After tackling cancer with 50/50, writer-director Jonathan Levine has moved on to lighter fare. Today, his latest film Warm Bodies hits theaters. It’s a comedy that portrays zombies in a different light. The film isn’t perfect, but features a strong performance by Nicholas Hoult. The former child star headlines the movie alongside Teresa Palmer, who plays the object of his affection.
- Director: Jonathan Levine
- Screenwriter: Jonathan Levine
- Cast: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, Rob Corddry, John Malkovich, Analeigh Tipton, Dave Franco, Cory Hardrict
- Cinematography by: Javier Aguirresarobe
- Original Music by: Marco Beltrami and Buck Sanders
Warm Bodies centers on a zombie called R (Hoult). He “lives” in a world where an unknown virus turned a chunk of the population into walking corpses. During a routine food search, R encounters Julie (Teresa Palmer), the daughter of a chief zombie hunter. It’s love at first sight. He saves her and hides her in an abandoned airplane he calls home. An unconventional romance blooms, and the couple is soon threatened by her father’s militia and his zombie brethren.
- Nicholas Hoult: Hoult is more than just a pretty face. It takes a certain type of actor to communicate without barely speaking. That’s a rare skill within young Hollywood. Physically, at a slender 6’2″, with high cheek bounds and piercing blue eyes, he’s a great fit. His slight frame is the perfect canvas for creating a modern zombie. Somehow, he balances the gore with humanity, which makes R a rootable character.
- Humor: This is a genuinely funny movie. These days, zombies have taken over film and television. They’re used to instill fear in our hearts. Yet Warm Bodies does the exact opposite. It tries to show their lighter side with bits and pieces of humor. There’s a lot of physical comedy and miscommunication that brings on the laughs.
- Romance: It sounds gross, but the relationship between R and Julie is really sweet. It’s intriguing how she’s able to fall in love with him despite their obvious differences. It’s like an extreme version of Romeo and Juliet. No matter what you’ve heard, this isn’t the zombie version of Twilight. The leads are much more sympathetic, and Julie is an independent thinker from start to finish.
- John Malkovich: Malkovich is an amazing actor, and he definitely adds prestige to the cast. But where was he? His performance as Julie’s zombie-hunter dad was so one-dimensional. To be fair, it’s not all his fault. He wasn’t a fully realized character to begin with. He was a weakness.
- The Bonies: Warm Bodies isn’t a $100 million movie, and for the most part they save money using practical effects. Yet they brought out the CGI for these skeletal creatures. Bonies are the next stage in the de-evolution of zombies. They’re tall, fast and have an undeniable hunger for flesh. But instead of being intimidating, their presence was overshadowed by their cartoonish appearance.
Warm Bodies has its moments. The film has good ideas about tolerance and love, but the execution is off. It has the bare necessities of something that could be great. If it was fleshed out more (no pun intended) it could be amazing instead of average.
The Rating: 7/10
Warm Bodies opens in theaters today.
Will you be seeing Warm Bodies this weekend?