Review: 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies' a crazy idea that works

PRIDE AND PREJUDICE AND ZOMBIES: 3 ½ STARS

Imagine "The Walking Dead" as seen through the lens of "Masterpiece Theatre.

See Full Article

" Or maybe the love child of Jane Austen and George A. Romero. Either way, you get the high concept idea of the new Lily James film "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." It's such a whack-a-doodle idea it's either going to be great or the worst thing ever.

Set in 19th century England, the movie shares some character names and situations with the novel but in this new, fanciful version a plague has turned much of the population into "ravishing unmentionables."

These zombies are different than the "Night of the Living Dead" style droolers. If these ever-civilized British stenches never consume human brains, they will never fully transform. Still, enough of them have changed to warrant building a Trump-style anti-undead wall around London and for regular folk to become zombie-killing ninjas. Literally.

In this story upper crust English families send their children to Japan or China to learn the secrets of martial arts. One such clan are the Bennets.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombie film review

All five daughters are deadly—with knives hidden in their petticoats—but second oldest Elizabeth (Lily James) is a Shaolin monk trained fighter who can disembowel a zombie before you can say "Mr. Darcy."

Speaking of Mr. Darcy, he's a Colonel with a bloodlust for brain-eaters and a romantic lust for Elizabeth. His rival for Elizabeth's affections is Mr. Wickham (Jack Huston), a handsome lieutenant who wants to try and find a way to coexist with the unwanted invaders. "Soon the dead will outnumber the living," he says. "Nine months to make a baby, 16 years to turn them into a soldier… but just two seconds to make a zombie."

As the zombie menace intensifies so do things between Wickham, Darcy and Lizzie. A final showdown brings them all together, alongside their pride, prejudice and yes, zombies.

The idea of "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" may be koo koo bananas but it works. When they aren't trying to make Blighty an undead free zone, or high kicking and karate chopping, for the most part they play it straight.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombie film review

As Darcy watches Lizzie slice-and-dice her way through a crowd of zombies he looks on in admiration, reciting a quote from the book about her face being rendered, "uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes." The situation is ridiculous but the actors play it straight, heightening the absurdity.

It's not all Austen, however. Darcy's use of carrion flies to identify people who have been bitten but not yet turned into zombies—they're attracted to dead flesh—is far beyond the English novelist's sense or sensibility. Instead of Austen trademarked biting irony, there's just a lot of biting.

As for gore, I'm sure the film would horrify Austen, but there's more actual blood-and-guts in the first 10 minutes of most "Walking Dead" episodes than in this entire movie.

"Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" makes the best of its one joke, the mashup of Austen romantic fiction with zombie realism, deftly (and ridiculously) blending the sublime with the ultraviolent.



Advertisements

Latest Entertainment News

  • New #MeToo ROM exhibit tackles sexual misconduct in the art world

    Entertainment CBC News
    This weekend, the Royal Ontario Museum in Toronto wades into the #MeToo conversation with a display prompted by sexual misconduct allegations against an artist whose work is being exhibited at the museum at the same time. Source
  • Director James Gunn fired from Guardians of the Galaxy 3 over old tweets

    Entertainment CBC News
    James Gunn was fired Friday as director of Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 because of old tweets that recently emerged where he joked about subjects like pedophilia and rape. Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement that the tweets are indefensible, and the studio has severed ties with Gunn. Source
  • Director James Gunn fired from 'Guardians 3' over old tweets

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- James Gunn was fired Friday as director of "Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3" because of old tweets that recently emerged where he joked about subjects like pedophilia and rape. Walt Disney Studios Chairman Alan Horn said in a statement that the tweets are indefensible, and the studio has severed ties with Gunn. Source
  • David Spade: Family coming together after Kate Spade's death

    Entertainment CTV News
    LOS ANGELES -- Just a month after funeral services for his sister-in-law, comic-actor David Spade was back to business, promoting his new movie. But he also offered a few words about his family tragedy. Fashion designer Kate Spade was married to David's brother, entrepreneur Andy Spade. Source
  • Robin Williams artworks, memorabilia to be auctioned

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Artworks owned by Robin Williams and memorabilia from his career including autographed scripts, awards and props will be auctioned in the fall. Sotheby's announced Friday that the collection of Williams and his wife, Marsha, will be auctioned in New York on Oct. Source
  • No promises to change 'Kanata' after Robert Lepage meets with show's opponents

    Entertainment CTV News
    MONTREAL -- The executive director of the Native Women's Shelter of Montreal says Quebec director Robert Lepage hasn't committed to including Indigenous performers in his upcoming show after meeting with community members. Nakuset, who uses only one name, says she was one of about 40 people who attended a six-hour meeting with Lepage's team on Thursday to discuss their concerns with the casting of Kanata, which will be performed in Paris by a French acting group in December. Source
  • Rapper Common goes back to school to help teachers

    Entertainment CTV News
    NEW YORK -- Rapper Common has won three Grammys, a Golden Globe and an Academy Award but a recent visit to a New York City school was "humbling" -- mainly because many of the students were too young to know his music. Source
  • From beer to 'Mamma Mia!': 'The Most Interesting Man in the World' talks Canada and Cher

    Entertainment CTV News
    He doesn’t always appear in romantic jukebox musicals, but when he does, “The Most Interesting Man in the World” picks the most quintessential of them all: “Mamma Mia!” Though he’s more known for blood that smells like cologne and once fooling a psychic, Jonathan Goldsmith -- the actor famous for playing a suave beer drinker in the Dos Equis TV spots -- makes a brief cameo in “Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again,” out today. Source
  • A year after 'Despacito' has Latin music found a permanent home on Canadian radio?

    Entertainment CTV News
    TORONTO -- Singer Alx Veliz is certain that a recent swell in the popularity of Latin music is signalling a change of tastes with many Canadian listeners. He points to the numerous Latin songs that broke into mainstream consciousness across the country last year, led by the colossal hit, "Despacito," performed by Luis Fonsi, Daddy Yankee, and Justin Bieber. Source
  • Sesame Street to enter U.S. classrooms in new deal with McGraw-Hill Education

    Entertainment CBC News
    Sesame Street is taking its beloved, critically acclaimed brand of educational television into the highly profitable world of classroom curriculum — a move that experts say could open the door for other companies to move into the sensitive learning space with possible influence on children. Source