Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Mr Darcy v The Walking Dead

Confession time – I’ve not seen, nor have I read, Pride and Prejudice, so my take on its rather comical and lighthearted re-telling, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, is based purely on the movie that was laid out in front of me, and not on any pre-conceived notion of the Pride and Prejudice storyline or its characters. Having said that, my lovely wife cut her teeth on the mini-series featuring Colin Firth as Mr Darcy, so during quiz time on the way home after the movie I was able to glean her take as a P and P groupie and fill in some blanks I might have missed.

My initial reaction – this is a fun movie.Bear in mind here, the zombies are the back story. The overall plot here is still that of a developing love story between Mr Darcy (Sam Riley) and Elizabeth Bennett (Lily James). An obvious difference here, of course, is that Miss Bennett and her four sisters, Jane (Bella Heathcote), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), Mary (Millie Brady) and Kitty (Suki Waterhouse) are all skilled warriors, trained in the way of the Shaolin monks of China (because they are from a lower class family. The wealthy train in Japan). The reason for all this warrior training – the war with the undead, of course. A constant scourge ravaging the English countryside.

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The Bennett sisters prepare to take action in ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’

The movie opens with Mr Darcy on the hunt for an infected zombie. You see, these zombies can still, for a time, walk among the living undetected. They are intelligent, can hide in plain sight, and even set traps for potential victims. Mr Darcy (Colonel Darcy when he’s working), acts as a kind of ‘witch hunter’ for zombies, using flies he keeps that will land on dead flesh to identify those no longer living.

As the story progresses, Darcy and his best friend, Bingley (Douglas Booth) take a bit of a liking to a couple of the Bennett sisters. Bingley, young, enthusiastic and without a care in the world, falls hard for Elizabeth’s sister, Jane. Darcy, on the other hand dark, brooding and with the weight of the world on his shoulders, takes a little longer to be charmed and disarmed by the warrior wiles, independent demeanor and stunning beauty of Elizabeth.

The interactions between Elizabeth and Darcy are a nicely done mix of humor (the scene in which Darcy uses his flies to try and catch out Jane as a member of the undead legion gave me a particular chuckle) and emotion. Their attraction is as ever-present as their dislike for each other. Jack Huston as the spanner-in-the-works, Wickham, plays nicely until the back third of the film, when his character becomes a little eccentric. Riley is likeable as Darcy (though my wife stresses he was certainly no Colin Firth), but James, as Elizabeth, is the centrepiece of this movie and, gosh darn if I didn’t get a nasty dose of the feels, I really wanted her to find happiness before story’s end.

The supporting cast are a mixed bag. As a Dr Who fan I was delighted to see Matt Smith as Parson Collins, and based on our chat driving home, he played the role of Collins well.The missus was also quite tickled to see Lady Catherine de Bourgh (Lena Headey) as a one-eyed war hero, and Charles Dance as Mr Bennett is extremely likeable.

This is a retelling of the Pride and Prejudice story, not a sequel or an aside, so it is easy to watch without any previous contact with the original story. Of course, I most likely missed some references – my wife chuckled at a couple of moments which were lost on me – but it never detracted from my enjoyment of the movie and whilst I entered the cinema with a touch of trepidation, I was very glad I went along.

Explosions and Action
Chaos and Carnage
Character Creation
Novelty Factor
Sequel Worthiness


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