Wednesday, 1 February 2017

Beyond The TARDIS Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by DJ Forrest

Pride and Prejudice

By DJ Forrest

Written by Jane Austen
And Seth Grahame-Smith
Screenplay by Burr Steers
Released February 11th 2016 (UK)
February 5th 2016 (US)

Did I not say once after watching the film, Pride and Prejudice, that what they were lacking were a few bog monsters?

In the original story by Jane Austen, the four Bennet sisters were of an age that required them to be married, as far as their mother was concerned. There was Mr Darcy, a duck pond and a very wet white shirt. And, well, basically that was it. If you know the Classic story, then you’ll know all the characters, those who were flirty with the Bennet girls and those who were downright scoundrels. I stomached about 20 minutes of the original film, and gave up with the book at the first page. Sorry, but I’m a sci fi guy.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies has one extra sister, still Mr Darcy, duck pond and wet white shirt, and their mother is still trying to marry them off. So, sticking fairly close to the original premise.

The story of the five Bennet sisters and Mr Darcy are played out fairly well, but instead of the girls darning or sewing, they were well equipped to do battle with monsters through their knowledge of Martial Arts and trained in the art of weaponry, so it was quite funny seeing them sitting in their once sewing room, cleaning their weapons before donning their gear and heading out to slay a few zombies.

The story kicks off smack bang in the middle of a zombie invasion. Through a series of illustrations during the opening credits, we learn about why there are zombies in 1813 England, which helps, considerably.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a comedy. Sure, it’s gory and the makeup for the zombies is absolutely fantastic and the baby, oh my Gallifrey, think of the creepiness of the baby in Trainspotting 20 years ago, and I Am Alone and crank it up a notch, and its shivers down the spine.

Charles Dance plays Mr Bennet, the father of the five girls, while Lena Headey is the eye patch zombie slayer, and looks damn cool in that outfit. Charles isn’t in the film all that often, but hey, this is Charles Dance, he doesn’t even have to speak, it’s Charles Dance for Gallifrey sake.

So why am I watching this comedy?

Matt Smith plays the clergyman who is smitten for one of the sisters and wishes to marry her, only to find she is smitten to another. Later on, he becomes smitten with the head sister who is in love with Darcy. He proposes that she give up the warrior life, which of course she doesn’t. It’s quite possible that all of this is in the classic story, but with added zombies just to juice things up a tad.

There were a few drawbacks in the film.

The entire cast, bar Charles Dance, seemed to spend much of their time, muttering. It wasn’t clear what they were saying, and having had the volume on medium, I had to thump it up just to hear their voices, before whacking it back down when the music and action kicked in.

Mr Darcy was a huge let-down, you couldn’t warm to him at all. He looked more like the child catcher from Chitty Chitty Bang Bang and showed none of the charisma that Colin Firth had portrayed in the original classic film. I kept hoping for zombies to get him in the duck pond as I’d hoped Colin Firth would have had to battle bog monsters to justify his wet clothing.

For entertainment value, it’s enough of a comedy not to give you nightmares, but it doesn’t hold the concentration enough to make you want to buy the film. 

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