Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a film adapted from the novel of the same name, written by Seth Grahame-Smith and which parodies the Jane Austen novel, Pride And Prejudice. Directed by Burr Steers, the film takes place in 18th century England where a zombie infection spreads rapidly after someone contracted the virus from an unspecified foreign country. Most of Britain becomes occupied by the zombie population forcing the remaining people to flee to London. In an attempt to keep the zombies out, a great wall was built for protection, yet the threat still remains imminent. The story continues by following the Bennet sisters, their complicated love lives, and the battle against the undead.
I was excited to see this film. Although I have not read any of the books the adaptions are based on, I quite liked the 2005 Pride and Prejudice film adaptation. Burr Steers’ previous work, 17 Again and Charlie St. Cloud, for example, had their flaws, but were enjoyable movies. I had high hopes for where he could possibly go with this.
Unfortunately, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies had many issues. The pacing of the movie was inconsistent as some scenes felt too long, while others were cut off in awkward spots. However, there are themes in this film that I can appreciate. Elizabeth is trying to defy the societal pressures put on women to marry, for she is instead more concerned with being a great fighter than finding a husband. She was determined to follow her heart and not the standards set by others around her. If only these themes were consistent throughout. I found her reactions in certain scenes went against her established character traits simply for the purpose of having her be saved. If you are a badass warrior, you’re probably not going to be idle in the presence of a zombie.
Which highlights one my biggest problems with this movie: numerous things occur that defy logic, noted facts, and/or character traits for the sake of convenience in the storyline.
Similarly, there were elements added that made no sense or served no purpose. For example, the rich families were trained in Japan, while lower class families were trained in China. Yet, their fighting styles did not reflect that. I still can’t figure out why it was even included.
Lily James (who played Elizabeth Bennet) had great moments, but other times she lacked emotional depth. Very few of the actors were particularly good, and the rocky acting contributed to the comedy coming across as awkward. More importantly, you never care for any of these characters.
This film wasn’t absolutely awful. It had potential, but got lost along the way.