I found PRIDE & PREJUDICE & ZOMBIES to be a very entertaining/fun time at the cinemas and if you love films that know what they are/don’t take themselves too seriously than you should too (also loving all things British would only help). The film still deals with the Bennet family and the societal classes of Victorian-Era Britain but it also has this fun twist of placing the undead apocalypse right in the middle of it (hell they even have their own societal class). Since the film doesn’t take itself all that seriously there is a lot of fun to be had with this premise (it’s pretty cool hearing dialogue you’d expect from Jane Austen while also hearing Lily James in a posh British accent discussing her Shaolin training - it’s that type of film).
The best aspect about the film (the novel/other adaptations as well) is how strong the female characters are. This film takes that strength to a whole new level with the Bennet girls being both strong in female fortitude as well as zombie slaying. There’s a cheekiness to it all (as I said using Jane Austen dialogue in the middle of an undead battle) that I found particularly clever and fun to watch.
The entire cast is impressive and it all starts with Lily James (you’ve seen the blog, you know how much of an obsession she is with me). Her Liz Bennet has an incredibly strong resolve and is highly skilled in battle. She really stands out in every aspect of this film and I can’t wait to see her keep branching out. I also really enjoyed Sam Riley as Darcy. Darcy is the same man you know (just this time as a defacto zombie bounty hunter). There’s a lot of fun with that character and all the Pride & Prejudice aspects with class systems/love is handled really well with him. The rest of the Bennet sisters (Bella Heathcote, Suki Waterhouse, Ellie Bamber & Millie Brady) don’t have all that much to do but Bella Heathcote stands out as Jane given she has one of the love stories with Mr. Bingley (Douglas Booth who plays that character as well as one could).
The scene stealer of the film is Matt Smith. He essentially is playing a version of his Doctor (which makes it all the better) and everything he says and does is incredibly funny. He’s oddly captivating in a way that I can’t describe. Just watch him work and you’re in for a real treat. Lena Headey shows up for a bit (not enough if you ask me) and her Lady Catherine de Bourgh is great as the queen of zombie slaying (with an eye patch to boot). Charles Dance is great as Mr. Bennet but this film is less about him and more about the girls so he’s sadly a bit too minor here (like Headey) but when he’s on screen as always you are drawn to him. Jack Huston (Harrow on Boardwalk Empire) plays the complicated Wickham (now with even more complications) very well and though everything is painfully obvious with his character he makes the journey a solid one.
Pride & Prejudice & Zombies boasts beautiful costume/set design (everything from that Era is) and keeps all the aspects of the original source material in tact while putting a fun spin on the entire proceedings. The PG-13 rating does put a damper on some things (it does have a couple surprisingly solid kills for the rating and the zombie POV-beheading is excellently done), while the use of CGI is a bit much (I actually dug the look of the zombies but I can see people having some issues with it). All-in-all it’s a film that doesn’t take itself seriously while still handling with care all the elements that it should. Lily James and Sam Riley are fantastic individually as well as together but for no other reason Matt Smith is why you should give this film a chance. If you keep an open mind there’s a lot of fun to be had here.
You must know…surely, you must know it was all for you. You are too generous to trifle with me. I believe you spoke with my aunt last night, and it has taught me to hope as I’d scarcely allowed myself before.
If your feelings are still what they were last April, tell me so at once. My affections and wishes have not changed, but one word from you will silence me forever. If, however, your feelings have changed, I will have to tell you: you have bewitched me, body and soul, and I love, I love, I love you. I never wish to be parted from you from this day on.