Warm Bodies - Review
Review by Rob Carnevale
HAVING tamed vampires and werewolves, zombies are the latest to be given feelings in Jonathan Levine’s unconvincing Warm Bodies.
Adapted from the acclaimed novel by Isaac Marion, the film also puts an un-dead spin on Shakespeare’s Romeo & Juliet while desperately trying to evolve the zombie genre. It’s only intermittently successful.
To be fair, things start out well. R (played by Nicholas Hoult) is a zombie who laments his new existence via an extremely amusing voiceover.
But while out on a hunting trip with his colleagues, including best friend M (Rob Corddry) he runs into human resistance fighter Julie (Teresa Palmer) and instantly falls in love, thereby awakening long dormant feelings within him.
Alas, the path to true romance is far from simple. R can only really form new memories by eating the brains of Julie’s ex-boyfriend (Dave Franco) and ‘borrowing his’, while convincing the rest of humanity – including Julie’s resistance leader dad (John Malkovich) and her best friend (Analeigh Tipton) – that he is curing himself.
What’s more, the zombies themselves are threatened by a more primal, skeletal form of un-dead creature that isn’t afraid to feed on anything in its path.
It also boasts a genuinely cool soundtrack and two nice central performances from Hoult and Palmer.
But overall Warm Bodies seems to be as much at odds with itself as it is the genre. Levine’s tonal shifts are uneven and sometimes feel as if they are pandering desperately to its target audience – the dreaded 12A, post-Twilight brigade who love this kind of monster deconstruction.
Hence, one minute R is feeding on brains and the next he is struggling to make himself sensitive and taking polaroids with Julie. The film also abandons zombie convention whenever it sees fit, often from one scene to the next.
Any goodwill that more discerning viewers may bring towards it quickly evaporates as the need to play to formula overtakes some of the film’s more edgy/innovative ideas.
By the time the film reaches its predictably over-cooked finale, you may well be feeling distinctly underwhelmed.
Running time: 97mins
UK Release Date: February 8, 2013