|Unfinished business is unfinished!|
...But mostly 'Pride and Prejudice.'
As per the custom; spoilers be abound in this modern interpretation of Jane Austen's astute novel that tells the tail of the British aristocracy beloved through Britain through many a century. Or so I've been told. I've never actually read 'Pride and Prejudice'; let alone the version with zombies in it. Then again I am a gentleman of the most selective of literary tastes to which only the most refined and provocative wordings of fancy can challenge the inner most turmoils of my imagination and tickle my own intellectual stimulation. In other words: I usually don't read anything without Spider-Man in it.
PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES
As I mentioned earlier; I never did read 'Pride and Prejudice.' It amazingly wasn't one of the books I was assigned to read while I was in middle or high school; which is normally where young adults are introduced to it. But from what I understand; it's basically a romance novel between two British aristocrats.....yeah OK. You lost me immediately! XD
So any way to get me interested in something I assume will make my head gain an extra twenty pounds as it slunks to my chest? Well, how about zombies? Ummm, that might be cool. But you know zombies are becoming more of a cliche these days. Want to spice things up a bit more? Sure? How about zombie hunters in the form of kick-ass femme fatales?! OK, that's a little more like it! And then, kick ass femme fatales who studied the martial arts including ninjitsu? Aw now you're just being silly!
Suffice to say, this is the version of the Jane Austen novel you're not meant to be taking seriously. But for some reason about a few years ago, this was thought of as a brilliant retelling of the novel. After all, it was written by the same guy who wrote 'Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter.' And judging by when the film adaptation of this Jane Austen novel was released; it's destined to just about as "well" as that at the box office.
Yeah even though there's clearly a market out there for strong female character-centric films out there, like most movies timing is everything along with promotion. This film is destined to slip under the radar due to the fact that not many people know about this. Plus this is during Super Bowl weekend! So it's got heavy contention!
Also....who's really excited to see this zombie version of Jane Austen's novel when in less than a week we're going to watch Deadpool make masturbation jokes?
I think it was a bad idea of releasing a film of this kind as early as February. This isn't really the most active time of the year for movies; most people tend not to go around this time. Yet we've seen odd release after odd release. I found it odd Kung Fu Panda 3 was released early this year when it usually releases at the beginning of summer. I also found it odd that Deadpool comes out so early next week. So to have something like 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' be released during this period with little to not promotion means this film is not high on anyone's watch list.
Is it a shame? Eh sort of. Because hey, why wouldn't you want to watch a zombie version of a beloved British literary classic? Why indeed?
Maybe it's because it's 'Pride and Prejudice'...and 'And SOME Zombies.' Yeah, although the movie does have zombies in it; it's more or less the backdrop. See rather than stifling dialogue; its stifling dialogue mixed in with martial arts action and zombie slaying. This could work to some degree. But in terms of making this into a film; be prepared to suddenly find yourself getting a little bored.
Unless you like watching long scenes where people just talk to one another when action is supposed to be happening. Sort of like watching a Star Wars prequel. ;D
Speaking of Star Wars; this film was produced by Natalie Portman. And it seems fitting that she would be involved with a movie based on zombies. After all; her acting alongside Hayden Christensen was like talking to a reanimated corpse. And the production value of this film while minimal does seem grand. We do get a feeling of being in early 19th century England; and everyone seems dressed appropriately. You know; other than the military carrying katanas. The katana wielding bad ass in question is Darcy; the main male protagonist of which the female protagonist Elizabeth Bennett will eventually fall in love with.
Part of their chemistry in this film is that both the film versions of these zombie slayers are equally skilled in wielding weapons. Perhaps Elizabeth ups the ante a bit more as she has had Shaolin training from China. (Exactly how Jane Austen envisioned it. ) So she already excels at the martial arts department to which Darcy takes a keen interest in once she witnesses her in action both in terms of slaying zombies and when the two decide to have a sort of ‘Street Fighter Tango.’
Not only is Elizabeth adept at this; but her sisters are well trained in the art of war also. Firing muskets and throwing daggers. What works is that it actually doesn’t feel out of place. Watching women of this era actually displaying skills of swordsmanship and gunplay. However what doesn’t really work is the overall effect. This is a PG-13 movie. So if you came in expecting zombie gore and violence; you’ll be kind of disappointed to find out just how bloodless it is. This is one of the least violent zombie movies I ever saw. The real gore comes from the makeup effects; which are great. Although it looks like they all just came off an episode of ‘Face-Off’ where contestants were supposed to design zombies of the Regency period.
And on another down note; this film I set to please English Literature fans more than zombie horror film fans. As far as the characters playing the parts of the cast of Pride and Prejudice; they take this seriously! Although; what was up with that ‘Dr. Who’ guy as Collins!? XD Talk about chewing up the scenery. And in the midst of all this zombie-ing going on. Along with the heavy emphasis on dialogue over action; it seems more like a season of ‘Walking Dead’ if it was written by Lord Byron.
So for the ‘Pride and Prejudice’ part; it works a lot. This is indeed like someone wanted to make a film adaptation of the novel; but knew no one was going to go see it unless it had zombies thrown into it. Nice ploy; but I doubt movie goers are really going to flock to see it. And I doubt we will be eventually treated to the other Jane Austen re-novelization ‘Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters.’ OK….Taking past novels and throwing movie monsters in them was cute at first, but come on. XD
But in all candor; the era of period pieces in terms of listening intently to what the characters have to say is pretty much over in terms of attracting audiences. You need action and monsters to spice things up. Or an element of common movie tropes people like. That’s why Stanley Kubrick will always be remembered for films like ‘The Shining’, ‘Dr. Strangelove’ and ‘2001: A Space Odyssey.’ Nobody really pays attention to his lesser known work like ‘Barry Lyndon’ because of how ‘talkie’ it is. But also; you need good marketing and a good release date. This movie regardless of if you’re a fan of the book or not will slip under the radar because I really don’t think a lot of people know about it. Same with the Coen Bros.’ film ‘Hail, Caesar!’ I can’t find a theater anywhere near me who’ll show this movie. Sure they’ll show Pride and Prejudice and Zombies but not a Coen Bros. film.
I think to sum the movie up; it’s 75% ‘Pride and Prejudice’; 25% zombies/martial arts/kung fu cheese. Not to mention if you’re a guy who likes to watch hardcore action with sexy women; it will eventually dawn on you that you’re watching sort of a “Chick Flick.” Because not only are there long scenes of English lit and lovey dovey stuff; this is one of those “Happy ending” movies. Expecting a huge zombie battle climax and tragic revenge story at the end? Nope! It’s ‘Disney Princess Happily Ever After’ ending for this movie. Which follows in line of the original ‘Pride and Prejudice’; an ending that by today’s standards would be heavily panned by critics.
I admire the acting in that all the actors like Sam Riley and Lily James are taking this seriously as if they were asked to do a movie adaptation of ‘Pride and Prejudice’ WITHOUT zombies. It’s just that if you were to leave it at ‘Pride and Prejudice’ and take out the zombie element; it might actually be Oscar worthy if they took the acting a bit further. They might as well since there’s hardly any zombies in it. That being the biggest fault because it was the biggest draw. That and the martial arts movie cheese of course. So if you suddenly find yourself nodding off like I did; you know by then you’re more in ‘English Lit 101’ than ‘zombie horror movie heaven.’
Great acting and set pieces. But don’t expect a whole lot of action or gory zombie kills. It’s just one of those “meh” movies; which February is chock full of. Though I’m glad watching a guy run around in red spandex doing 4th wall jokes isn’t far off. But in the meantime; I think I’m going to go re-write ‘Mansfield Park’ and throw dinosaurs in it.
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