 5:20 pm — Reply

      Let me know what you think if/when you do eventually see it :)

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