A critic friend of mine said the only movies more tedious than something based on a Jane Austen novel is one about zombies. He won’t likely see this one — ever. I agree with his take on Austen, but I kind of like zombie movies.
There was a point in time when vampires were my favorite and were the most believable of all the classic horror creatures. In fact, the original vampire novel, Dracula, was written just a few decades after Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. However, modern interpretations of blood suckers have rendered them impotent, thus zombies — at least in my horror book — have risen to the top.
The title Pride and Prejudice and Zombies alone demands humor. It’s an outrageous concept that ought to elicit one belly laugh after another. Mixing stuffy 1800s Austen prose and her equally stuffy characters with smelly, moulding, brain-hungry zombies is — as Austen might have put it — simply scandalous.
You can take the prude out of the prose but you can’t take the zest out of the zombie. However, this one manages — to put it as the acclaimed Austen would — Pride and Prejudice and Zombies barely pops an occasional giggle.
Prim, proper, distinguished and delicate dialogue befitting Austen’s 1813 novel is packed into the picture, and while zombies aren’t an afterthought, they don’t matter much either. Yes, the idea is clever. And I can — with authority — say it’s better than real Jane Austen.
Alas, but it’s still Jane Austen.
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Director: Burr Steers
Stars: Lily James, Sam Riley, Matt Smith, Bella Heathcote, Charles Dance, Jack Huston, Lena Heady, Sally Phillips
Mr. Movie rating: 2 1/2 stars
Rated PG-13 for mature themes. It’s playing at Regal’s Columbia Center 8, the Fairchild Cinemas 12, the Fairchild Queensgate 12 and at Walla Walla Grand Cinemas
5 stars to 4 1/2 stars: Must see on the big screen.
4 stars to 3 1/2 stars: Good film, see it if it’s your type of movie.
3 stars to 2 1/2 stars: Wait until it comes out on DVD.
2 stars to 1 star: Don’t bother.
0 stars: Speaks for itself.