Jane Austen’s classic tale of the tangled relationships between lovers from different social classes in 19th century England is faced with a new challenge — an army of undead zombies.
Written by: Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith
Directed by: Burr Steers
Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Ellie Bamber, Millie Brady, Suki Waterhouse, Douglas Booth, Sally Phillips, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Matt Smith, Emma Greenwell
Okay, I’ll admit it: I managed to get a Master’s of English without reading Jane Austen.
Don’t judge me: I read my Thomas Hardy and John Fowles. Heck, I even read “Wuthering Heights” in high school, so I’m allowed to have skipped Austen.
Indeed, I didn’t even read Seth Grahame-Smith’s novel that provides the basis for the film.
But sometimes it’s nice to go into a movie cold. Having read the book can often ruin a movie, as happened for me with another zombie movie: World War Z.
That being said, I enjoyed this movie. Not for its sparkling dialogue, which is everything I’ve always imagined Austen’s dialogue to be like, but for the way that it is possible to tell when that dialogue has been lifted from some boring, stuffy, Victorian conversation in the original novel and transplanted into a fight scene, all of which are entertaining.
And I mean that. It’s fun working out when the words “guns” and “swords” have replaced other, more genteel words, like “needlepoint,” “dancing” or some other equally boring activity that Victorian women were forced to do in order to land a husband to “take care of them.”
I was wondering how they were going to explain the incredible proficiency all of the characters have in hand-to-hand combat with swords and knives, and they did that nicely. It might have been nice to see a shot of a bunch of English girls and boys arriving in Japan and China to meet their Masters. A bunch of aristocrats getting beat up? That’s a good time.
On the downside, it was pretty easy to figure out who the “villain” was, and now I find I’m a bit curious as to what his original villainy was in Austen’s version. He certainly wasn’t leading an army of the undead in an uprising against Great Britain.
Perhaps my biggest peeve with the film, however (and one of the few, really), was the obligatory Hollywood escape/explosion sequence at the end. You know it’s coming a half-hour before it happens when they announce the last-ditch defensive effort against the zombies, but you hope they find another way to do it.
But they don’t.
Regardless, if you want to have a fun night out to see a movie, I highly recommend Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.
I mean, it’s zombies: what’s more fun than that?