Friday, February 5, 2016

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies [2016]

MPAA (PG-13)  CNS/USCCB (O)  ChicagoTribune (2 1/2 Stars) (1 1/2 Stars)  AVClub (C)  Fr. Dennis (2 Stars)

IMDb listing
CNS/USCCB (J. McAleer) review
ChicagoTribune (M. Phillips) review (C. Lemire) review
AVClub (J. Hassenger) review

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies [2016] (directed and screenplay by Burr Steers based the "Quirk Classics" novel [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] by Jane Austen [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb] and Seth Grahame-Smith [wikip] [GR] [WCat] [Amzn]] [IMDb]) will certainly have its fans and it does have its moments.

For many, the story's premise alone -- which mixes the principal preoccupation of the Bennett sisters of Jane Austen's celebrated "regency era" novel Pride and Prejudice [GR] [WCat] [Amzn] [IMDb] of "finding good husbands" for themselves with a _zombie plague_ -- will be compelling enough to search-out the zombies-added book / see the movie ;-).

Indeed, a good amount of the already quite imaginative / often famously funny "verbal sparring" that takes place between the characters in Jane Austen's original novel is re-imagined here to play-out in the context of _actual sparring_ and/or _combat_ ;-).  For Mr Bennett [wikip] [IMDb] (played in the film by Charles Dance), being the wise / good father that he was, had all five of his daughters trained in the martial arts so that they could defend themselves should they be attacked by zombies ;-).  There's even a particularly biting exchange between the quick witted, never-to-be-taken-for-granted Elizabeth Bennett [wikip] [IMDb] (played in this film by Lily James) and the ever seemingly standoffish Mr Darcy [wikip] [IMDb] (played in this film by Sam Riley) who seemed always to be more focused on his work -- here killing zombies ;-) -- than on people.  The said exchange, of course, takes place in the midst of each hacking-to-pieces a bunch of attacking zombies even as they make the point to each other that they ... well ... don't much like each other ;-).  And so it goes ...

My sadness with this story / film is that it didn't go far enough. The zombies in this story / film always remained outsiders.  I think that the story would have become far more interesting if a number of the major characters turned into zombies themselves.

The story comes close several times:  Elizabeth's ever sweet older sister Jane Bennett [wikip] [IMDb] (played in this film by Bella Heathcote) does have an altercation with zombies in the woods as she heads over to see her beau Mr. Bingley [wikip] [IMDb] (played in the film by Douglas Booth)  When she arrives, she's been wounded / feverish.  BUT ... the story's creators didn't have the courage to make her explicitly into a zombie.   Similarly Mr. Bingley, had an altercation which _could suggest_ that he too _could have been bitten by a zombie_ BUT ... again the story's creators didn't seem to have the courage to make it so.  Finally, there's even a hint that Mrs Bennett [wikip] [IMDb] (played by Sally Phillips) could be turning into a zombie (and those who know something of Jane Austen's original novel, would certainly find it amusing if she did ;-).  BUT again, the creators here didn't have the courage to do so. ;-/

Compare this with the zombie in Warm Bodies [2013] named (all he remembers is) R ... who falls in love with a still human girl named Julie (that film even features a "balcony scene" ;-), or Maggie [2015] the Arnold Schwarzenegger starring tear-jerky father-daughter zombie-Apocalypse drama in which Schwarzenegger's character's beloved "junior in high school aged" daughter, Maggie, was slowly, inexorably turning into a zombie, and there was nothing that anybody could do about it (one reviewer even called that film "The Fault in our Scars" ;-).

Talk about the statement about PRIDE and PREJUDICE that the current story could have made if the beautiful / kind Jane Bennett and perhaps even her really nice guy of a beau Mr. Bingley had become zombies ...

Sigh ... but at least we get to watch _a lot_ of zombies being splattered here ...

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