Wednesday 17 February 2016

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies ... Love in the time of monsters

I'M all for strong heroines in films, especially the ones who kick men's asses and show the world that
they're not to be trifled with. Viewers would have seen Katniss Everdeen (Jennifer Lawrence) and Tris (Shailene Woodley) dispatch their enemies with ease. These heroines have female viewers wanting to be like them and male viewers wanting to sleep with them.
   But they never had to worry about staying chaste and focusing on getting married, while surrounded by hordes of zombies keen on eating eat their brains.

   The heroines in director Burr Steers's Pride and Prejudice and Zombies must not only navigate these treacherous paths in 19th-century England, they must also deal with elitism and a nagging mum whose sole purpose in life is to marry them off quickly.
  Steers, who wrote the screenplay based on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, wants to show that a heroine can be feminine and exhibit masculine strength, and still get the guy of her dreams.
  The zombies are but a minor distraction in the film, serving as fodder for the heroines and the film's last hurrah. Their heads are often trampled on and stuck with swords.
   Elizabeth "Liz" Bennet (Lily James of Cinderella) and her four sisters live a middle-class life in a countryside near London. Their father (Charles Dance of Game of Thrones) is proud of their ability to brandish swords and pummel people into submission. He's happy that his five girls spend their time cleaning their pistols.
   Their mother (Sally Phillips) just wants the best for each of them, that is, to snare the most eligible bachelors.
   The fact that England is on the brink of a zombie apocalypse doesn't bother her at all.
Liz Bennet (Lilly James) picks a fight with a zombie.
   Liz is an accomplished fighter, and sparks fly when she meets Colonel Darcy (Sam Riley, channelling a younger Colin Firth), a friend of Mr Bingley (Douglas Booth), who's interested in Liz's elder sister Jane (Bella Heathcote).
   Bingley and Darcy's wealth and pay packages are greatly admired by the girls' mum.
   Some fight scenes with zombies show viewers that Liz can take care of herself. She also goes mano a mano with Darcy in what can be considered the film's lovemaking scene, with both of them taking turns to pin the other beneath them.
    Meanwhile, poor China and Japan get dragged into this film, as those who receive martial arts training in Japan are looked up to more than those who went to China.
   Liz's sparring with Mr Darcy are worth a film in itself. Viewers know that both of them will end up together, but it's enjoyable to watch them rile up each other. Liz tells him that she can't be ladylike and a martial arts combatant at the same time, and that something has to give.
   The zombies in this film are unlike zombies in other films. They are active during all times of the day, and one couple even has a baby.
  Darcy's love rival George Wickham (Jack Huston) takes Liz to a special place for him. Viewers think it's a scenic spot, but's it's actually an abandoned church right in the middle of London and patronised by noble zombies, who don't eat human brains but instead take pig brains as communion. Yucks. Christian zombies? Who's their God, then?
  Wickham has this far-fetched plan of humans and zombies co-existing. He says that the zombie
Heave ho.
population will eventually outstrip the number of humans. However, it's unexplained how that zombie church goes unnoticed by humans.
   The zombies are also well-coordinated militarily, a fact observed by Darcy. I know a zombie can influence other zombies, like in I Am Legend (2007), but I find it hard to believe that a human can do that.
   In conclusion, viewers will appreciate Liz's fearless strength, heaving bosom and scintillating beauty. They will also admire how Liz and Darcy overcome their inner flaws and see that they're meant for each other. It's just too bad about the zombie part.

3 out of 5 stars


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