Friday, 22 March 2013

Warm Bodies (Review)


Just as the world started to rejoice singing 'Twilight is finally over' along comes Warm Bodies. After the success of the Twilight Saga it's no surprise that a new franchise with the same gothic romance theme is lined up, ready to take its place.

Finally The Sun Has Set
I have never been a fan of the Twilight films. I think they had a ridiculous plot, depressing style and the most boring, drippy characters. Especially the plank of wood that is Kristen Stewart. But when I saw the trailer for Warm Bodies I was intrigued to see if it could revitalize the gothic romance movie genre and give it some new life... So to speak.

Dying Of Laughter
The story is told from the point of view of R (Nicholas Hoult), a zombie who falls in love with Julie (Teresa Palmer) after he eats her boyfriend's brains - which is, surprisingly, a lot more romantic than it sounds. R wants to protect Julie but she happens to be the daughter of Grigio (John Malkovich) the soldier in charge of destroying all zombies. The story may be very similar to Romeo & Juliet but the addition of the walking dead is a brilliant twist. I was surprised to see how funny Warm Bodies was. Some of Nicholas's satirical narration was hilarious as he made fun of the life of a zombie. The scene when he was trying to talk himself into flirting with Julie had me in stitches - and what a refreshing change from heroes in Twilight who were so dour and brooding and took themselves far too seriously.

Dead Romantic
Even though R is dead he had a lot of life. His shy vulnerability and devotion to Julie are sure to make him the next teen heartthrob. Their romance is so sweet and heart-warming you can't help but get caught up in it. But because they are both so witty the atmosphere never gets too heavy and irritating.

Kristen Stewart Is Back From The Dead
One thing I found slightly creepy was the lead actress's similarity to Kristen Stewart, right down to her annoying mannerisms and her wide-eyed vacant confused look. That said, I definitely prefer Julie as a character and I think this movie got everything right that Twilight got wrong: the romance being a lot more upbeat and cheerful and youth orientated and also the addition of some light relief.  That's why I thought it was a bit of a shame that they felt the need to have a Kristen Stewart lookalike in the central role.

RIP - Romance Is Predictable
Yet again this was a film that fell victim to what I like to call trailer trashing! In other words, the trailer, while selling the film well, also completely gave away the ending. It was a clever film but I was kind of hoping for a twist at the end, which would have made it less predictable after having seen the trailer. Given all the references to Romeo and Juliet, I was half expecting them both to end up dead but sadly the payoff was a lot more cheesy - which was kind of a shame given how sharp and satirical the film had been up to that point.

Don't worry if you're not a romance fan because Warm Bodies also has a lot of exciting action-packed chase scenes. It actually has a lot of similarities both in atmosphere and plot to the high-concept horror 28 Days Later. I enjoyed both films with the same enthusiasm but hard-core fans of the British zombie apocalypse genre may be disgusted by this lovey dovey watered-down version.

While it is really freaky the way so many teen romance movies now feature dead heroes (is Hollywood trying to turn young girls on to necrophilia!) as far as paranormal romances go this is one of the best I've seen so far.

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