"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 takes the well-known Jane Austen story and adds zombies, gore, and kickass zombie-slaying. Basically: it's awesome. Since the DVD releases today, we've gathered together to defend our estates from the hordes of undead and share our thoughts on the film adaptation of this Quirk Classic by Seth Grahame-Smith.
A few years ago, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter was adapted into a film, and it took me by surprise. I'm not one for gore or monster films. I'm squeamish and scare easily, so it comes as a shock that I loved Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter. It was just so different and ridiculous that I couldn't help but laugh and enjoy the wild ride. Thus, when they announced they were adapting Pride and Prejudice and Zombies into a film, I knew I had to see it despite being terrified of zombies. (I can't even look at pictures from The Walking Dead without curling up in fear.) However, unlike Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, I wanted to read the book first. It was hilariously ridiculous but definitely enjoyable.
The movie was much the same. While the plot of the film didn't follow the first book that closely, the story was still exciting and cringe-worthy albeit a little predictable. (I didn't read the prequel or sequel to PPZ, so it's possible they took elements from those books and added them to the movie for a more appealing story arc.) There were so many good moments from Mr. Darcy gutting zombies to the Bennett sisters sparring in their basement to Mr. Collins dancing around like a buffoon. (Basically, Matt Smith was the best part, and nobody can tell me anything different. He was absolutely perfect as Mr. Collins, and he's my favorite version of Mr. Collins. He was a silly, odd man instead of being a creepy, slimy cousin.) Overall, I think the cast was wonderful and made the movie work. My only disappointment was that Lady Catherine de Bourgh did not have her dojo full of ninjas. (She was still fabulous though.)
As someone who hates bloody films, I was able to handle this film. It wasn't too gory or terrifying, but it kept me on my toes and had me grateful I do not live in a zombie-infested world. (Though I think I might be okay if I can wear those clothes while fighting zombies with swords.) Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was hilarious, thrilling, and oozing with entertainment. I even made a group of guys go watch it, and they thought it was delightful. However, I don't know if Jane Austen would approve or if this film will make her rise from the grave to seek vengeance.
I love Pride and Prejudice. I always have. I grew up on the classic BBC version with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. I've seen every version ever made, and while I think Lawrence Olivier was a wonderful Darcy and the 2005 version had glorious cinematography, none of them have topped the BBC version until Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. I've never been much of a purist (with most things), so when I heard the Quirk Classic was being turned into a film, I was ecstatic--but hesitant.
Would they ruin it? I sat in theaters on Valentine's Day, ever hopeful. I wasn't disappointed. I was in love within five minutes, and I've remained in love ever since. I saw the movie four times in theaters, and I've seen it twice since it came out digitally.
Not only is it my favorite Pride and Prejudice cast ever, but the costumes, the music, the wit, the humor, the romance, and the undead are combined with such sheer, delicious perfection that I say, in complete honestly, no other version will ever be the same.
The movie was wrongly billed as an action-horror film--I say it should have been a romantic comedy SLASH action-horror film. The period romance balances the zombie gore for more wary viewers, and the zombie-gore balances the period romance for those who prefer The Walking Dead over Jane Austen. PPZ is one of my favorite movies of all-time--right up there with the Lord of the Rings and Labyrinth. Watch it. I can practically guarantee that no matter what kind of film you enjoy, PPZ has that element. Why? Because it's flawless. And flawless movies are very hard to find.
The circumstances in which I saw PPZ were unexpected. On a journey to go see Deadpool, we were detained by the R-rating, and that's how my brother and I found ourselves in a nearly-empty theater to see Pride and Prejudice and Zombies instead. As hardcore Walking Dead fans, we were excited to be seeing a zombie movie. Our love for zombies combined with our disappointment over not seeing Deadpool made seeing PPZ an odd experience, and we ended up not liking it as much as I hoped we would. However, in the time since seeing it, I've realized that our expectation was to see Deadpool, and if not Deadpool, then a creepy, horrifying zombie movie. PPZ was neither--but it was an entertaining film.
If you think of PPZ as a zombie film, it's really not. It is, first and foremost, a Pride and Prejudice adaptation. As a fan of P&P, I can say without a doubt that PPZ is a really good version of the original classic. My favorite part was, without a doubt, Mr. Collins, who made me laugh so hard. Seeing the Bennett sisters as kickass heroines was amazing too. Sam Riley was charming as Mr. Darcy, and my favorite scene of the movie is his argument with Elizabeth where they happen to be sparring physically as well as verbally.
Unfortunately, I had figured out the main twist halfway through the movie, so that made the movie lack suspense. Additionally, I didn't find the zombies quite scary enough. However, the scene where Elizabeth's neighbor gets her head shot off by Mr. Darcy was brilliant and made me jump five feet in the air. Seeing the woman with her zombie baby was also creepy. Those were the only times I was really scared, though, so if you're looking at this as a hardcore zombie/horror film, don't. It's exactly what it says it is: Pride and Prejudice... with added zombies. And looking at it from that viewpoint, I can confidently say PPZ is a satisfying movie. It's a good adaptation of the original with a concept just wacky enough that somehow, it works. Ultimately, I don't regret seeing PPZ, and it will remain in my memory as a quirky, unique take on one of my favorite stories.
"To succeed in polite society, a young woman must be many things. Kind... well-read... and accomplished. But to survive in the world as we know it, you'll need... other qualities." - Elizabeth Bennet
What did you think of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? What's your favorite Jane Austen adaptation?