The hero is tall and dead and the heroine is cute and spunky (and prone to overlook the dead part in her boys).
And everyone here has a sense of humor.
When 'Warm Bodies' downshifts past the downright creepy premise of the world after the apocalypse and finds "Julie" (pitch perfectly played by Australian import Teresa Palmer, a surf chick version of Scarlett Johansson) everyone's heart skips a beat.
The romance between the two is well-developed and sweet. Here the motive is connection, not sex. And as “R,” Hoult finds a “dead”pan delivery that is genuinely funny in its splendid, egoless understatement. (“I don’t know who I was before...but the hoody would indicate unemployed”).
'Warm Bodies' goes beyond the pulse-crossed lovers theme. And better yet, has supporting characters that hold their own. Everyone here can act.
Palmer showed her grit from the gate in 2006 playing a rape victim in her first film called ‘2:37’ that received a standing ovation at Sundance. Analeigh Tipton (America’s Next Top Model) plays Julie’s BFF Nora. In Warm Bodies, she makes a smooth transition from one runway to the next.
The only strange bit of casting is John Malkovich as Julie’s dad. Maybe she was adopted.
A not so secret success of ‘Warm Bodies’ is a subtle bit of lighting that makes the movie, well, come alive.
Opening in a twilight blue tone and staying there until "love" transitions the whole experience to full color is a nifty bit of movie magic underlining. Older teens will enjoy this as a twist on love. “R” is physical enough and vulnerable enough to appeal to both genders while Julie is an ass-kicking survivor who has her own need for connection, and a place to feel girly.
As the PG introduction to the "inevitability" of a virus, contagion, bombing or other strife and the aftermath to expect, 'Warm Bodies' infects teens and tweens with the notion of a post apocalyptic world. The message here is it will be fun and "just go with it." But introducing disease, famine, cannibalism, patricide and hostile “alternate” beings to the PG set is hardly every parent's dream.
And as long as the players look like Julie and R who cares?
But parents of tweens will have to overlook a great deal. All the teens in this movie have guns and one kills a parent which seems like a wrong suggestion for a PG-13 set already bombarded with Sandy Hook shootings and video game violence. Sadly the producers couldn't have anticipated the Second Amendment repeal action taking place that makes "rocks or cans" the actual defense/non-defense against human brain eating zombies.
Warm Bodies is playing in New York at Regal Union Square. PG-13.
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