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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

17 Feb

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Poster

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains.”

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies Book

First there was a book and now there is a film.  Again I have failed this blog.  I had beautiful, beautiful plans to review the book and to write a lot of posts leading up to the film and then cap it all off with a film review.  I did none of these things.  I’d like to say that I’ll change my ways and start posting more but that didn’t quite work out last time, so I’ll just be honest and hope I at least get another post in before years end.  But we aren’t here to talk about what a terrible job of blogging I’m doing, we are here to talk about Pride and Prejudice, and Zombies.

The movie has a cold open in which Mr. Darcy investigates a possible zombie disturbance at the Featherstone house.  Darcy uses flies (which are attracted to dead flesh) to find a newly turned zombie hiding in the party.  He kills said zombie and we then cut to a montage that explains the zombie crisis and current state of England.  We then start at the Longbourne with the Bennet girls cleaning weapons when a telegram comes informing them that Netherfield has been let by a young Mr. Bingley…

From here we switch back and forth between a straight telling of Pride and Prejudice with some zombie aspect sprinkled in here and there.  Besides the occasional zombie attack and plot points dealing with the zombie war the movie is mostly unaltered Pride and Prejudice.  If I were to make a split I’d say 70% Jane Austen and 30% zombies and added material.  Most of the dialogue is exactly as it is in the book and in general all the major plot points are left as they are.  I was actually very surprised at how much Austen made it through the addition of zombies.  I wouldn’t suggest it but if you were a high schooler assigned to read Pride and Prejudice this might actually make for an adaptation you could use in place of reading the book.

Here are some of the plot points from the book that (more or less) make it through unaltered, most of which with the original dialogue:

  • The initial ball at Meryton in which Elizabeth overhears Mr. Darcy insult her, largely intact
  • Jane visiting Netherfield and getting sick from the ride over
  • Mr. Collins coming to Longbourne and awkwardly proposing and getting rejected by Elizabeth
  • Elizabeth going to Rosings to visit Charlotte Lucas
  • Mr. Darcy awkwardly proposing and getting rejected by Elizabeth in Rosings
  • Mr. Darcy writing Elizabeth explaining why he hates Mr. Wickham and apologizing for his treatment of Jane
  • Lady Catherine confronting Elizabeth about marrying Mr. Darcy
  • Lydia running off with Mr. Wickham
  • The double wedding of Darcy / Elizabeth and Bingley / Jane

The biggest differences were around Mr. Wickham who kidnaps Lydia in order to lure Mr. Darcy.  Pretty much the last 1/4th of the movie is devoted to tying up the whole zombie subplot.  The gist of the zombie plot is that these zombies only become  undead and mindless after eating human brains.  There is s sect of zombies that eat pig brains instead of human brains and managed to maintain their sanity.  Mr. Wickham discovers this sect and proposes a truce to work with the zombies, to get them pig brains and have humans live with the zombies.  It gets a lot more spoilery from here so we’ll just leave it at that.  I know it seems like big differences from the Jane Austen story but I can’t stress enough how much Pride and Prejudice made it in the movie.  When they aren’t dealing with zombies they rarely mention them and the dialogue is generally word for word from the book.

So what did I think of the movie?

Overall I enjoyed the movie and will probably buy it when it comes out on Blu-ray.  The acting was actually done really well and for as silly as a premise as this movie is everyone is playing it very seriously.  When there are emotional beats in the movie the actors are really giving it their all and really putting forth an effort.  The expositionary zombie intro felt really unnecessary.  They spend a lot of time in this movie world building around the zombies that never really pays off.  There is a whole sub plot about Chinese vs. Japanese fighting styles that is mentioned 2 or 3 times before being entirely abandoned.  I can buy in that there are zombies in this world and that our cast is some how trained to fight them.  The over explaining just points out how ridiculous the zombies are.  The movie would have been better off just explaining it once and not digging in to it.  Adding fighting to classic Pride and Prejudice scenes was really great.  When Darcy insults Elizabeth during the first proposal she straight kicks him in the chest and it is really satisfying.  I said it before but if you were just trying to slog through major parts of Pride and Prejudice as they were written, this movie is a decent adaptation.  Overall I still think it was a fun idea to add Zombies to such a classic work and this movie gives you enough to be entertained without straying too far from the source material.

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Lastly I am obsessed with Funko POP! figures and they have released a set of six for Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, which I will be most definitely picking up.  If you haven’t seen Pride and Prejudice and Zombies yet you should get on it.  It hasn’t been doing too well at the box office (sadly) and will likely not be there for much longer.

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