“Mr Darcy, you are as unfeeling as the undead.”
In cheeky hilarious brilliance, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies finally comes to the big screen. Seth Grahame-Smith created PPZ — the New York Times best-selling novel that the film is based on — when he took the Jane Austen classic Pride and Prejudice and added a plague of brain hungry, undead zombies to the mix. It is a traditional fanfiction recipe at its finest, and the film adaptation delivers the ridiculous hilarity that the title suggests. Lily James, who you may also know as Cinderella, delivers a wonderfully nuanced performance as Elizabeth Bennet: fierce slayer of the undead.
The film is very self-realized and told in a clever, tongue-in-cheek manner. The image of the Bennet sisters sitting in the drawing room cleaning their guns together is sidesplitting. So is their debate on whether to arm themselves or not; to carry arms provides one with safety from attacking zombies but is, perhaps, unladylike. Mr. Bennet worries about the safety of his daughters and training them for battle, but Mrs. Bennet worries tirelessly about finding her daughters husbands.
The classic story is intact, just more complicated and fun with the added zombie factor. In a twist of traditional circumstances, Mr. Darcy and Mr. Bingley are found standing around discussing the girls as the Bennet sisters slaughter a pack of attacking zombies. The girls physically train as they converse in discussions authentic to Austen’s original text. Purist lovers of P&P might be offended at first glance, but I believe most will change their opinion upon viewing the film. The introduction of zombies into the world of the Bennets not only breathes fresh air on the subject matter but allows for the story to be even more progressively feminist. The role of women and their place in the world is a discussion of a broader scope when women are allowed to become fierce warriors.
Zombie-fighting etiquette is explored, and where one trained becomes an important topic of conversation and distinction in this Georgian-Zombie-Era world. The popularity of training for the zombie apocalypse in Asian countries has influenced and changed the time’s culture and attire. The multicultural training is delightfully reflected in the characters’ costumes in the film. It brings a wonderfully creative visual answer to the question: “What if Zombies?”
Not only is the film filled with zombie-fighting action, but the characters physically fight each other in scenes that were traditionally exclusively verbal tiffs. When Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy throw words at each other, they do so while throwing furniture as well. They fight hand-to-hand, destroying the room in a fury of table-smashing glory.
PPZ is a great film for anyone to see. It is the quintessential date movie, having a bit of something for everyone: action, drama, romance, comedy. Hopefully, the Z factor will draw in those who would not have necessarily gone to a traditional film version of Pride and Prejudice. A new audience can fall in love with warrior Elizabeth Bennet and maybe even be drawn to the original Austen classic. It is good fun, very entertaining, and sure to become a cult classic you won’t want to miss.