Sunday, February 7, 2016

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016): Review

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If you know anything about my literary preferences you will know that the Jane Austin book Pride and Prejudice (1813) is one of top if not absolute favorite book. Going into this movie I was not sure what I expected to see but that I do have a tendency to be quite tolerant of movie/ TV adaptations because I love the story so much and that the more period versions have been very good (1940, 1980, 1995, and 2005) not a fan of the modern day version (2003). I am even a big fan of the Bollywoodesq movie version  (Bride and Prejudice 2004) (If you haven't seen this you should!).  The trailer got me excited as it seemed like the move was going for a great style and I was impressed with the styling of the movie although underwhelmed with the actual Pride and Prejudice story.

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a 2009 book by Seth Grahame-Smith which is just what it sounds like, Jane Austin's (who gets author credit) story but incorporating zombies into the daily lives of the characters. Instead of the Bennett girls just being renown for their beauty they are also known for their abilities as fighters against the zombies that is overtaking England.  This book is actually what sparked off what some people would call my obsession (although I just consider it a favorite fandom) of reading Pride and Prejudice variations and adaptations which there are a ridiculous number.

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This movie version somewhat follows the story of the books but as the movie goes on it veers more and more away from and adds it own stuff to the basic story. I understand why the movie did this but for someone who is expecting it to be really similar to the know Pride and Prejudice cannon you will be disappointed. It has the basic plot points but doesn't follow how they come about. If you are familiar with the story you will be familiar with many of the characters that don't add to the movie except to be there for the fans and they are required for the cannon (Mary, Kitty, Carolyn, the Hurst, Charlotte and they completely delete Col Fitzwilliam and barely  mention Georgiana). However if you are not familiar with the story you will probably have a better time swallowing the movie storyline. I don't think that the movie needed to add as much other stuff as it did (come on Pride and Prejudice cant get much better!) but that the movie fell victim to the standard tries to do too much and therefore didn't spend enough time of what it has problem that many movies do.  Pride and Prejudice is hard to do in the standard movie length on its own but adding the zombie aspect (and the in-between/ Wickham BS) was just too much to handle.

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I was impressed and really liked the overall style of this movie. I liked how it was shot and framed and I was not distracted by the close up action shots (which if you tend to read my post you know is something I tend to hate) and it was a pleasure visually to watch. The special effects were good and I was not distracted by anything that was happening visual. I don't really remember the musical score but that at least means that there was nothing annoying about it.
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I was overall underwhelmed with the cast and that fact that they threw in a lot of characters just because there were suppose to be there didn't help with this aspects. Lily James was a good Lizzy Bennett and her quirks went really well with my favorite literary heroine. She looked great as a brunette and was able to embody that characteristics of a strong women although the love connection with Darcy fizzled. She was convincing in her portal although at times over acted a bit.  Jane Bennett was played by Bella Heathcote and Mr. Bingley by Douglass Booth both of who were alright but again didn't have a lot of fleshing out of their characters. Lady Catherine De Bourgh was played by Lena Headey who is awesome and kickass and Lt. Wickham was played by Jack Hudson and I was more applauded with how they mucked with the character then how he acted as Wickham.

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The best and worst casting choices for this version was Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy and Matt Smith as Parson Collins respectively. I am a Colin Firth (1995) as Mr. Darcy fan and do not think that anyone will ever beat him but I am also a big fan of Matthew Macfayden (2005). Where Firth was the rock who you wanted to be there to support you not to mention see coming out of a pond soaking wet, Macfayen was that slow burn that you don't understand why you are so attacked to him, Riley was just strange. I didn't find him to be anything that I look for in a Mr. Darcy and kept thinking that they were going for a vampire feel with him and he didn't really pull the Mr. Darcy feel for me except for the insulting part. He did not have the insulting because he is socially awkward and overwhelmed but that he is just being an ass. I think it could have been better cast. On the complete opposite of this I LOVED loved LOVED Matt Smith (of Dr. Who fame) as Mr. Collins. Mr. Collins is usually a hard character as he is odious, oblivious, and not attractive character but Smith was able to make him this as well as funny and an enjoyment on screen. I am trying to think of a scene he was in that I did not laugh at and he quickly became my favorite part of this whole movie. I want a compilation of just his parts as I am still laughing right now thinking about how absolutely fantastic he was.

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Overall this movie was alright but I don't see many people going for it. It is not Pride and Prejudice enough for the fans (even those who live the adaptations and variations of the story) and I don't think there is enough of anything else for it to really resonate with people seeing it for the romance (no real underlying burn between Lizzy and Darcy), it is not exciting enough for those who want an action movie (which it isn't even at all) and it is not scare for anyone who gets drawn into the zombie part of it.  If it wasn't for Matt Smith the movie would be basically forgettable.  That being said I will probably watch it again and add it to my collection as even thought it isn't the best version it is still a version of Pride and Prejudice.

My Rating: 2-

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