‘Warm Bodies’: A Lifeless Story of (Literally) Lifeless Individuals

Those who weren’t satisfied with the mediocrity of the Twilight saga will surely find their fix in this year’s first zombie apocalypse movie, “Warm Bodies.”

Directed by Jonathan Levine, “Warm Bodies” tells a Romeo and Juliet-esque love story between a young girl, Juliet (Teresa Palmer) and a recently zombified teen, R (Nicholas Hoult). The unlikely couple bonds when R imprisons Juliet in the airport where the zombies congregate and shows her tenderness. From there, R and Juliet fight against the odds and find love in a world without acceptance.

This charming rendition of the old boy meets girl love story slowly loses its edge of creativity. The viewers are bombarded with mundane performances and shamelessly dull minded plot development. The lack of chemistry between R and Juliet makes the audience question why exactly the Juliet risks everything for the lifeless corpse.

To avoid bad press (or good press, depending on your entertainment preferences), “Warm Bodies” has tried to avoid the obvious connection that viewers draw between it and the “Twilight” saga. However, when Palmer’s performance is a near carbon copy of Kristen Stewart’s emotionless damsel in distress, lumping the two movies together seems the logical next step.

Where this movie deserves credit is in its well devised and fitting soundtrack. Mixing pop hits, alternative grooves and vintage rock, the viewer experiences this coming of age love story maybe not through the movie itself, but through the tunes it incorporates. Additionally, the vast panoramic sweeps of a desolate city ravaged by disease and warfare perfectly set the tone of death. Complemented by the campy soundtrack, the effects produce a warm but eerie feel that suits the story very well.
Hoult’s performance as the zombified young adult is funny and entertaining. His exasperated grunts when trying to express complex human emotion add a tone of humor to the story that helps to distract from the otherwise insipid plot. And, while Palmer’s performance may have been atrocious and withheld, John Malkovich’s performance as the leader of the human resistance against the zombies is, as expected, well done and masterfully controlled. For the five minutes that Juliet’s former boyfriend, Perry (Dave Franco) is on screen, he gives a slightly above-average rendition of a boy blinded by love and controlled by expectation.
However, if this movie deserves any accolade, it might as well be 2013’s first nomination for the Razzie’s. Other than that, I see this movie slowly disappearing out of sight, and out of mind. Then, maybe we can forget about the attempt to assimilate the zombie apocalypse with Shakespearean poetry.

Jokes and criticisms aside, this movie is a bit charming, and it does provide the necessary “escape” that many seek in film. “Warm Bodies” is a good movie to ease people off the Oscar-hype and back into the new year of movies. Hopefully, this movie keeps your expectations low so that future releases are that much more entertaining. If “Warm Bodies” offers any foresight into the quality of 2013 from a cinematic perspective, though, my hope for the future of film will have less life than the stars of this film.