Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
With certain movies, you already know what you are getting yourselves into. You already know what to expect, because its somehow attached to the title of the movie. When you sit down to watch "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," you know you are in for a goofy, historically inaccurate, thrill ride. That's what I thought of the film itself. There are several movies that promise something specific thanks to their title and decide to deliver on that promise.
"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" is a very silly movie. While it focuses on the five Bennett sisters who are trying to marry in 19th Century England, it also tells the story of a zombie outbreak that has risen in the region. Fighting zombies has become commonplace in this 19th century, and the Bennett sisters' father (Charles Dance) makes sure his girls are skilled in fighting and combat so that they can properly defend themselves. The oldest of the Bennett sisters is Elizabeth (Lily James). She comes into contact with several suitors throughout the movie. The suitors include Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley), a battle hardened gentlemen who fights the zombie hordes. Mr. Collins (Matt Smith), a more laid-back gentlemen who can't stand fighting or the thought of women fighting. Then there is Mr. Wickham (Jack Huston) a military commander, also engaged in bringing down the zombies but with more flair and charm than Mr. Darcy. Elizabeth wants to choose between these two men, all the while the zombie apocalypse grows outside her door.
"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" promises some pride and prejudice and zombies and succeeds with all three. Its hard to be too hard on a film that does exactly what it said it would do. I found it delightfully hilarious how serious the film took the idea of these Bennett girls finding husbands. The family drama is just as useful as the zombie action. In fact, what blew my mind about the film is how flat the zombie action felt. While the make-up design on the zombies was astounding, the fight scenes were just a little too stylized and cartoonish for my liking. There didn't seem to be any realism in the zombie action, and when there was already so much realism in the dynamics of family and pride in this movie, I was hoping for more in regards to the zombie aspect of the story. Yes, I get it, this is meant to be a comedy, and there is some funny content pertaining to the zombies, I just wish it didn't feel like such an afterthought.
One thing I did really like was how these zombies could talk. They still had some kind of conscience thought even though they were dead. Watching characters talk to zombies and have full conversations with them was something new and felt original. It also lead to some of the bigger laughs of the movie. I liked that there was a scene where zombies tried to trap a character so they could feed on her. It felt very clever, unlike anything I have seen in anything zombie related, and made the material fresh once more.
The cast does a very good job of making this very bizarre world come to life. I give Lily James mad credit for sticking to the material with confidence. She believes in the absurdities of the story, so the audience will go right along with her. Riley and Huston also do very good work in this movie, making their emotions strong here. Matt Smith probably has the most comic relief material in the movie, not bad for a guy who was the villain in the latest "Terminator" movie, but he's quite funny here. I liked that Lena Headley showed up for some brief scenes and with Charles Dance, I liked my brief "Game of Thrones" reunion.
"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" is exactly what is says it is. This is what its suppose to do. There is no trick and its not hiding what it is. I could enjoy it for what it was, I just wish it delivered on the promise of the zombies a bit more.
FINAL GRADE: B