Seeking brains after inducing pathetic moans

Searlait Coffey

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The book cover image for “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” Photo by Séarlait Coffey

“Pride and Prejudice” is a classic
story that’s been around since
1813. In 2009, Seth Grahame-Smith
weaved zombies in to the story with
his “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.”
What could go wrong with
this movie adaptation? Apparently a
great deal more than was expected.
There are many ways to make a
good zombie movie. Key elements
include a generous amount of gore,
witty character banter when facing
the undead and an unexpected
gut- wrenching death. Romance is
not essential but the majority of film
makers deem it necessary 90 percent
of the time, be it the damsel in distress
or the take-no-nonsense girl
who saves the scared, weak boy. In
this case, romance was everything,
just as it is in “Pride and Prejudice.”
However, the zombie element was
underwhelming even though it was
intended to deviate from the plot’s
most dramatic themes.
In general, the very appropriate
British cast performed adequately
in their roles. Lily James (Elizabeth
Bennet) was constantly reffered to as
the least beautiful sister which grew
incredibly tiresome because of how
blatantly false of a statement it was.
Mr. Darcy on the other hand (Sam
Riley) was incredibly unflattering
in his appearance. Of course looks
aren’t the most important thing to
a movie’s cast. Lena Headey (Lady
Catherine de Bourgh) delivered an
exceptioanlly uderwhelming performace,
which was most uncharecteristic
given the legacy of her career.
One of the plot’s most vital characters,
Mr. Wickham (Jack Huston)
was used as a tool to throw the original
plot out the window. Instead of
being his usual greedy, unapreciative
and all around homewrecker self,
Wickham became some kind of zombie
nanny. His diabolical plot was to
become a zombie king and harbor
the undead at a zombie orphanage
church before setting them loose on
the rest of England. Who thought
that plot twist through?
The plot of “Pride and Prejudice”
is already perfectly constructed.
There’s plenty of romantic tension,
betrayal and frustrating misunderstadings.
When Grahame-Smith introduced
zombies to the plot it opened
up many possibilities to strengthen
each character. The Bennet sisters
become skilled Chinese warriors.
This allowed for zombie hunting to
be put ahead of the difficulty of obtaining
a husband. Mr. Darcy became
even more noble and attractive
with his zombie slaying skills. Mr.
Collins is rendered even more useless
and tiresome given the fact that he
is dependent on protection when it
comes to zombies. Lady Catherine de
Bourgh is transformed in to the most
renowned zombie slayer in England,
instead of just being a snooty, stuckup
land owner.
Any film maker knows that pacing
can make or break a film. For
this movie the pacing was atrocious.
Each zombie death was rushed and
followed by a brief camera shift from
the dying zombie’s view. The most
important aspect of the original story,
Darcy and Elizabeth’s romance,
was broken down to a few lustingfrom-
across-the-room gazes.
As was previoulsy mentioned,
humor is key to a succesfully entertainging
zombie flick. The comedic
moments, rather comedic attempts,
in the film caused second-hand embarrasment
for the writers. They
managed to turn one of the most
iconic scenes-Darcy’s profession of
love to Elizabeth-in to an unecessarily
sexualized mockery of feelings.
Additonally, every time a female
character insults a man by calling
him a girl, thousands of brain cells
are lost. It’s 2016, the types of jokes
to be made are endless. If the only
ones being made are sexist, just go
home and retire.
Major props are in order for the
movie’s liberal usage of the word
“zombie.” There is some kind of unwritten
rule in entertainment culture
to boycott that word. “The Walking
Dead,” “The Last of Us,” “Resident
Evil” and “Fear the Walking Dead,”
are just a few that refrain from uttering
the “z” word. The reasons for the
word’s avoidance has always vexed
iewers. Maybe it’s the creator’s pretenious
excuse for being original by
not using the word that brands their
creation. Regardless, brownie points
are well deserved for whoever ensured
the usage of the word.
The future of the zombie genre is
never in danger of extinction. People
love zombie comedy and zombie
horror. The ideas for these movies,
shows, books, even video games, are
endless. Reimagining Old England
as zombie-ridden was a phenomenal
idea. However, the movie ruined
whatever the book succeded at. Romance
is already tiesome in film, so
the only way to make it enjoyable is
to make it believable. It seemed far
more fitting for the film to end with
a Darcy sacrifice resulting in him becoming
a zombie, followed by a tearstricken
Elizabeth having no choice
but to behead her true love in order
to save him from a life of rotting flesh
and brain based diet.
All said and done, a zombie movie
must be entertaining. “Pride and
Prejudice and Zombies” came up
miles short in fulfilling that requirement.
As usual, the book was far superior
to its film counterpart.

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Author: The Hawk Eye

Hanover High School, Mechanicsville, Virginia The Hawk Eye Student Newspaper thehawkeye@hcps.us

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