Hollywood recognizes no boundaries when it comes to making movies of literary “classics.” This weekend they have dived back into the infinite pool of plots and bring their magic to the silver screen. Today’s review is on Pride & Prejudice & Zombies, a spoof on the revered novel by Jane Austen. As ridiculous as it sounds, this tale of zombies invading 19th century England is an enjoyable tale that is clever, fun, and quite thrilling with a little imagination. But can the movie match the majesty of the novel, or does it fall flat on it’s undead face? Here are my thoughts on the film.
The story is very similar to the book, maintaining the clever integration of zombies with society and giving it that ridiculous twist. Our team managed to hit the high-points of the film and portrayed all of the major events that enthralled us in the novel. However they took some major creative liberties to spice the film up, effectively weaving a new story altogether. Fortunately all of the elements are designed around poking fun at the Victorian regality, all maintaining the underlying theme of Pride and Prejudice. The movie is funny at many points, and the ridiculous twist to the literary classic were very enjoyable. Yet though they hit the key points, the editing of this film was rather poor in my opinion. Many scenes felt rushed, quickly stung together in a series that was logical but seemed to skip some details as they sloppily transitioned into another sequence. To me it seemed the editors had forgotten scenes and quickly pasted them somewhere that was deemed appropriate. Not the greatest move guys.
Fortunately there was great cast that portrayed our characters and looked the part of royalty. Lily James (my favorite) dropped the glass slippers for boots and weapons as she brought a feistiness to the film. Her character was a nice balance of honor, pride, and skill as she brought a whole new definition of girl power to life. Sam Riley plays Mr. Darcy, and certainly has the roguish nature down pat, including a dazzling display of stage combat that would fit well in fantasy movies. However, he displays very flat emotion and was a bit boring for a main character. Jack Huston on the other hand captured the part of the villain perfectly, capturing all the shadiness, deceit, and ire necessary for a good antagonist to have. Other characters, including the zombie extras played their parts well, but many of them were underutilized and underdeveloped, which which was disappointing to see.
Despite the limitations to their cast though, the design, costume, and makeup teams were on point in this movie. The setting itself was beautiful, the movie filled with rich, elaborate manors littered with English history. Various shots of the countryside and fields of the estate only further brought me into the world, making me feel as if I had stepped back in time to this…alternate reality. Costumes further brought the mood to life with elaborate dresses that were fitting of the times, but laced with a cool edge that many heroes are associated with. And for those who appreciate the more physical qualities, many costumes showed off our characters’ figures quite well and that’s all I’m saying. And of course props to the makeup department for once more proving Hollywood have the art of making people undead to a science. Grotesque visages superimposed with natural skin never ceases to amaze me, and this film continues to show just how important makeup artists are to bringing the horror of zombies to life.
All of this aside though, the thing that truly roped me into seeing this film was the potential for action. Unfortunately I was disappointed once more. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has little of the adrenaline pumping moments I had expected. A few fights are impressive, but were short lived to mere seconds before abruptly ending. Despite the foreshadowing and story buildup, many of the action sequences are reduced to quick bouts of a character violently stabbing and stomping the victim into a squish, pulpy form (much of which is censored). And to be honest, I was quite bored in this movie, reduced to eating popcorn to stay awake at the many dull moments. So I warn those looking for a thrill to avoid this movie, unless your definition of thrill is rich Victorian dialogue geared at love.
Although Lily James leads the cast in this comical twist to literary classics, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies fell short for me. The story was dull, and the editing robbed much of the suspense and quality I had expected from the trailers. Throw in the lackluster action and well there isn’t much I can say to recommend it for the theater. Therefore skip this film and wait for Netflix unless you are just “dying” to see it.
Cheesy puns aside my scores for this movie are:
Movie Overall: 5.0