Review of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies”: Seattle Times movie critic Moira Macdonald loves costume dramas; Soren Andersen loves zombies. She gave this Austen/undead mashup 2 stars out of 4; he gave it 3.
Moira: The most horrific detail of the Austen/undead mashup “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” is this: Imagine being dead, and still having to wear a corset.
Soren: So, we’re talking costumes, are we? Well, all I can say is Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) cuts a smashingly dashing figure attired in a black leather greatcoat that’s a really great coat. A garment that’s long in the tail, which swirls and twirls in dramatic fashion as the gentleman wields sword and spear against ravening zombie hordes.
Moira: No arguments here, though I wish Darcy’d rethink the floppy bangs (which are a dangerous game that only Hugh Grant should attempt). However, let us not twiddle about. Does this movie work, or is it just an assemblage of Regency-era cliché slammed up against zombie cliché?
Movie Review ★★½
‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,’ with Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston, Bella Heathcote, Douglas Booth, Charles Dance. Lena Headey. Written and directed by Burr Steers, based on the novel by Seth Grahame-Smith and the novel by Jane Austen. 107 minutes. Rated PG-13 for zombie violence and action, and brief suggestive material. Several theaters.
Soren: New horizons in clichédom! Perhaps. But, on the whole, done rather well. To my way of thinking, garter sheaths for knives under Empire-waist dresses, spin kicks and hatchet-cleavings of zombie skulls immeasurably liven up refined drawing-room situations. And giving heroine Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) the singular ability to snatch carrion flies out of the air with her bare fingers is a skill all young ladies of society should cultivate.
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Moira: Indeed, and I’ll admit that I quite enjoyed watching the Bennet sisters, complete with very nondecorous weaponry, moving toward the camera in a slo-mo triangle formation. And Matt Smith, as the very deadpan the Rev. Mr. Collins, was a kick. But the whole thing, for me, never got past its one-joke premise. Zombies in Austenland! Funny! But … then what?
Soren: Why, then … More hacking and whacking and cutting and cleaving and heaving (as in bosoms in those Empire-waist frocks); it’s all a horror fan could wish for. And James’ combination of classiness, spunk and athleticism (she wields a mean sword, that one) certainly makes her a very appealing heroine. When she delivered the line, “I’ll never relinquish my sword for a ring” with such fierceness and aplomb she elevated this mashup to a higher level of camp.