have a love/hate relationship with modernized Shakespeare plays. If they're done well they can be spectacular since the core story is so timeless and inspired that a little sprucing up can make it better. However, when it's done poorly it kicks my balls more because the core story is so timeless and inspired that it seems personally insulting to crap on something I hold so dear. We all know that any story that exists about forbidden love owes its muse to Romeo and Juliet
but it's been done and done poorly so many times that drawing the comparison seems silly now. I had no idea that Warm Bodies
was going to be more than just about forbidden love, it was going to subtly and bluntly be Romeo and Juliet
Full disclosure, when I saw that a movie was coming out, also based on teen fiction, about a girl who falls in love with a zombie after the apacolypse destroys the planet, I thought it looked worse than Twilight because it was greedily trying to snatch up any remaining Twihards that haven't gotten over the series ending and are still searching for the next teen horror romance. I'm not saying that that didn't happen here; however, if you're going to do that, you could have done a lot worse.
Warm Bodies is from director Jonathan Levine and after 2011's 50/50, I'd be willing to trust him in any genre. I consider 50/50 one of the best films of that year and still insist that people watch it when I find out that they haven't. After his success with Warm Bodies, Levine is establishing himself as a quickly rising star in Hollywood that needs to be watched since he's capable of great things. His approach to a silly, horror romance is stylized, self-aware and slick. The make-up and CGI FX are less than impressive but I don't blame him for that since it seems more the studio not wanting to take a bigger gamble.
The cast is impressive too considering their unknown status outside of John Malkovic, who doesn't even have that many scenes. Teresa Palmer (Bedtime Stories, I Am Number Four) stars as Julie and it's really too bad she looks so much like Kristen Stewart because that's all I could think about while watching, although she's a million times a better actress. Friend of the show, Analeigh Tipton (Crazy Stupid Love) plays Julie's friend Nora and the amazingly funny Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine) plays M...zombies can't remember their names. But the real acting credit belongs to Nicholas Hoult (About a Boy, X-Men: First Class) who plays R. He carries almost every scene of the film on his shoulders and hardly says a word, except for his hilarious voice-overs. By the way, do you see the names? R, Julie, M, Nora...it's Romeo, Juliet, Mercutio and The Nurse. Kinda clever right? There are more nods throughout the film including the obligatory balcony scene.
Warm Bodies is far from a perfect film. The entire second act is soggy and drags painfully at times. But the first third is funny and clever and the ending is fun, touching and exciting. All that is made better by an impressive and awesome soundtrack that remnids me of a Tarantino film. But if you're going to Warm Bodies because you LOVE zombies and are hoping for The Walking Dead with silliness, turn around and lumber away. This breaks almost every rule of zombie lore and due to a PG-13 rating is luke warm on the gore (although there is some). This is a movie for those who want to laugh at a silly and clever horror romance without feeling like they're dunked in melodramatic dribble. So go on and take a bite into Warm Bodies because I don't think you''ll regret it.
Warm Bodies (Rated PG-13)
Gavin Grade: B+