Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Good? Bad? Indifferent?

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Good? Bad? Indifferent?


Lizzy-Jane icon… Or a violation of all that is sacred about Jane?

I had mixed feelings about this movie and why shouldn’t I? Shouldn’t we all? It’s got zombies!! That alone makes it feel like Jane Austen was captured and plunged into a YA genre wave that, hopefully, has crested, is receding and will never rise again.

And yet… It’s got zombies. And there is something so delightfully odd and irreverent about that.

So when the book came out in 2009, I read it. And when the movie opened… I went to see it. Twice. (There… I admitted it. It’s out there and can never be retracted.)Unknown-1

UnknownAnd further more… I LOVED IT! (Please don’t kick me off the blog. I really do have the greatest respect for Jane Austen.)

I wondered myself why I liked it so much. My husband cut to the chase – “You love Jane Austen, have a tae kwon do black belt and a secret yearning to be a super hero. There was no way you weren’t going to like it.”

All that is true… But my own giddy enjoyment surprised me. I will admit I closed my eyes several times to avoid the gore. But I giggled too – out loud, guffawing laughter and embarrassing chortling.

In so many ways, she was Lizzy to me. And he Darcy…. I do want, in today’s modern world, to believe that “bright and sparkling” Lizzy can captivate and capture, disarm and dismember if need be, any man. And I’d like to believe Mr. Darcy would not only be equal to her daring, but willing to put life and limb on the line for her, not just a few thousand pounds. And it’s Austen’s fault really… When you write such compelling characters, you can’t expect people not to appropriate them.

Would Austen have been offended? I’m not sure… Greater minds will have to weigh in on that one. I feel certain, however, that once we administered the smelling salts and picked her up off the floor, settling her gently on a settee, she would have laughed. She did have a sharp sense of humor. She might have even found it clever.Unknown-2

And I think she’d also agree that just like the zombies – more are coming. As Juliette Wells discusses in Everybody’s Jane: Austen in the Popular Imagination, we have appropriated everything Miss Austen and her wave of popularity is still on the rise — no crest in sight.

What’s next? A space odyssey?

27 Responses to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Good? Bad? Indifferent?

  1. I just thought the movie wasn’t very good. All those costumes, etc., and nothing to really back it up.

  2. I don’t do zombies. I refused to read the book. What I can’t turn down though, is free. When I got a free ticket to a preview showing (thanks to our local JASNA folks) I couldn’t refuse. So I went. I saw. I loved it too! And I went again. The things that I had loved I loved more. The things that had bothered me, bothered me less. I may go yet again, and will buy the DVD for myself if some relation doesn’t decide it’s the perfect gift.

  3. I’m looking forward to seeing it when it’s available on Netflix. I read the book and thought it was entertaining and being a JAFF author have to respect mixing it up a bit.

  4. I agree 100%! It was pure escapism. I hate scary movies and don’t watch zombie TV shows or movies. But I laughed out loud several times. Even my husband wanted to see it twice because as he put it, “It’s about time us guys can watch a little action while watching a Jane Austen movie.”

  5. I loved the movie, too (and I am 65) — it was really a lot of zombie-fun. What is that great quote of Lizzy’s about her philosophy? Let us not dwell in the fuddy-duddy. I will definitely get it for my DVD collection.

  6. I can say I am indifferent to it at this time. I’m not into zombies and creepy stuff, and the women seem a lot more interesting and “kick-ass” than the men do based on the trailer. Maybe when it is in the “five dollah” bin in a few years I’ll get it and watch it after all (with a friend or two, of course).

  7. What is next? Apocalyptic…future …cybernetics would be my guess. Marissa Meyer did a series of YA books called the Lunar Chronicles. They were adaptations of fairy tales [Cinderella, Red Riding Hood, Rapunzel, etc.] They were futuristic and cute. They are her version of JAFF, with just a thread of the story line. The first was Cinder…for Cinderella…only she was a cyborg.

    Who knows…Mr. Darcy might be a cyborg. Hello…can anyone say replaceable parts? Or…wait, I have another…to resist is futile. Oh…can he communicate with the collective… maybe Lady Catherine would be the Queen? OMG… I’ve just about got a story line here. Anyone want it? Go for it.

    • I’ve read all the Lunar Chronicles — and you are right. Very fun. And very successful. I think the market is primed for you… and you’ve got your storyline. I’ll read it. 🙂

  8. Thanks for the fun post, Katherine! I’m going to see it tomorrow and then I’ll now exactly how I feel. So far I’m hopeful and excited. I giggled at the trailers, heard this was the best Mr Collins ever and I don’t think the gore would put me off too much (says she hopefully). My son’s very disappointed that I’m going to see it without him, and I’m still not sure why. The zombies? Possibly. Austen appeal? Unlikely. But I’m not going to quibble with anything that draws the young generation in. As long as they don’t expect zombies in the original PnP & all the other novels 😉

  9. I wanted to see it when it first came out….. didnt happen til this past sunday. My husband had to work so i took my two teens to see it…. My 16 yr old Daughter absolutely hated it…she said “Jane Austen must be turning in her grave.” My 13 yr old son said it was dumb…. to be expected. There was quite a few men in the audience…. and they all laughed like crazy. I thought it was kind of weird… or at least i didn’t expect it! Now to the movie…. I “liked” it and i loved it for what it was…Jane Austen… I like how it sort of followed the story line with a twist…. possible i suppose…. over all i will buy it when it comes out on DVD. although i love reading books… i don’t think i will ever read the books!

  10. I haven’t seen the movie yet, but do plan on seeing it. I read the book and thought it was just average. I do have to give credit to the author though… it got people to read about P&P who would never have considered doing so. It opened up a new fan base for those to appreciate Jane Austen’s original. It’s great to see so many variations and adaptations of P&P being show on the screen. I hope more P&P variations are made into movies.

    • I agree with that. I always think a great compliment is when a reader says “Your book got me to read Austen.” That’s the best, after all, she says it all… The best!

  11. I loved the movie, and much more than the book. But I never thought of it as an adaptation of P&P. It’s an adaptation of JAFF. And well, put JAFF on the big screen and of course I’m going to get giddy. They like us! They really like us! I loved all the pokes at JAFF they did too. It felt like a giant hug to this JAFF writer.

    I 100% agree with your statement that Austen would have laughed and found it clever. I agree she had a sharp wit and I think we can oftentimes take her far too seriously.

  12. I don’t do zombie movies in any genre (or vampires, or werewolves, or well, you get the drift). As much as I love Jane…I tried to read the book and failed miserably so the movie is an absolute skip for ME. I’m glad you got a kick out of it though. LOL I adore Matt Smith so I think it’s fun that he seems to have stolen the show for the most part. 😉

    • I am with you Stephanie…I don’t do zombies. Sorry, I just can’t handle it….them or whatever…I don’t like them. I also didn’t read the book and was horrified that they had made a movie of it. I will concede and say that years ago I read Regina Jeffers Vampire Darcy’s Desire. Scared the crap out of me and that was it for me. I don’t read Stephen King either.

      • I agree with all that… I made the mistake, years ago, of seeing The Bone Collector and Silence of the Lambs. Still have scenes in my head I’ll never forget. 🙂

  13. I have the book, but zombies are not my favorite so I have yet allowed myself the time to get to it. Then I saw the trailer to the movie and laughed out loud. My husband said no.way…..(He is a bit of a purest) But this friend came to me and said, I have this movie we need to go see. We both planned for lame! But we were pleasantly surprised! And I will see it again! Of course, I could pick it apart a bit but will only say that I was disappointed in Darcy. I will agree with an earlier comment that his voice didn’t do it for me. And D&E relationship was rushed. Not much spark. I did laugh at all the extra references like the wet shirt scene.

  14. I saw the movie. Didn’t love it, but I also didn’t hate it. I found that the movie’s flow/continuity was a bit off. Also, the actor that played Mr. Darcy, his voice really bothered me. He sounded like he needed a throat lozenge the whole time. I loved Matt Smith’s portrayal of Mr. Collins. Very funny, and I never thought that I would feel sympathy for that character. I think he stole the movie for me!

  15. I saw the movie and read all three books connected with this premise. I thought that there was so much more potential to this movie and, of course, went even further in messing with all that was in the books. Where was Geoffrey? And for me there was no romantic sizzle between Darcy and Elizabeth. I laughed through much of the movie. And, REALLY, to just throw in a pond/wet shirt scene for the nod to the 1995 movie was a bit too over the top for me. But I will add this to my collection of JA/JAFF DVD’s, good, bad or indifferent.

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