Director: Burr Steers
Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Jack Huston
Release Date: Available on 4K Ultra HD, Blu-Ray & DVD May 31, 2016
A Review By: Kevin Lovell
Film Rating: 7/10
Disc Rating: 7.5/10
A zombie outbreak has fallen upon the land in this reimagining of Jane Austen’s classic tale of the tangled relationships between lovers from different social classes in 19th century England. Feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet (Lily James) is a master of martial arts and weaponry and the handsome Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) is a fierce zombie killer, yet the epitome of upper class prejudice. As the zombie outbreak intensifies, they must swallow their pride and join forces on the blood-soaked battlefield in order to conquer the undead once and for all.
Based upon the acclaimed mash-up novel from Quirk books by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith which intertwines Jane Austen’s classic piece of literature with zombies (naturally), ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ tells the story of the beautiful Bennet sisters. Get ready to accompany these young women as they suffer trials and heartache while attending luxurious parties, dressing like proper ladies, and of course constantly honing their fighting skills in order to fend off the deadly hordes of zombies that now plague their homeland. As if these young ladies didn’t have enough to worry about with propriety, romance and family, fortunately a little zombie slaughtering is just another day in the lives of the beautiful and deadly Bennet sisters.
Directed by Burr Steers (Charlie St. Cloud) from his own screenplay which was based on the mash-up novel by Seth Grahame-Smith which was itself taken from the original piece of literature ‘Pride and Prejudice’ by Jane Austen respectively, Steers does an impressive job at the helm of ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ and manages to find the perfect middle ground between ridiculous and intelligent. Another crucial element which largely contributes to the film working as well as it does is the talented individuals who comprise the cast including Lily James (TV’s Downton Abbey), Sam Riley (Maleficent), Jack Huston (TV’s Boardwalk Empire), Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows 2012), Matt Smith (TV’s Doctor Who), Charles Dance (The Imitation Game), Lena Headey (TV’s Game of Thrones) and a number more, all of whom deliver capable and fitting performances in each of their respective roles, with Matt Smith stealing the majority of the scenes he occupies with his hilarious portrayal of Parson Collins.
‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ is a goofy and bloody reimaging of the classic tale by Jane Austen, intentionally silly and fun while still managing to make the old dialogue and elements of the time period surprisingly accurate and believable, combining into a much more impressive film that I ever would have imagined possible. Making the wise decision to embrace its absurd nature and simply have fun with it, while still making a point to retain nearly every detail of the era with surprising accuracy and treated with a passion often simply disregarded in this type of film. Guided by director Burr Steers with a wonderfully fitting pace and touch and featuring a highly capable cast that rarely disappoints, ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ is an enjoyable and well constructed film. ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ certainly won’t be everyone’s cup of tea, although many may want to consider (or reconsider) giving it a shot, you may just be quite pleased you decided to do so.
Overall, ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ is a humorous, action-packed and romantically fueled reimagining of Jane Austen’s classic. While no one can argue its ridiculous nature, it wisely chooses to embrace its goofy nature while still retaining the classic dialogue and most other aspects of the time with surprising care and accuracy. Capably guided by director Burr Steers and complimented by a talented cast, ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ is a far better film than many would expect and while by no means perfect, it definitely manages to deliver an entertaining ride from start to finish.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ features a full 1080p High Definition presentation utilizing the film’s original 2.40:1 Cinemascope Aspect Ratio. The video presentation looks outstanding, providing a consistently sharp and detailed presentation throughout with no notable faults to be found within. It holds up impressively even during the numerous fast moving and/or darkly lit sequences, never resulting in anything occurring on screen to become negatively affected or rendered indiscernible. Overall, this is another wonderful high definition video presentation from Sony that should easily please the masses.
The Blu-ray release features a lossless 5.1 channel DTS-HD Master Audio soundtrack. This lossless multichannel soundtrack provides a crisp, clean and hard hitting audio presentation from start to finish, utilizing all five available channels regularly in order to send the films score along with plenty of action related audio effects, crowd activity and much more throughout the various speakers, while never causing any dialogue which may be occurring simultaneously to become distorted or rendered inaudible. Overall, this is a fantastic 5.1 channel DTS-HD MA soundtrack that contributes an additional layer of fun to the overall viewing experience.
The Blu-ray release of ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ includes some enjoyable extras. Included on the release are a number of ‘Deleted Scenes’ from the film (running approximately 10 minutes in length altogether), in addition to a ‘Gag Reel’ (running approximately 2 minutes), some humorous fun with Matt Smith in a ‘Mr. Collins Line-O-Rama’ (approximately 3 minutes), and a few short Behind the Scenes Featurettes that include interviews/comments with the cast and crew. The included Featurettes are: ‘The Badass Bennet Sisters’ (running approximately 4 minutes), ‘Courtship, Class and Carnage: Meet the Cast’ (7 minutes), ‘From Austen to Zombies: Adapting a Classic’ (6 minutes), and ‘Creating the Unmentionables’ (3 minutes).