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Pride+Prejudice+Zombies: A Review

Jane Austen and I have always had a tumultuous relationship. I’ve never liked Pride and Prejudice (not the first time I read it, not the second). Actually, I prefer Sense and Sensibility, but in general, my feelings about Jane Austen’s work reflect her feelings about the Bronte sisters’ work: she didn’t dig it.

I wasn’t too keen on the idea of throwing zombies into the mix either, but what can you do? I didn’t read that version, either, but I did take my little sister to see the movie over Valentine’s Day Weekend. If there’s one thing I can get behind, it’s celebrating a holiday I don’t care about with a movie about killing the undead.

Pride+Prejudice+Zombies was as hilariously horrible as I expected it to be. Men and women are sent to China (for the poor) or Japan (for the elite) to learn to the art of fighting and combat. The costumes were lovely, the scenery perfect. Point: at least Jane, Lizzie, and the other girls wore respectable (if not entirely historically accurate) clothing. There was a shade too much decolletage, but what did I expect? At least they stuck to full-length dresses and not skimpy “battle attire.”Plus, the knife holsters were an excellent addition.

The storyline was not what I expected. It’s vaguely like Austen’s novel, and Lizzie still gets to be the snarky delight she is, but they didn’t really develop the other characters. I’m not sure if they were relying on viewers having read the original zombie-free version. There was also a glaring lack of transition. The narrative bounced back and forth like a loose brain. The casting was hit-and-miss: Matt Smith was an excellent and thoroughly annoying Mr. Collins, Lily James was a great Lizzie Bennett. I wanted Lady Catherine (Lena Headey) to be a villain, but she was not. I had been convinced she had a legion of zombies set to keep Lizzie and Darcy apart.

Jack Huston was the BEST Wickham I’ve seen. Well, the best version of Wickham.

And I know this is going to be shallow, but I felt that Darcy could have been… more handsome. Bingely was super pretty. Darcy… meh. Maybe it was the styling. I liked him way more as the crow-man in Maleficent.

I do feel like they gave us an homage to the BBC version, starring Collin Firth, as this Darcy also has a dramatic swan-dive into a pond, from which he rises in a dripping puffy shirt. I might have cackled in the middle of the theater. Okay, I did.

Darcy confessing his “inappropriate” and “horrifying” feelings for Elizabeth was definitely improved matching verbal sparring with a literal knife fight. It was probably my favorite moment in the whole thing.

The highlight of the film was how well they maintained Lizzie’s character. I might not like Pride and Prejudice, but I’ve always appreciated Elizabeth’s steadfastness and confidence in herself. The addition of zombies only allowed her to be stronger. Counterbalancing Darcy’s earlier… demand that Lizzie marry him, at the end, he asks not for her to be his wife, but if she’d allow him to be her husband.

Alright, maybe that was my favorite part of the movie.

I’m a bit upset I paid so much to see it in theaters, but my sister enjoyed it, so it was worth the cost. If you missed it on the big screen, well, you didn’t miss much. I’d wait to rent it. A dollar feels like a more reasonable price.

What did you think? More over, what do you think Jane Austen would think


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Gone Girl: Book and Movie Review

My first foray into Gillian Flynn’s work was Sharp Objects. I loved that book so much I immediately reread it. Flynn has a great voice, the story was compelling and gritty and I loved every moment. Dark Places was… well, a let down. My friend Cas had been telling me to read Gone Girl, but I was bit soured after Flynn’s second book hadn’t lived up to the first. When I heard Gone Girl was going to be made into a film, I broke down. The book had been sitting on my shelf for almost a year and every so often I’d think I should read that, and pass it up for something else. I started the book and finished it five days later. MV5BMTk0MDQ3MzAzOV5BMl5BanBnXkFtZTgwNzU1NzE3MjE@._V1_SX640_SY720_ Holy fuck was I wrong. Gone Girl centers around Nick Dunne and his missing wife, Amy. Nick, of course, is accused of her murder. Things look bad for Nick; hell, things are bad for Nick. A diary filled with damning things, suspicious spending, a “too perfect” crime scene… and a treasure hunt, their anniversary tradition, leading to more than just the traditional gift.

I could not put it down. Well, I did, but it had to be pried out of my hands. I wasn’t expecting the emotional rollercoaster or how angry I’d be and how thoroughly impressed. Once the punches start rolling and the story blossoms into this tangled thicket of thorns and roses, you are HOOKED. I went from hating Nick to feeling sorry for him and that’s not a switch I make often. These characters are wonderfully compelling and the plotline is so clever, it’s sickening.

Seriously, I want to see Flynn’s mind map for this story because it must have taken so much time and energy and planning.

Obviously, I was just as thrilled for the movie. I’d been hearing nothing but excellent things and as I’m sure you know, fellow readers, it’s hard to get your hopes up when there’s a book involved. I admit to being more than a little worried when punk rock me walked into a theatre filled with older couples and moms. I know they billed Gone Girl as a “hot night flick” but… no.

I could not have been happier. The filmography is to die for and they kept a lot of the lines from the book. I cannot praise Rosamund Pike enough as Amy Elliot Dunne. She was brilliant and almost exactly as I’d pictured Amy. Ben Affleck was great as Nick. He really captured the character’s inappropriate charm. Neil Patrick Harris took me by surprise as Desi Collings. I’d seen more as the Ezra Miller type, but NPH was excellent. Subtly dangerous. Slightly creepy.

The only change I was uncertain of was Tyler Perry as Tanner Bolt, but he played the role magnificently. I was a bit sad to see the lack of Tanner’s wife, but they kept the jellybean/gummy bear scene, which I found hilarious in the book. The narrative was spot on, with a slight number of changes to make it work on film. I adored the little vignettes of Amy writing in her diary, the masterful switches in point of view. At 2 hours and 30 minutes, I was worried it would be too long, but I don’t think I’ve seen a more perfect adaptation of book to movie.

The only slight difference was the ending, which didn’t vary from the book as much as I thought it would. It added to the feel. I loved it. Of course I have to spare a moment for the soundtrack, which I bought immediately upon leaving the theatre. Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross knocked it out of the fucking ballpark. If you loved the book, you’ll love the movie. If you haven’t read the book, I suggest you do so, but it’s not necessary as long as you know that it’s not a feel-good movie and there are no happy endings. It’s a thriller and I am thrilled I got the chance to see it on the big screen. Nick and Amy are so fucked up and absolutely perfect for each other.

I sat in my seat as the credits rolled and just smiled. I don’t remember ever walking out of a theatre grinning like that, that sort of haughty, deeply self-satisfied smirk. I can’t wait to own it on DVD. This is definitely one you don’t want to miss.

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