“It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife…” Jane Austen tells us, in the opening line of what appears to be her most loved book. I’m not sure what it is about Pride and Prejudice that has made it more famous than her other novels, but the story just seems to work and to capture something about life and love that over time just hasn’t changed. Perhaps it’s her insight into the shallowness of social climbers and the importance of real love, sisterhood, or maybe it’s just that Mr Darcy is so damn sexy.
The story has been retold in many settings and different periods of history, and with the current obsession with zombie stories, this film was really only a matter of time. Whilst the novel itself was not high literature, and lacked the subtlety of Austen, it has a certain something about it. It was fun. It had Mr Darcy. And Lizzie’s intelligence and strength gets the outlet they deserve. But did we really need another zombie film?
Well, maybe not. And maybe we don’t need another Pride and Prejudice adaptation either. But who cares? Rather than being a social commentary, a simple love story, or a horror movie, the tale becomes an adventure with all the comedy and romance (and some literal bodice ripping) you could wish for. It’s not high art, but it’s very funny, and has excellent fight scenes, wonderful imagery and costumes, loads of romantic tension and a plot that flows nicely. It’s delightful to see the Bennet sisters being able to be both sweet and proactive as warriors who aren’t afraid to get a little blood on their skirt hems and then gossip about boys.
In that sense, this film surprised me. I thought that it might be funny, parodying Austens book and mixing it with gore, but actually it uses large quotes from Austen, is fairly faithful to her novel and to the Regency period. And the characters, although fun, are very much like the book, which means the Lizzie/Darcy and Jane/Bingley love stories are actually quite sweet. You still want to see them get together in the end.
Perhaps this movie is the perfect date night film? The romance of a chick flick with enough splatter to keep both ends of the spectrum happy. Either way, I think it’s one to check out.
EXTRAS: There are loads of extras, enough to satisfy any fan. A Gag Reel with outtakes and cast giggles (1:38) and Deleted Scenes (9:00) which are fun but don't add much to the plot. However, The Badass Bennet Sisters featurette (4:00) looks into the characters of the five Bennet girls and their new incarnation, while Courtship, Class and Carnage (6:00) gives a thorough introduction to the cast. From Austen to Zombies (6:00) is all about adapting the book to the screen and why zombies fit so well with Austen. Creating the Unmentionables (3:31) is all about the monster design and other effects. And finally, Mr Collins Line-O-Rama (2:40) is loads of hilarious takes of Matt Smith being the obnoxious Mr Collins.