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Pride + Prejudice + Zombies
Ultra HD + Blu-Ray
Blu-ray + 4K
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A zombie outbreak has fallen upon the land in this reimagining of Jane Austen’s classic tale of the tangled relationships between lovers from different social classes in 19th century England. Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) is a master of martial arts and weaponry and the handsome Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) is a fierce zombie killer, yet the epitome of upper class prejudice. As the zombie outbreak intensifies, they must swallow their pride and join forces on the blood-soaked battlefield in order to conquer the undead once and for all.
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The story revolves around the young ladies of the Bennet family, Elizabeth (Lily James), Jane (Bella Heathcote), Kitty (Suki Waterhouse), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), and Mary (Millie Brady). In this version of 18th Century England, the countryside has been ravaged by a zombie outbreak. But amid the carnage and eating of brains, life goes on and young women must endeavor to marry well. To better survive the ravages of the undead, anyone with means sends their children to the orient to learn fighting arts. The wealthy send their children to Japan, and the wise send their children to China. The Bennet girls are alumni of the Shaolin temple. And where in previous incarnations of Jane Austin young ladies are playing harpsichord and doing needlepoint, the young ladies of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies are seen sharpening swords and cleaning flintlock pistols. They’re also seen training for and engaging in combat with the legions of the walking dead.
I believe that Screen Gems has made a mistake in marketing this movie as an action-horror film. Yes the action sequences get a solid 9 out of 10. And the special effects are equally as good. But the truth is this movie is absolutely hilarious. It’s funny because aside from adding zombies, kenjutsu and shaolin boxing, the writers kept everything else as faithful to Jane Austin as possible. I’ve seen the BBC’s 1995 Pride and Prejudice starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle quite a few times and much of the dialogue is identical, indicating that both versions stayed close to Jane Austin’s original text. When real dialogue from the Pride and Prejudice is given while girls are cleaning muskets and sparring, it becomes gut wrenchingly hilarious.
I would recommend this movie to anyone who enjoys their action, comedy and horror with some classical literature mixed in.
1. Confession: While I know the basic plot of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice, I've never read the book (I tried once, but fell asleep after about 3 pages). I've also never read the 2009 parody novel on which this movie is based (I tried once, but fell asleep after about 7 pages). So I really have no idea how close the movie comes to either of the actual books.
[Although, on the way out of the theater, I did hear one older gentleman say, "Wow! That really was Pride and Prejudice!"]
2. This is an "alternate history" movie set in England in the early 1800's, when the landed aristocracy must protect themselves from a zombie outbreak, while also maintaining their high standards of manners.
3. The movie centers on the soap-opera love lives of a group of sisters in the Bennett family. Their money-hungry mother wants to marry them all off to the first wealthy man that shows an interest in them. But the girls, who are highly trained in the Shaolin art of killing zombies, are less ready to rush into matrimony. When zombie hunter Colonel Darcy arrives, and takes an interest in Elizabeth Bennett, good manners become harder and harder to maintain.
4. The movie takes itself seriously when it needs to. The costumes and set design and soundtrack are all lush and beautiful, and would fit in a real Jane Austen story. But the movie also very tongue-in-cheek, which makes it super quotable, such as when one of the girls says, "Zombies or no zombies, all women must think of marriage."
5. This movie offers us a new version of the zombie, a more... "refined" zombie than we've seen before. In this society, people turn into zombies slowly at first, and are able to maintain their human looks for awhile. But once they eat their first human brain, the transformation speeds up.
6. This movie is pretty complicated for a zombie movie. It offers commentary on love and romance, the British class system, gender roles, and politics. And the zombie apocalypse.
Which reminds me, if you like the ending of the movie, leave when the credits hit. If you don't like how things turn out, stay for a few minutes into the credits, and you will get an extra scene.
7. It was directed by Burr Steers, who directed the great coming-of-age film Igby Goes Down, and a couple of Zac Efron movies.
8. The zombie action is pretty satisfying, and it's cool to see the contrast of the undead loose among the aristocracy. There is a good amount of violence, but there's not much gore. When zombies get shot in the head, they don't splatter - it's more like an explosion of powder.
9. This is a fun movie, and with great cinematography. Jane Austen and zombies make a better fit than you might think. I guess it's kind of like chocolate and peanut butter.