- run a household
- hold herself dignity
- Protect herself from the undead with the use of the deadly arts
- Marry a man with a sizable income
In 2009, Seth Grahame-Smith wrote a parody book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I read it at once. Everything about the book seemed to cater to my dark humor and love of all things rRegency. Reading about Pentagram of Death a few pages in, I was in love with the book and immediately spread the joy to all my friends. Fans like me spread the love of the book like a zombie plague. Nothing about this book was to be be taken seriously, and it was gloriously fun. It’s also amusing to note that there is nothing like zombies to point out hypocrisies of society in general.
Those who have not read or watched any of the gazillion Pride and Prejudice adaptations, need not fear that the story will be lost on you. This is a love story between a middle class young lady named Elizabeth Bennet and the noble Mr. Darcy with a second love story between Elizabeth’s sister, Jane Bennet, and Mr. Bingley. Elizabeth and Jane have three other sisters so the mother is desperate to have her daughters married. To be unmarried is to have horrifying future. By comparison, a zombie bite is a mere annoyance.
As the trailer explains, it all started with the Black plague and zombies began to arise. England was sectioned off as estates and villages began to fall under the zombie hordes. Heavy fortified walls and deep moats were created to keep the humans and zombies separated. A new set of skills to protect themselves from the zombies were added to the gentry class. The rich went to Japan and the middle class went to China for the deadly arts. So we find that the Bennet sisters learned embroidery, reading, dancing, and Shaolin style of fighting. If it wasn’t for the constant threat of death by zombies, this would be a pretty cool curriculum of skills.
But there are zombies, and these zombies are not mindless unless they feed upon the flesh of humans. So it’s very easy for a newly bitten zombie to waltz into a building and cause a massacre. This is where Colonel Darcy comes into play. His paranoia has allowed him to develop interesting methods to ferret out the newly bitten.
As death looms around them, the love story still precedes but with a twist. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy meet and immediately butt heads. Then zombies attack. Jane walks through the rain to go to Bingley. She is attacked by zombies. Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy have a fight. Zombies attack. Captain Fitz-William arrives. So do zombies. There is a pattern here.
The film does a pretty good job seaming the traditional story and the zombie story plot. It has been quite a while since I read the Grahame-Smith novel, so I cannot recall if it follows the novel closely. In either case, the movie was light in the Austen style and very heavy in the girl power mode.
Mr. Collins was delightful due to the charming and fun nature of Matt Smith. Smith definitely played the part of Mr. Collins as awkward but quite lovable. I have never thought I would utter “lovable” in connection to Mr. Collins.
The movie was definitely pretty fun but it did lack a sense of completeness. It was beginning to feel like a two hour Walking Dead episode mixed with iZombie. There would be this great buildup but not necessarily a great pay off. Much of the action seems to happen off screen, with the viewer left assuming the worst has happened. Which it doesn’t, the story just moves on. In general, there are lots of zombie take downs but off screen with some gruesome sound effects and blurring of the image. This could be largely be because of the PG-13 rating. Also, I was hoping for more fight scenes with the sisters in their outfits. To see a regency woman fighting is pretty awesome. It was also a shame that there weren’t more scenes of the sisters fighting together. It’s rare to see the siblings fight as one.
Readers of the novel (both classic and parody) will appreciate detail given to setting, character, mannerisms, and the outfits. Oh, the glorius outfits. There are the classic regency outfits that are beautiful. My eye was glued upon Elizabeth Bennet’s dark blue evening grown from the trailer. There were plenty of modern allowances for the movie. Many of the women were brazenly wearing pantaloons including the one eyed Lady Catherine de Bourgh, a character whose fearsome strength was translated right into action and dress. The costumes reminded me of the glorious attire on Once Upon A Time. The most amusing and fitting costume alteration was having Mr. Darcy wear a leather jacket. With it’s stiff layer and squeaky movement, it fit him so well. Tough and awkward, that is Mr. Darcy.
In the ever growing landscape of book to movie adaptations, the movie fared well. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is absolute satisfying enjoyment. It won’t fulfill any gore or zombie mashing thrills. It does have a fair balance of suspense, comedy, action, and fun. Catch in theaters on February 5,2016.