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15 February 2016 @ 11:26 pm
Picoreview: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies  

Picoreview: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: startlingly enjoyable!

Look, I won’t kid you. When P&P&Z came out as a book I thought, “*God* I wish I’d thought of that.” It didn’t matter if it was going to be a one-hit wonder (and it apparently was; SENSE & SENSIBILITY & SEAMONSTERS apparently didn’t do nearly as well), it was just such a great idea that yeah. I wish I’d thought of that. I didn’t read the book, but I wished I’d thought of it.

I *didn’t* read the book, so I have no idea how well the film follows the book. What I do know is that it’s a freaking clever film.

Honestly I’ve no idea how well it holds together if you don’t know the source material, but if you do know it, wow, wow, wow. It’s a story of its own, with enough deviations from the original to make it interesting while hewing to the original enough to make it delightful. It’s fucking cleverly written/edited so that all the really critical P&P scenes make it in there, and if you have, for example, just spent the last couple of years writing your own version of P&P (MAGIC & MANNERS, out this week! I hope! :))

(Dammit, I wrote this whole post and lost half of it. I guess I need to learn to write blog posts in Scrivener or something. *tries again*)

Where was I. The casting. The casting was more than serviceable, with Lena Hedley’s Lady Catherine de Burgh being the weak link, in my opinion, although I genuinely can’t tell if it was the role as written (that was part of it) or the fact that I don’t like Hedley very much. Similarly with Lily James as Elizabeth Bennett, although I have no particular dislike of James. I just didn’t quite warm up to her in the role for some reason. OTOH, Bella Heathcote was especially delightful as shy sweet gentle zombie-slaying Jane, and Sam Riley was the least likeable Darcy I’ve ever seen, which I…rather liked. :)

The costuming was huge fun, very Regency inspired but accompanied by the practicalities of needing to fight zombies in one’s ballgown. There were many, many magnificent coats that I very much wanted to own. And the lighting! There are very few films that make any attempt to light a Regency room in the manner it would have actually been lit (ie, poorly) and P&P&Z made a noble attempt that I appreciated. So overall, a real win! And I don’t even LIKE zombie movies!

(x-posted from CE Murphy)

Mary Annepers1stence on February 16th, 2016 02:48 am (UTC)
My book club universally disliked the book, but not even enough to want to rip it apart, and wound up watching Shawn of the Dead instead of having a discussion that night. The consensus seemed to be that the book needed -more- new material and to hew a little less closely to the source material, because the new stuff felt awkwardly shoe-horned in.
kitmizkit on February 16th, 2016 06:15 pm (UTC)
That was my impression of the book, in fact. That it had sort of shoved the words "and zombies!" everywhere it could without doing much more than that. "Elizabeth danced with Darcy. And zombies!" :)

The movie, though, does it right!
Mary Annepers1stence on February 16th, 2016 06:30 pm (UTC)
'zactly, "and zombies" wasn't enough for any of us in my book club. there are occasionally stories that make better movies than they do books. i fully expect Room is another one where the movie version can avoid the flaws of the book. In the case of Room, the story is told from inside the head of the small child, but the "voice" didn't ring true for me in the book. But since the movie is inherently not in anyone's head, that dissonance is unlikely to be a problem.