Sunday, January 1, 2017

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

Floating around this house somewhere is a copy of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith, a parody of Jane Austin's famous Pride and Prejudice. It was a birthday gift from my mom. I've been trying to find it for three weeks so I could finally read it. I hadn't bothered before because the words "Pride and Prejudice" nearly sends me into convulsions. I hate that book and did every time (four - I had to read it four times) it was assigned for school reading. But the movie was good, so it deserves a shot. I mean, who doesn't want to see aristocrats from the Regency period get eaten by reanimated corpses?
I finally found it!
Themes: Love, honor, vanity, and zombies.
Genre: Apocalyptic Romance (that was weird to type).

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is set in an alternate reality in Britain during the Regency period in the countryside of the gentry - the upper class - during a long war against the living dead. Unlike London, the country lives in relative peace, saved by the protection of a wall around the city where most of the dead are contained.

While the original toyed with themes of love, its real value as a literary classic was its commentary on the social structure and the roles of women in society and their value therein. Their value as a gender relies solely on their value as a potential wife. Love is secondary to accomplishment in the delicate arts of entertaining with skill on the Pianoforte (a predecessor to the modern piano) standing as a symbol of utmost femininity and culture. Young ladies of this culture are pitted in a vicious competition to marry well. 

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies adds an additional accomplishment to the list: skill in martial arts with the different styles and schools drawing a clear line in the subtle variances of high social class. This plays a huge role in the story arc between Mr. Darcy and Miss Bennett and symbolizes the cutthroat life of high society by paralleling the kill or be killed reality of a zombie apocalypse.

The plot follows the original love story between Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley) and Miss Bennett (Lily James) except for one little detail; Mr. Darcy is an expert zombie hunter. Well known for his skill in rooting out the most clever of zombies and his thoroughness of eradicating them, Mr. Darcy comes across as pretentious and apathetic in social situations which is only matched by Miss Bennett's obstinance and pride.

Once they realize their folly in judgment of one another, the duo, equal on the battlefield of both love and war, defeat the vile foe and turn the tides on the war against the reanimated dead, and find a place within each other's arms.

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was a fun take on the genre as well as an interesting and creative adaptation of a classic novel. Well worth the watch.

Happy New Year!

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