A Pair of Star Crossed Lovers – ★★½
“O Romeo, Romeo! Wherefore art thou Romeo?” Sorry to be the one that breaks it to you Juliet, but he’s dead, and not the good dead, the brain eating zombie type of dead. So here we have the story of Warm Bodies, the latest offering from Jonathan Levine, a zombie yarn with many novelties that doesn’t quite deliver.
R (Nicholas Hoult) is one of the many zombies left aimlessly wandering the Earth trying to cope with the painful boredom and loneliness that has ensued after the downfall of mankind. He spends large chunks of the film narrating his situation as he can’t talk due to being an aforementioned zombie. Being adapted from Isaac Marion’s novel of the same name, Warm Bodies has to use a voice over to set things up quickly not allowing us time to piece things together for ourselves and greatly overstays its welcome. When R comes across Julie (Teresa Palmer) his whole world changes and the lust for brains begins to subside.
Taking Julie to his aeroplane hideaway, R must keep her safe while trying to woo her heart using only his incomprehensible mumblings. As if falling for a dead guy wasn’t enough, Julie also happens to be the daughter of the leader of the uninfected humans, played by John Malkovich. He is hell bent on wiping all zombies off the planet and won’t listen to suggestions that they might be finding a cure. Malkovich isn’t the only noteworthy cameo, with Dave Franco (21 Jump Street), Analeigh Tipton (Damsels in Distress) and Rob Corddry (Hot Tub Time Machine) there is a solid, if brief supporting cast.
Hoult and Palmer work well together and the chemistry is believable. The fact that Hoult can’t talk for 85% of the film and is reliant on a voice-over begins to grate. Like all good zombie movies there is the brief hinting that the whole story is an analogy for how we’ve become too dependant on social media and gadgets as we lose touch with each other. This is merely hinted though as the love story takes centre stage. Bodies has some good elements, particularly the reason for brain eating and kudos for the CGI as the creatures known as the “Bonies” certainly warrant the 12A rating.
Director Jonathan Levine’s recent films, 50/50 and The Wackness have been well received and show he is a director with talent. He manages here to construct certainly one of the oddest versions of Romeo and Julliet and I’d imagine the target audience won’t have seen Shaun of the Dead so will be suitably impressed. Good in parts, but missing the brain cell or two that would make it one to remember.
USA / Directed By: Jonathan Levine / Written By: Jonathan Levine / Starring: Nicholas Hoult, Teresa Palmer, John Malkovich, Dave Franco, Analeigh Tipton, Rob Corddry / 98min / Comedy, Horror, Romance / Release: 8 February 2013 (Ireland, UK), 1 February 2013 (USA, Canada)