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“Warm Bodies” – Early Review (SO-SO POSITIVE)

January 30, 2013

Screen shot 2013-01-30 at 12.22.42 PMJonathan Levine, the director of such indie hits as “50/50”“The Wackness” makes a more commercial debut in this twisted romantic comedy take on the zombie genre. The movie has a lot of good ideas and it’s intentions are pure, which I truly admire, but it’s weak dialogue and laughable CGI creature effects stop it from true greatness.

R (Nicholas Hoult) is not your typical teenage guy, heck, he’s not your typical teenage zombie. Sure he’ll eat your brains, but he’ll feel conflicted for it. He collects random things the apocalyptic world has left behind, he lives on a 747 airplane, mumbles small words here & there, and his best friend (Rob Corddry) is…well a zombie too. Then one day, R meets Julie (Theresa Palmer) while attacking a group of human rebels. As R finds himself chewing on Julie’s boyfriend’s brains (Dave Franco), one glimpse at Julie and R has something triggered in him he never felt before; a heartbeat.

Levine doesn’t bullshit us here, he knows that audiences have seen it all when it comes to the zombie genre. So, necessary liberties are taken into account to change it up, perhaps for the better too. One thing that stands out was the eating of the brains, contain yourself as I divulge, R and many other zombies cannot remember who they were or anything for that matter, but when the taste of brains hits their tongues, they can instantly see the memories of that victim. That. Is. Pretty. Clever. There’s a few other twists and mild turns on the zombie loar, but the brains one is my favorite.

Hoult & Palmer have great chemistry here, from the moment R places a blanket over a scared Julie, there’s this moment you realize that these two could very well connect. The tool of music is used throughout the film a lot, it’s something that R finds himself connecting to on a human level, Levine is known for conjuring a great soundtrack for his films, when you’ve got Bruce Springsteen’s Hungry Heart playing in a romantic zombie film, you know you’ve done something right.

The film does something I don’t think many people are gonna miss, it’s straight up allagory to Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet (R & Julie, get it) and it does I think in a respectable fashion, while not beating around the bush too hard. There is that cheesy balcony moment, all takes of the story must have, but it’s not done in the same way you would think, but it was a nice little nod.

Be that as it may, my guff with the film, and to me it’s a BIG guff, the dialogue in the film is so weak! Lame brain stuff and just basic words, which is weird to say, but everything people are saying to one another just sounds like it was clearly written in a script and doesn’t find itself to flesh out as something more organic. This isn’t “50/50” dialogue we’re talking about here, Levine didn’t write that film, but he did write “The Wackness”, and that film had some good 90’s style dialogue, but here, I don’t know what his excuse is. The best friend character of Julie, played by Analeigh Tipton, everything she said, I found myself rolling my eyes.

Again, it’s not a bad movie, it’s just mildly flawed, the ideas are pure and I overall found myself enjoying the movie for what it is, not to mention it’s killer soundtrack. Rob Corddry has an amusing supporting role as R’s best zombie bud and the mild words he does say are quite priceless. It’s not Jonathan Levine’s worst movie, it’s not his best movie, but it’s a good enough commercial start, if that’s the direction he’s heading.

GRADE: B-

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One Comment leave one →
  1. February 6, 2013 8:25 am

    Right when I have seen trailer of Warm Bodies, I knew it was different. Connecting Pride and Prejudice or Abraham Lincoln with zombies is silly. There has been enough of zombie drama too. But this is a comedy. And a smart one. And heart-warming. Though it wasn’t perfect, they did something right. Thanks for your thoughts.

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