Pride and Prejudice, written by Jane Austen, has been a renowned book for over two hundred years. The book, however, was adapted by Seth Grahame-Smith into Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, making the story a bit more dangerous. In April of 2009, Jane Austen fans were either horrified or delighted as they found that the classic novel had excerpts of the undead weaved throughout the pages. Now, the New York Times Bestseller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a movie for all ages to enjoy, whether you are a Jane Austen enthusiast or not.
A timeless love story with a dark twist, the five daughters of Mr. and Mrs. Bennett must find amiable husbands to secure their futures while simultaneously fighting for survival against the zombie outbreak that is sweeping Regency Period England. The book follows the main character Elizabeth Bennet on her ambitious quest to find the right man for her who will not stifle her fierce attitude and quick fighting skills. Elizabeth then meets a standoffish fellow by the name of Fitzwilliam Darcy, who seems to dislike everyone he encounters except for his close friend Charles Bingley. Mr. Darcy appears to hold himself in high regard, and Elizabeth at first is disgusted with his pride. However, the two become unexpectedly closer as the story proceeds.
Many Jane Austen fans were highly skeptical towards the book and movie, regarding it as an insult to the beautiful words of Austen’s book. Whether Smith butchered Pride and Prejudice or not, his book was a bestseller and obviously pleased the masses. Despite the amount of hype this movie received, the film was mildly forgettable. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies had a real potential to be great, but movie makers have not yet mastered the art of combining classic literature with modern ideas.
“Pride and Prejudice and Zombies stays watchable enough, because – for all its conceptual absurdity – it’s mostly played straight rather than for laughs,” said movie reviewist Mark Demetrius from the website filmink.com. “It’s not very good, but nor is it cringingly bad.”
Although the story of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is not the strongest plotline in the history of film making, the actors were proficient in portraying the colorful characters in Austen’s book. Lily James did a remarkable job as Elizabeth Bennet, especially in the first proposal and fight scene with Sam Riley, who played Mr. Darcy. She portrays Elizabeth’s wit with ease as well as delivering her lines with compelling elegance. On the contrary, Sam Riley’s performance as the famous Mr. Darcy was dull, very unlike his predecessors Matthew Macfadyen (2005 Pride and Prejudice) and Colin Firth (1995 Pride and Prejudice). Riley did not quite master Darcy’s prominent pride and haughtiness, which is what makes the story of Pride and Prejudice complete. A surprising performance for Matt Smith, a phenomenal actor who played the Doctor on Doctor Who, portrayed a ridiculous clergyman named Parson Collins, who was the cousin of Elizabeth and her four sisters. Smith dominated the screen, even though Mr. Collins was a somewhat minor role.
“Matt Smith steals the show as the silly Mr. Collins, milking lines like, ‘Oh fuddle,’ for all they’re worth,” said movie reviewist Nick De Semlyen from the website empireonline.com.
Needless to say, the movie Pride and Prejudice and Zombies definitely did not go as well as the book adapted by Seth Grahame-Smith. The idea of throwing the popular genre of zombies into the mix is interesting but maybe it is best to leave Jane Austen and her wonderful works alone where they can shine to their fullest potential.