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Pride and Prejudice and Zombies

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In 1813, Jane Austen had a book published entitled, Pride and Prejudice. This classic detailed the budding romance between the charming, witty Elizabeth Bennet and the handsome, stoic Mr. Darcy. In 2009, nearly 200 years later, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies was published. The story was exactly the same as Austen’s except with Seth Grahame-Smith’s additions of… You guessed it! Zombies! And ninjas! And copious amounts of cannibalism! The novel then had a movie adaption that was released on February 5th, 2016, starring Lily James as Elizabeth Bennet and Sam Riley as Fitzwilliam Darcy. In this edition of Read VS View, we’ll be sinking our teeth into the similarities and differences between the novel and its silver screen counterpart. As per usual, spoilers lie ahead, so beware.

Similarities (Vann):

In Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, the first line spoken in the movie is the same as that written in the book, with of course, the added zombie. The movie used many quotes from the book, however, some were slightly out of order. The on-screen relationship between the sisters was as close knit as ever. For example, upon hearing her sister, Jane, has fallen ill,Elizabeth travels on foot through muddy roads full of zombies to visit her. Of course, Elizabeth could take care of herself as she trained with the Chinese and knew her way around katanas.

An issue that was explored well in the movie was the discourse between being trained by the Chinese versus the Japanese in martial arts. It is apparently looked down upon to train with the Chinese because only the poor do this, while the rich train with the Japanese. Elizabeth, however, takes pride in her Japenese training and doesn’t let it hold her down, just like as in the book.

In the movie, Mr. Darcy was as awkward as ever in his infatuation with Elizabeth, yet through his caring gestures he was able to woo Elizabeth. Of course, there were some bumps along the way, such as the argument between Mr. Darcy and Mr. Wickham that made Elizabeth see Mr. Darcy in a terrible light. This resulted in a fight scene between Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth that was portrayed very well in the movie. It really showed how skilled the two were and how formidable they can be against zombies.

In the end, there weren’t that many similarities between the movie and book, but the parts that were similar, were really well done.

Differences (Marielle):

As assumed from the title, zombies play a prominent role in Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. One major difference, however, is the amount of zombies that wreak havoc throughout the film. The novel illustrates a few zombies here and there, the biggest horde encountered being about twenty-five. On screen, the main characters encounter hundreds ofzombies, leading to a full-fledged war between humans and flesh-eating monsters. I am well-aware that zombies are a necessity in the film (it’s in the title!), but this story is very much Jane Austen’s as it is Grahame-Smith’s. Adding a zombie war strayed too far from the simple love story that Pride and Prejudice is and made it feel like something entirely different.

As per usual when it comes to a book to movie adaption, there were a few moments that weren’t included in the film. These omissions, such as Mr. Darcy saving Lydia from a scandalous marriage or his first dance with Elizabeth, made it difficult to pinpoint when exactly Elizabeth and Mr. Darcy fell in love. This made any intimate interactions between the two feel forced and a little awkward. Another loss was the lack of action scenes involving Lady Catherine de Bourgh (played by Lena Headey, who sported an awesome eyepatch). Lady Catherine, although considered England’s most formidable warrior appeared, in the movie, to be just another aristocrat who didn’t want to be be troubled with the zombie infestation. Also, unfortunately there were no ninjas to be seen.

The most significant difference was the role Mr. Wickham had to play in the story. Listing all the differences related to Wickham would be as long as the novel itself, so in short: Mr. Wickham turns out to be zombie, not fully turned simply because of the burning hatred he still possesses towards Mr. Darcy, thus ending the film ends with him leading an army of the undead on horseback. Strange, right? Fortunately, that’s what both the novel and film were aiming for, — so points to them.

Although the movie strayed from the novel several times, the film retained the same level of absurdity and humor that I’m sure Grahame-Smith intended. Overall, it was a zombie film with a few chuckles and a splash of romance. What more could you ask for?}

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