What do you think you are going to get with such a title?
To succeed in polite society, a young woman must be many things. Kind... well-read... and accomplished. But to survive in the world as WE know it, you'll need... other qualities.What do you think you are going to get with a film titled: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies? Exactly what you think. Based on the respective novels by Jane Austin and Seth Grahame-Smith, director Burr Steers put the final word to the screenplay which follows the novels very succinctly; five sisters cope with the pressures of trying to find a suiter only this time with the backdrop of a zombie apocalypse. All the characters are present and correct even if some of their motivations are driven by something … else. The film has elements of comedy (Matt Smith being the main culprit) and elements of romanticism (the budding relationship between Elizabeth and Mr Darcy), it has a very solid period setting, contains elements of horror and elements of action. The main criticism levelled at the film is that whilst it contains all these elements none are given any dominance and thus the story falters in terms of narrative drive.I’m not so sure. Yes, there is a lot of ‘pride and prejudice’ compared to the amount of ‘action/zombie’, but the whole thing develops towards the impending apocalypse and to that end the pacing is well realised. Characterisation (taken right out of the novel) is right there on the screen, well-acted and solid. You can feel for their plight and all the while there is that feeling of impending doom. Indeed the whole thing has a refreshing feel to it, giving the zombie genre, which has been stagnant for years, a bit of a wakeup call. Gone are the trapped groups surround by insurmountable odds, gone is the conflict between individuals, gone is the foul language and gone are the mountains of assault rifles. What we are left with is a succinct story of romance in an ever changing world. Quite honestly the film delivers on what it promises – how rare is that?
Picture QualityThe disc presents a widescreen 2.40:1 1080p transfer using the AVC codec and is Region locked to B. Shot digitally the image on show is blistering in terms of dynamic range and vibrancy. Detail is excellent, staples like skin texture and clothing weaves (especially the girl’s finery) are obvious, but weapons, grassland, wooden panelling, table decorations etc.; all have a keen edge and never soften.
Colour is rich and vibrant; the grading is warm during the early part of the film and when things turn somewhat dour the colouring follows suit; but remains bold and strong with no wash or bleed. Check out the sun drenched fields, or grassland gardens; the brickwork of the various manors with the sun warming the cold stone. Flesh tones are warm and natural looking, while the blue skies are nice enough to sleep under.
The image is blistering in terms of its dynamic range and vibrancy
Brightness and contrast are set to give wonderfully deep blacks that add some real punch and depth to the frame; there are many scenes set in darkness (cellars, night time etc.) and each hide some decent shadow detail when needed, but can equally be impenetrable when required. Check out Darcy’s black clothing when in shadow, for example. Digitally there are no compression issues or edge enhancement. The original print is in pristine condition. Very little if anything to fault with this stunning picture.
Sound QualityJust the one track: English DTS-HD MA 5.1 surround – and it’s a belter. Right from the off the track rewards you with an enveloping surround environment, heavy on ambience, stereo effects and a deep thundering bass line that is up there with the very best. Dialogue is natural sounding and given plenty of directionality when required (check out the girl’s sparring in the cellar, and how the dialogue echoes and reverberates around the room determining their position) and is never lost in the mix. The surround picks up on all effects and through steering, places you in the centre of the action; thunder is a terrific example. Bass is awesome, some of the deepest moments I have heard in a very long time; LF effects come thick and fast, never over-powering but tight, controlled and chest thumpingly good. All-in-all a terrific surround soundtrack.
ExtrasGag Reel – About a minute of mistakes and goofs.
Deleted scenes – Eight in total ranging from 30 seconds to 3 minutes, none of which adds very much to the finished product.
Featurettes – Five insubstantial features of a few minutes each.
Creating the Unmentionables – Brief look at the 19th century zombie make-up.
From Austen to Zombies: Adapting a Classic – The melding of two ‘classics’.
Mr. Collins Line-O-Rama – Matt Smith alternate lines.
The Badass Bennet Sisters – Acting and action with the actresses.
Courtship, Class and Carnage: Meet the Cast – Backslapping galore.
Blu-ray VerdictPride and Prejudice and Zombies is kinda what you might expect from the title; Jane Austin’s book set to zombies: following the plot of the book almost exactly with the occasional peppering of zombie attacks culminating in an apocalyptic climax – but all ends well. It has comic overtones, dramatic overtones and period setting. It looks good, plays well and is harmless in its own way. Nowhere near as bad as some might have you believe I found it quite a refreshing take on a zombie genre that has had nothing new to say for years.
A refreshing take on a zombie genre that has had nothing new to say for years
Lionsgate’s Blu-ray release is a decent enough package; the picture is stunning in terms of clarity, colouring and black level which are reference all the way, while the sound is blistering in terms of the surround envelopment and bass level which rival the very best the format has to offer. The extras are all throw away fluff, but help to fill out the set.
You can buy Pride and Prejudice and Zombies on Blu-ray here
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