This is a terrible movie. (Not a spoiler-free review).
It had everything going for it, funny and popular source material, great (GREAT) cast, and yet it’s terrible. It’s only merit is that it is superior to the clusterfuck that is Death Comes to Pemberley, which I hated so much I can’t even bring myself to review it. Why am I reviewing this? I want to warn people, first of all (don’t watch this movie with any expectations of goodness) and I also want to whine a bit because honestly, I really wanted to love this movie.
I am obsessed with all things Pride and Prejudice. There are parts of the original novel I can literally recite word for word. I think that’s why I found the novel this film is based on so very funny. Because the idea that Lady Catherine de Bourgh would ask Elizabeth Bennet if the family’s ninjas had left is a hilarious anachronism (it’s supposed to be governess, not ninjas). All the movie had to do to please me was be faithful to its source material. It was not.
For whatever horrible obnoxious reason it introduced the concept of the Anti-Christ set to lead the zombies against the non-zombies. WHY? WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT, MOVIE?! YOU RUINED EVERYTHING. We don’t get to see any of the stuff from the book because we’re so busy with oooh is Wickham the Anti-Christ? We don’t even see “Fitz” (ugh) and “Liz” (double ugh) fall in love because we’re too preoccupied with this entirely unnecessary addition to the plot.
The film begins by making light of sexual assault (always a great start), then progresses into a complex and wholly unneeded explanation of why there are zombies to be found in a piece of nineteenth century literature. Beyond this, the first half or so of the movie remains fairly true to its source. It’s only after the introduction of Wickham, or perhaps after Darcy’s first proposal when the shit really begins to hit the fan. Suddenly we’re in a different movie: a post-apocalyptic hellscape with no semblance of Austen’s world left to be seen.
Then it just gets stupid. The four horsemen of the apocalypse, the abduction of Lydia Bennet, the destruction of Hingham Bridge, and the most annoying thing of all, well maybe not of all but it’s certainly up there, is the feeding of the zombie aristocrats by Darcy. These beings were harmless and perfectly content to live on pig’s brains and then he gives them human brains?? WHY WOULD HE DO THAT? Isn’t that the equivalent of giving a recovering alcoholic a bottle of Scotch? He didn’t have the right! The last act of this movie is just awful. Just straight up, leave the theater and demand your money back bad.
As far as the cast goes, Lily James is expectedly charming as Elizabeth “Liz” Bennet. Sam Riley is surprisingly awkwardly comedic as Mr. Darcy. Matt Smith was damned delightful as Mr. Collins and I wish there’d been a great deal more of him. The same must be said for the Lannisters in the production. Both Charles Dance and Lena Headey were excellent and underutilized.
The film had some great visuals: the aforementioned unwarranted saga sell explaining why there are zombies was beautifully animated and I really enjoyed watching the Bennet girls get ready for the town dance while concealing as many weapons upon themselves as possible.
But all in all, this movie is a disaster and not even in the ‘so bad it’s good’ way.
Disclaimer: If you were able to wrest some enjoyment from the film, by all means, congratulate yourself and don’t take this tirade personally.
one out of four adaptations of Pride and Prejudice