Classic Novel + Zombies = Entertaining Adaptation

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Published February 11, 2016
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Lily James takes on the role of Elizabeth Bennet in this unusual period piece. Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Have you ever wondered what a zombie apocalypse would look like in the 1800s or how different Jane Austen’s classic Pride and Prejudice would be if it were not a straight romance? If you answered yes to either question, then the new film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (PPZ) is for you! Based on the young adult book by the same name, PPZ brings fantasy to one of the most beloved romance stories of all time.

For those of you who have not heard of PPZ, you are probably thinking that this is an utterly ridiculous concept. To some extent, it is crazy to think that maybe in some other dimension of Pride and Prejudice an outbreak of the zombie plague has started. It is even crazier to think that the Bennet sisters are not young women looking to be married, but rather fierce warriors that are trained to decimate the invading zombies. Yes, they are still hopeless romantics looking for suitable husbands, except, of course, for Elizabeth, the heroine played by Lily James.

At first, this all seems like an insane idea that could not possibly work. However, the concept is actually well done and molds perfectly with the original story. PPZ is exactly what the title states it is: the same old Pride and Prejudice with the inclusion of zombies. Basically, in almost every scene, either zombies or a fighting sequence are thrown in.

Adding action to the romance makes the film very entertaining, because all the characters are amazingly trained fighters. The action sequences help boost the entire film by giving exciting scenes in between more boring ones. The whole concept works because the way the zombies were written in makes it seem believable to the story.

Lily James takes on the role of Elizabeth Bennet in this unusual period piece. Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

Lily James takes on the role of Elizabeth Bennet in this unusual period piece.
Photo courtesy of Gage Skidmore (Flickr)

The characters are still mainly the same, the language is still the same and the basic plot is the same. The main difference is the changing of certain scenes slightly for the zombies to make sense.

A big difference in PPZ is Mr. Darcy’s attitude towards Elizabeth. Their relationship plays out slightly differently because Mr. Darcy is more rude and off-putting. He barely acknowledges Elizabeth for the first half of the film and treats her terribly any time that they have to talk to each other. Every conversation they have in the film is extremely awkward because they both hate each other until Mr. Darcy professes his love for Elizabeth. Even though that sequence is similar to Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth goes on hating Mr. Darcy for a little longer in PPZ. Maybe this awkwardness was written in the script or maybe the actors did not have good chemistry. Whichever it really is, the “romantic” scenes between Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy were almost unbearable to watch.

Thankfully, following most of these terrible exchanges, zombies appeared and great action ensued. PPZ is truly more of an action movie than a romantic movie. The romance is sappy and cheesy, but is offset with heads rolling around, leaving you wanting more of the zombies.

The only real issue is trying to figure out whether PPZ is a satire of the zombie genre and Pride and Prejudice or if it is a serious adaptation. It has aspects of both being serious and a satire, so it is hard to decipher what the true intention of the film is. Even though PPZ presents as a serious film, there may be some hidden satirical intentions.

PPZ is still an entertaining zombie movie that is not terrible. It is enjoyable from the very first scene to the end scene in the credits. Go see this weirdly different film for yourself and then look for the possible sequel to come.

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