I had absolutely no expectations going into Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and that’s probably the best way to see a movie.
When you go into a movie with no expectations, it allows you to be pleasantly surprised! Jane Austen is one of my favorite authors. I have the one-volume edition of her collected works. The 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice is a staple of my movie collection. When I heard about the book Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, I’m sure that I scoffed and rolled my eyes, because I can be pretty judgmental sometimes. I still haven’t read it. But when I was given the chance to see the movie, I thought, “Why the hell not?” Mostly because I like free movies. And Matt Smith.
This movie is amazing. Oh, it’s ridiculous, to be sure, but that doesn’t make it any less entertaining. Again, I haven’t read the book, but I’ve read the original source material, and I didn’t realize just how seamlessly all the stuff about zombies truly fits into the dialogue. The opening credits introduce the audience to the tale of a plague brought by travelers that quickly spreads throughout Europe. It’s actually a fairly believeable scenario, and the graphics in the sequence are beautiful. This is basically a P&P zombie apocalypse AU, and it’s perfect.
Obviously there are some alterations to the story – aside from the whole plague thing, you know – but I think that those changes fit well within the narrative constructed. We’re introduced to Darcy right at the beginning, through a neutral setting, rather than first meeting him through Elizabeth’s eyes. Wickham also plays a slightly larger role, and in this case I think his hostility towards Darcy is a little more justified. There is less emphasis on marriage, though it is still a significant plot line, and more emphasis on staying alive. Zombies, you know. It isn’t about finding husbands so that the Bennett sisters can be taken care of, it’s about giving them the opportunity to take care of themselves. Right on.
For those who are worried about the relationship between Elizabeth and Darcy (an understandable fear, as their relationship is the cornerstone of the story), don’t be. Lily James and Sam Riley have amazing chemistry, and the famous proposal scene in particular is spectacular. Even with frequent zombie attacks, there is still plenty of time for romantic misunderstandings, and you can plainly see the development in their relationship.
There was more humor in the script than I was expecting, and most of this was carried off with considerable aplomb by Matt Smith as Mr. Collins. Thankfully, they didn’t stick him in more scenes than necessary, because while he did an excellent job with the character – especially his comedic timing – it’s not really a role that would work if he were in the film too often. Some of the humor also comes from the juxtaposition of people in period attire with, you know, zombies. I actually laughed out loud quite a few times, which was a nice surprise.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is visually stunning. As I mentioned, the juxtaposition is rather funny, but it is also exceedingly well done. The makeup for the zombies is exquisite, the special effects are phenomenal, and the costumes are fantastic. But what truly sells this movie are the fight scenes. They are just as well choreographed as the dance sequences. I didn’t realize that ladies kicking ass in period attire was something that I needed to see, but now I need to see it in everything, so can people get on that, please?
In short, this was just a really fun movie, and I had a great time watching it. It has something for everyone; there’s romance, action, humor. There are a lot of ladies being awesome and ladies coming together and ladies kicking ass. I mean, what more are you looking for in a movie?
Author: Jamie Sugah
Jamie has a BA in English with a focus in creative writing from The Ohio State University. She self-published her first novel, The Perils of Long Hair on a Windy Day, which is available through Amazon. She is currently an archivist and lives in New York City with her demon ninja vampire cat. She covers television, books, movies, anime, and conventions in the NYC area.
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