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New film 'Warm Bodies' is not another Twilight – Review

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Perusing the chat boards while preparing to write my review of the new film, ‘Warm Bodies’ starring Nicholas Hoult (X-Men-First Class) and Teresa Palmer (I Am Number Four) the first thing I come across are people comparing it to the Stephanie Meyer’s Twilight books/films. The barage of negative comments are coming from those who have not actually seen the film. I feel compelled to combine clearing up some of those misconceptions along with my spoiler-free review.

‘Warm Bodies,’ opening this weekend is about a zombie (Hoult) named “R” who survives on eating the flesh of humans in a post apocalyptic world. He especially likes the brains because when he eats them, he can re-live those memories contained in the flesh. Sounds gross, and you may be wondering how in the world could this be classified as a Romantic Comedy that is also a horror film?

The story is based on a book of the same title from writer, Isaac Marion. The film comes from writer/director Jonathan Levine who did the recent 50/50 film starring Joseph Gordon-Levitt.

Nic Hoult and Teresa Palmer

“R” is a tongue tied zombie who laments inwardly about his life and what’s missing from it. Namely, someone to love. It’s a classic story of boy meets girl, with an original twist. Think Romeo and Juliet thrown in with the zombie fun of Simon Pegg’s Shaun of the Dead.

Critics are loving this film. It has a 100% score on Rotten Tomatoes (Jan. 30th) with 9 counted so far, which is super good if you follow those scores for a film of this nature. I screened the movie about a month ago. I loved it so much that when they had another screening for the public, I got tickets for five friends; And all of them loved it and want to see it again. It’s that entertaining. The one-liners had me cracking up.

Now to the controversy already boiling on the chat boards.

There are many postings on several sites from people saying ‘Warm Bodies’ must really suck because there were no critics’ reviews posted. Secondly, people are also trying to compare it to Twilight without even knowing anything about the film. I took the time to reply to a few to let them know that even though writers like myself who have seen the movie are not allowed to write or talk about a film until a few days before it comes out. So the lack of reviews is not a way to guage how good a film is or is not. They (the studio) is just following a marketing plan and there are many components they consider in the how and when of releasing a film, especially one that is classified as a Horror/Romantic Comedy. In this case, the film has screened heavily across the US and in my Seattle market. Which tells me the studio is counting on the word getting out that this film is good.

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How it compares to Twilight

The female leads really resemble each other. Teresa Palmer is the spitting image of a blonde version of Kristen Stewart (Twilight Films) minus the long front teeth. When I first saw her in the film ‘I Am Number Four’ I noticed how she resembled Stewart. It’s actually erie how much they look alike but when it comes to acting, the Australian beauty has Stewart beat hands down. Her American accent is spot on and you would have no idea she even has that down under twange.

Palmer also, has none of that fidgety or unnatural energy coming through when she portrays “Julie” in the new film. A second similarity is just that the film appeals to young adults. The third, is that the film comes from the same studio, Summit Entertainment (owned by Lionsgate) that made the Twilight films. Other than that, the stories and characters are nothing alike. The themes are entirely different and the acting from Hoult, Palmer, and the comedic touches from Rob Corddry (TV Show Ben and Kate) are wonderful. By the way, as much as Palmer looks like Stewart, check out pictures of David Koechner (Anchorman). I thought it was the same person.

‘Warm Bodies’ has that kind of 80’s sentimentalty that we got from films like 16 Candles but has that humor horror like one of my top favorite films, ‘Slither‘(Michael Rooker).

‘Warm Bodies’ is touching and fun, and you will want to see it more than once. It’s defintely a perfect date movie for Valentine’s Day but you will have a hard time waiting to see it. I just thought of one other similarity to Twilight; It’s going to bank a lot of money. I can see teenagers (who have the highest amount of disposable income in the US) going to see this film mulitple times. Don’t let that shy you away if you are older like myself. The comedy and one-liners are worth the $10 and 1 hour 37 minutes that the film runs goes by fast. Very worthwhile.