I’ve been pretty lax about going to the movies lately (I haven’t even seen Captain America: Civil War yet! What kind of nerd am I!?) but OnDemand movies are my friend. Now, I love me some Jane Austen but I’m not so keen on zombie movies. There are three I like (Zombieland, Warm Bodies, and Shaun of the Dead) and the rest of the genre gets ignored, but I found this a surprisingly good mashup.
Lily James is wonderful as an action-packed Lizzie Bennett, reminding me so much of Keira Knightly in the older Pride and Prejudice movie that I often forgot that James was not, in fact, Keira Knightly. Sam Riley was an interesting choice for Mr. Darcy. My immediate first impression was “he’s not handsome enough to be Darcy” and then I smacked myself because Darcy’s not supposed to be handsome. Riley does play the rather war-minded Colonel Darcy very well and I was immediately taken in by how convincing a soldier he made. This is a setting where survival hangs on a very thin balance so handsomeness need not apply when good fighting skills apply—an opinion Lizzie most certainly agrees with.
The movie handled the mix of old and new very well. The core story of Pride and Prejudice is all there—Jane and Mr. Bingley’s romance, the love-hate between Lizzie and Darcy, Mr. Collins (played as a complete fop by the amazing and surprisingly apt Matt Smith), and the illustrious Lady Catherine de Bough, who in this version is a swordswoman of Amazonian prowess. There’s all the wit and posturing of the original story, mixed with murder and mystery as Lizzie and Darcy try to figure out why the zombies have suddenly become smarter and more organized.
I think one of my favorite things about the movie was watching the Bennett girls absolutely destroy any attacking zombies while still dressed as proper ladies. Knife sheaths as garter belts? Yes, please.