As I have loved the original Jane Austen story of Pride and Prejudice and have seen multiple adaptations, going from the Colin Firth (BBC) one, to Bride & Prejudice, I couldn’t skip this one. A few years back I first saw the book on the shelves and was looking at it strangely since why would anyone want to create a new version of the classic book and add zombies to it? To be honest, I haven’t read the book, so I watch the film (and book adaptation) with fresh eyes, only having the original Austen story in head.
The film opens with the line “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of a brain must be in want of more brains”, which is actually an accurate rewriting for this story of the original line “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife”. The original line I know by heart so when the first part of the sentence was said I, without thinking, finished it with the words that I know by heart.
What a ride in Regency zombie killing this story is. I think it was a good reimagining of the original story that I love. I’m not what you call a big fan of zombie shows/movies but this is more a zombie comedy so right up my lane. I laughed a lot.
Weirdly enough, this is one of the few adaptations of a Austen-like Pride & Prejudice where all five of the Bennet sisters are there. Often, for obviouis reasons, they will have Jane,Elizabeth, Kitty and Lydia. Mostly though they drop Mary! Here that is not the case, and I love the makers for it.
As we see the girls prepping for the ball, they get on all their Regency clothing, with one twist that is so genius. The long flowy dresses have slits up their thighs to make for easy access to knifes that they bind to their legs (Oh yes, how great would this be for a cosplay in the future).
It becomes clear that the Bennet sisters are not to be messed with. They can fight with knifes and swords, shoot guns and hand to hand combat. Apparently they have Shaolin training, as the lower classes do (upper class has a fancy Japanese training). But in combat through out the whole film, I don’t think the Shaolin training seems that much worse than the Japanese one.
I loved the scenes between Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) and Parson Collins (Matt Smith). Just the going of the fact that Elizabeth detests her cousin Collins and that in real live Lily James and Matt Smith are a couple. I now so want to see the blooper reel to know if they cracked up themselves during these scenes.
We need to talk about the confession scene. I’m talking here about where Darcy confesses his love for Elizabeth at Parson Collins place. Where there is normally the distance and sexual tension. Here there is actual tossing of books and a sword and letter opener fight. Buttons get popped, well the ones on Darcy’s vest and the top one of Elizabeths dress. Actually more fun than that pent up sexual tension.
Honorable mentions when it comes to acting performances. Charles Dance as Mr Bennet, I love his voice anyway but really they couldn’t have gotten a better actor to play it. Sally Phillips as Mrs Bennet, well, first time we see her, every single person who has ever seen “Miranda” is saying “Bear with, bear with”, but as we go on she is actually quite the good, obnoxious coupling mother we love. Douglas Booth, I always expect Bingley to be auburn, but this brown haired one ticked all boxes. This is the first time though that I feel that Bingley is hotter than Darcy. Lena Headey, this is the most physical treathening version of Lady Catherine the Bourgh I have ever seen, fighter with an eye patch. She really brings on fear in the part where she wants to dissuade Elizabeth to mary Darcy.
In conclusion, if you can get your mind over the whole “what did they dare do to a classic story” thing, this is a highly amusing film. It will make you laugh and because you know part of the story already from the classic one, it will make you curious through out to see what they have done here.