Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Trailer here.

This is my surprised face. Haven’t heard anything about this until I saw the trailer on TV tonight.

This could either be wonderful or the most horrible thing ever. I don’t know that there is much room in between those two extremes.

I read the book and it’s, you know, actually pretty faithful to the source material. If you overlook the zombies and ninjas and such.

I’m wondering if they’re actually going to follow the book and go all super nutty with jokes, ninjas, and wackiness. The trailer looks like they’re playing it serious - I mean, as serious as the concept will allow.

Yeah, I think that making a movie of the book misses the point a bit. Especially if the movie isn’t done with the style of the book.

It’s not off to a great start at Rotten Tomatoes (11/20 as of the time of this posting).

It’s PG-13, which sets off all sorts of warning bells for me.

I really, really don’t want to see this movie. I adore Pride and Prejudice unironically, and there are plenty of other places to put zombies. Maybe it’ll be good; it’s just not for me.

I had a feeling this book would turn up as a movie…

It ended up at 41% on Rotten Tomatoes, which is about 20% more than I expected.

Actually, I suspect this film was written with you in mind. It is trying to hit a niche crowd. One I suspect is very small.

I thought it was going to be more camp, but there is serious dedication in this film to P&P. It is an interesting mix of apocalypse with Jane Austen.

Production values for the film are quite good. Their period zombies are well done for the most part. Acting is on par with if not slightly above a decent Hallmark film.

Seeing it was like eating something odd tasting for the first time. I walked out of the theater knowing I did not hate the film, but can’t really say how much it was liked either.

Actually, I suspect this film was written with you in mind.

More fool them!

It always seemed like this was perfect material for an SNL skit, but like all SNL skits, the gimmick wars off after you pass 5 minutes.

These “mashup” books are pretty weird and can surprise you if you go in not knowing what to expect.

I didn’t read P&P&Z even though someone gave me the book as a gift… it’s sitting on my bookshelf.

But after reading a bunch of stuff from Peter Clines, I grabbed one of his backlog books on Kindle… mostly because it was essentially free at the time: The Eerie Adventures of the Lycanthrope Robinson Crusoe.

I expected it to be a retelling of the Robinson Crusoe story with a wry modernist twist and some werewolves… but it’s not. Just like P&P&Z isn’t a re-write of Pride & Prejudice. What it is is the entire text of Defoe’s story, with some small parts excised and replaced with new stuff written in the same style. If you’ve never read Robinson Crusoe, it’s not always as easy as you’d think to tell which parts are original and which are new. I mean sure, any part with a werewolf or some Cthulhu monster is new, but usually only replacing some foe from the original story. Other stuff seems like it would have to be new as well… and turns out to be original.

So it’s not too surprising that P&P&Z is fairly faithful to the original Austen story… because probably 70% of the book is Austen’s original text.

I thought it might be worthwhile to share my thoughts on this. I picked up the BluRay as part of a “lightning deal” in the most recent Prime Day, and we watched it last night.

Like @Gordon_Cameron, I am actually a Jane Austen affictionado. My wife is probably even more of a fan of her work, but the two of us will happily sit through practically any Austen movie that comes across our TV on the weekend, and we always carve out a couple days over the Xmas break to watch the BBC Pride & Prejudice mini-series each year.

Down to brass tacks: The movie is pretty bad.

But not because it butchers the Austen story. I think it actually does a reasonable job of weaving most of the story beats of the P&P tale into a action/adventure/horror movie.

It’s not even really all that bad when it changes the characters and their motivations to fit better into a zombie story. I rather liked that Lady Catherine de Berg was changed from a snotty rich baroness into Lena Headley’s kick-ass swordswoman. Elizabeth turning down Mr. Collins because he wants her to give up her Shou-Lin martial arts and become a stay-at-home mom worked OK too.

And it’s not bad because it tries to shoehorn zombies into Victorian England. The movie actually does that just fine, with a fairly insidious take on zombisim that is more akin to vampires than the shambling undead were used to seeing on TWD.

No, it’s bad mostly because the zombie story itself is an incoherent mess. If they had simply set the story in an English countryside that was beset by the occasional zombie horde and kept the overall Austen plot intact, this would have worked well. Instead they went with this bizarre setup where London is an zombie-less haven, an area around London has been walled off and cleared of zombies, and then the rest of the country is a zombie-infested no-mans-land except for fortified manor-houses and their towns.

Except by the middle of the film all that is out the window – the land around London is infested with zombies, and out in the hinterlands no one seems to think anything of going for long walks in the woods alone. Do the ruling elite know or not know about the intelligent zombies that live in their “cleared” areas, attending church regularly? Are those intelligent zombies actually interested in peace or is it all a ruse? What the hell is going on with the Four Horsemen of the Zombie Apocalypse that regularly make an appearance?

At the end, you’ve got various characters running hither and thither for no apparent purpose, characters lying to one another for no apparent reason, and a “last stand” that apparently isn’t really anything of the sort. Darcey himself is
just a total jerk and the two leads have practically no chemistry whatsoever… a death-knell for any Austen movie.

So, yeah - bad movie. But not because the idea was flawed, it was all in the execution.

Yeah, the eye candy in this movie is ridiculous (Bella Heathcote swoooon), but it has no idea of what it wants to be. As a zombie movie, it’s not scary. As a satire, it’s not particularly funny. Oh, it wants to be a Jane Austin movie… well, the JA crowd just got turned off by all the zombies.

I have no idea what the “In-Between” is supposed to be? The buffer between London and the rest of zombie-inhabited England? Why is it a zombie-infested wasteland? But then, at the end, it’s the rest of England that is supposedly the zombie-free paradise. I cannot make heads or tails of this, and the entire plot hinges on it.

And, yeah, there are some gigantic leaps in the plot. One scene, Darcy is having dinner, and the next, London has already fallen. WTF???

Huh, so this sounds like it deviates from the book quite a bit - no intelligent zombies there. Still kind of want to see it.