Sunday, February 7, 2016

A Movie Review of Pride & Prejudice & Zombies

Dear Mr. Steers (the director and writer to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies),

The movie, as Mr. Darcy would say, was "tolerable...but not enough to tempt me." Note: I respect your audience enough not to give spoilers.

I waited months to see this movie. MONTHS. It's all I ever talked about to my readers and to my family. Given it was taken directly from Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice with the drama of "zombies", and that the book itself was funny, scary and good, this movie had the potential to be BLOODY INCREDIBLE!!! teeny tiny detail was left out. The storyline. It made me wonder, Mr. Steers, did you ever actually read the book to understand what the heart of the story was about? Even watching Colin Firth play Darcy or any Pride and Prejudice movie might have helped "steer" you in the right direction. It's not that I'm a Jane Austen purist. Far from it. I'm someone who likes to see things taken out of the box and smashed into the tiniest of pieces to make something new. And maybe that was the problem. You didn't even touch the box. You didn't even sniff it.

It takes real talent to direct and write. Very few people can pull off doing both. I would never claim to be anything more than a writer. It's the whole Jack of all trades and master of none sort of mentality. But I do know good writing when I see it and while you skirted it quite brilliantly at times, too many pieces were missing. *eyes cast downward in mournful sorrow*

1.) The costuming, the settings and the filming were fantastic. It was eye candy in a box! The colors and the costuming and the setting made me feel like I was in Regency, England with a twist. I absolutely loved the visuals. Loved, loved, loved. Did I mention I loved the visual and the filming?!
2.) The acting was phenomenal. BBC quality phenomenal. Mr. Collins (played by Matt Smith) was hilarious and everything we wanted out of him and more. The rest of the cast was equally magnificent! And the opening scene with Mr. Darcy...OMG. The opening scene is what carried me through the entire movie in the hopes something would match it.
3.) The scene between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth, when he proposes to her is classic. They weren't just verbally fighting. They were physically fighting. It rocks.
4.) This is where my praise ends *sniffles*

CONS (Hold on because the pot holes in the road are going to shake your carriage):
1.) Some of the scenes were WAY too dark and it was obvious it had been filmed during the day with a filter put over it (the daylight shadowing gave that away). If you, the director, were trying to go for an authentic historic feel of showing how "dark" it would have been at night in a drawing room during Regency England, you not only succeeded, you nailed it. And I loved that you wanted to be true to history. I loved that! Unfortunately, if you put stilted scenes with dark scenes...well...the result were painful. There were times I was squinting to see what was going on.
2.) The music overpowered people's conversations (ballroom scenes). I'm not hard of hearing but I sure felt like it. I shouldn't feel as if I missed conversations because of music... *waving fan frantically*
3.) Right after the AWESOME opening scene with Mr. Darcy, we are taken through a quick history of England to catch us up to speed on the 'plague'. That introduction could have been taken to great heights but instead fell to great lows because you used cheaply drawn paper dolls to tell the story, as opposed to giving us scenes that would have elevated our investment into the story. A simple fix would have been to SHOW what was being discussed in quick glimpses as opposed to...well...TELLING. Even in a book, you don't tell your audience, you SHOW them. So for a was a death knell and here we are barely 10 minutes into the movie...
4.) Mr. Bennet is one of the strongest characters in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, and yet you only gave the man 3 or 4 lines in the entire movie. He did not exist as a character. *sobbing* Talk about a failure on your part to no understand the story of Pride and Prejudice. Even the book, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, stayed true to what Austen wrote (because he um...plagiarized her word for word). Yet you didn't bother to do anything with Mr. Bennet? How do you explain how kick ass the Bennet girls became? It wasn't thanks to "Mama" but rather "Papa". So much for male perspective and social commentary. Mr. Bennet sent those girls to become warriors and we aren't even privy to getting to know this magnificent man.
5.) We never see the girls becoming warriors. We just see them already "being". So we didn't get a chance to grow with them, which led us to being completely disconnected.
6.) The love story between Mr. Bingley and Jane had no time to develop and felt thrown in. Partly because they danced once together and gaped at each other in passing and that's it. The actress who played Jane was the weakest out of all the actors in this film. While Jane is supposed to be "shy" it just came across as bad acting (and mind you, she was a GREAT actor!). So when Mr. Bingley leaves, we don't feel the impact of his leaving at all. *heaving bosom*
7.) In the beginning, you establish that the zombie infestation is under control, but for some reason, they were "magically" popping up at every "secured" event we were at. Um...teacher...I'm confused.
8.) There weren't enough scenes and interaction between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth Bennet to make me feel like they actually fell in love. We were so busy fighting zombies, we forgot to build a relationship.
9.) This movie tried to replicate iconic scenes from the original Pride and Prejudice but failed miserably. You basically cut and pasted random things in to say "My name is Pride and Prejudice" when in fact you were saying "I like being random" Take for instance...The iconic swimming scene with Mr. Darcy.  After an action scene we break to calm pond. No introduction to where we were or why. Then Mr. Darcy randomly jumps into the water and...that's it. Nothing else comes of it. We don't even get WHY he jumped into the water and we didn't even know whose property he was on. His? Bingley's? Bennet's? We never saw Mr. Darcy in his own house, in his own realm, with his sister, we never see Mr. Darcy's personal life at all. Which lead us into not caring about him at all. *sobbing* I wanted to care so much. It's Mr. Darcy for pity's sake!
10.) The 4 horsemen. You introduce us to something magnificent and show us Mr. Collins explaining what he knows best: the bible. YES, YES, YES!! And never explain it and you never touch it again. Bye, bye. If this is your way of saying we have to wait for Part 2, I may just have to spank you because I'm not paying to see Part 2 unless you let me help you with the script.
11.) The ending. It made no sense. Someone was supposed to be dead. But you never showed us how Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth took care of that situation or got out of said situation with someone who was supposed to be dead. So I'm...confused?
12.) What was up with Mr. Darcy's voice?

Bottom line, I'm sobbing. I'm sobbing because I wanted to love this movie SO much. I wanted people to see historical romance at its finest while doing comedy and horror. Because it never gets any attention from the public. As a director, you have a gift. As a writer, you're still growing. I'm not a Jane Austen purist given what I write...BUT...I went to this movie in the hopes of a story. I got eye candy and then I got...detached. When a historical romance author is detached during an apocalypse, all that's left for her to do is grab her smelling salts and find a fainting couch to lay on.

THAT SAID, everyone should still see the movie just for the opening scene. It's worth $10 for the opening scene, the costuming, the acting, and in particular, watching Mr. Collins.

Yours Truly,
Delilah Marvelle