What is Pride and Prejudice and Zombies?
What I'm Going to be Talking About
So, doubtless you've heard about the new film Pride and Prejudice and Zombies coming out. Maybe, like me, you've read the adapted novel from Seth Grahame-Smith. Maybe you haven't. Maybe you've read the original work, and maybe you've seen the movie. Maybe you've only become interested in the work because the word 'Zombies' is included in the title (no judgment here).
I'll be telling you just a little bit about the original work and this parody bit, and what you should expect when going to see the film (or helping you decide that you shouldn't see it).
What is Pride and Prejudice?
There actually might be a few of you out there that aren't aware of it. I wouldn't have picked it up were it not for school reading, and to be very frank, I enjoyed it (although I definitely enjoy the 2005 film with Keira Knightly). It's a romance novel set in early 1800's in England where the main drive of the work is the mother of a family of five girls who's trying to get them set up and married (she's not the main character, it's just the major push felt throughout the book). Various sisters are married off through vastly different experiences (both for good and ill) and largely, the book is quintessential Jane Austen. If you've read her other works and liked/hated it, you'll likely have the same reaction from this book.
As mentioned before, the 2005 film retells the story very faithfully and if you're planning on seeing its parody film, I recommend you watch the Keira Knightly film (it's on Netflix at the time of this posting, so take advantage!).
Okay, Where do the Zombies Come in?
The book (of which I own and have read back in the middle of high school) is a straight up parody. The plot is, in a general way, the same. The sisters still meet their husbands, a lot of the same confrontations occur again, all characters are accounted for (although a great many of them die instead of just exiting the story), and so forth. There are even great amounts of untouched text, copied and pasted from the original work, between these altered scenes.
The zombies in the title are the results of a plague resurrecting the dead invading numerous locations throughout the story, engineering action and humor. It's not just zombies either. Lady Catherine apparently has a host of ninjas that serve her, and the Bennet sisters enjoy wrestling deers in the woods before letting them go again, all in order to train themselves to fight zombies (and ninjas, apparently). There's plenty of gross scenes, such as characters (like Mrs. Bennet) regularly vomiting and other such unpleasantness.
I'm not going to spoil anything (partly because I'm not sure how the film is going to be, but more on that later) but the secondary author (that is, not Jane Austen) seems to handle the characters in ways of how they received the book. For example in the end of the story (where some copies have a Reader's Discussion Guide) my copy asks "7. Does Mrs. Bennet have a single redeeming quality?" Apparently, Seth Grahame-Smith shared a common reaction to Mrs. Bennet's character.
Also, Seth Grahame-Smith is a creative mind behind Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer. Just to give a comparable reference.
So, How's the New Film Going to be?
I really don't know. It features a bevy of British actors which is appropriate (a couple from Game of Thrones, the Eleventh Doctor, Cinderella from the latest live action film) so in that regard it will sound legitimate. I don't recognize a bunch of the other actors so I can't speak for them. The makeup (see below for image) looks comparable to The Walking Dead show, meaning things will very likely get gross (although I'm not sure if it will be for a comedic or horror aspect). It's rated PG-13 for zombie violence and action, as well as some suggestive material. Natalie Portman herself was interested in playing the main role of Lizzie Bennet, but could only help produce due to time restraints. The director's name is associated with various other decent films that seem to rely more on comedy than horror. Honestly, it's really hard to predict this film based on its trailers and images.
I'm more than likely going to see it soon after it becomes available in theaters, but to be honest I'm expecting a bit of the worst. I figure I'll be more easily satisfied. As for the book, it had a couple of notes that were funny but I'm not really drawn to read it again. I found it funny in my high school years and I think that's where it will stay. I have no idea how true the film will be according to the book but honestly it's the concept that's the main draw, not the story.
Honestly though, the cast that was involved with the 2005 Pride and Prejudice would be perfect for this. Everyone knows that Keira Knightly has been able to swashbuckle with the best of them, and Rosamund Pike (from Gone Girl) has amazing dramatic presence when the situation calls for it. Donald Sutherland has a huge host of films behind him (including the Hunger Games series) and Judi Dench effortlessly controls the scene when she is present (although I'm not sure she's able to swing a katana around with so much finesses, to be frank).