Written & Directed By: Burr Steers
Based on the book by: Jane Austen & Seth Grahame-Smith
Cinematography By: Remi Adefsrasin
Editor: Padraic McKinley
Cast: Lily James, Sam Riley, Matt Smith, Jack Huston, Lena Headey, Douglas Booth, Suki Waterhouse, Bella Heathcote, Charles Dance, Sally Phillips
The five highly trained Bennett sisters in Georgian England must try to protect themselves from the growing zombie threat, find suitable husbands for themselves, battle marriage proposals and unlikely suitors, and save the country before it’s too late.
The production values, as well as costumes and weapons, are impressive allowing the film to have a sharpness most period films lack.
The film comes across as more action or even science fiction by way of steampunk rather than horror. The film also has its comedic elements, especially Matt Smith’s performance as an ever-changing suitor
Sam Riley as Mr. Darcy has an imposing state that seems to hide a viciousness that is apparent in the action scenes. But also shows his skills and defenses
I wish the same can be said of Lily James as the lead and the rest of the female cast. Those who are pretty faces and are adequate but don’t really stand out in their performances. She is engaging as a woman of the past with more modern ideas and ideals.
Natalie Portman was originally cast as Elizabeth Bennet but dropped out due to scheduling conflicts. Scarlett Johansson, Anne Hathaway, Emma Stone, Mia Wasikowska, Rooney Mara, Mila Kunis, and Blake Lively were considered to replace her before Lily James was finally cast. Portman remains on board as a producer. All of whom might have made the film more marketable due to name recognition and star power.
The only one who remotely makes a mark is Lena Headey who seems to play a role that might have originally been modeled for Angelina Jolie.
The film allows for originality and a fun mixture of two genres where they create to break the rules as well as play with them.
It is easy to see why this film was considered a hot property as far as adapting it from a novel to a proper film. As it allows the film to be an open bit also let’s get to know the characters.
The film seems to be fitting with what seems like get rich quick outrageousness turned into movies such as ABRAHAM LINCOLN: VAMPIRE HUNTER and HANSEL & GRETEL: WITCH HUNTERS. Or even films such as SCOUTS VS. ZOMBIE APOCALYPSE. Where the title seems to tell you all you need to know. Though this film plays itself as more classy and less juvenile. Though with better production values and plenty of Nice scares that don’t seem requisite.
After David O. Russell left the project, Mike Newell (4 WEDDINGS AND A FUNERAL), David Slade (HARD CANDY), Matt Reeves (CLOVERFIELD), Jonathan Demme (PHILADELPHIA), Neil Marshall (CENTURION) (all of whom might have been better visual stylists), Mike White (YEAR OF THE DOG), Phil Lord, and Christopher Miller (21 JUMP STREET) were all considered to direct before Burr Steers was chosen.
It’s a new Genre for Burr Steers who usually directs more talkative and intimate dramas. Here he is directing a more action-oriented material. While also having the chops to get the most out of the few dramatic and romantic scenes that contain their own burning emotional suspense,
It seems only natural that we would get to these certain characters or at least the story as it is a classic and somehow mix in popular otherworldly ghouls and creatures. As I am sure werewolves are next to be mixed with some classic tale. Usually set sometime in the past rewriting history on film to create their own worlds but challenges us to wonder how they will defeat the monsters with more prominent weapons, technology, and means. At least we can’t necessarily predict how it will all turn out.
While the fight scenes are reminiscent more of BUFFY: THE VAMPIRE SLAYER television episodes rather than an impressive feature film. It is nice to watch a film that challenges gender roles and gender politics. While also showcasing dangerous physical heroic female characters. Who also are the feminine characters that want to be courted even if tougher then the men who romance and desire them. Here they are characterized and defined less like amazons, but just as dangerous as they are attractive.
They spend so much time defining the world and rewriting the main characters to be be more bold and defined. That some get left behind especially among her other sisters and seem almost interchangeable if not paying attention,
The type of film for those who like and don’t like period pieces as it stays close enough to one while also having more modern conventions and genre additions.
The film manages to keep the locations seeming small and to a minimum bit keeps the film big screen grand worthy.
More an addition to have a reason for a genre expedition that adds a swashbuckler spirit to the mix as other then gore and violence as well as an overall plot that needs them to separate the material and add action.
The film does offer a set of circumstances that could truly make the film memorable would have been more tragic. had it for. The way it seemed aimed that then serves up a spectacular finale.
That ultimately might feel like a sell-out to some people, but provides a crowd-pleasing ending and hits the familiar notes for those who have read the book PRIDE & PREJUDICE or at least know the story
Though the film does tap into the desires and fantasies of the female audience by allowing them to be frilly and have an old-style classic romance and go back to a time period where courted and wooed while also letting them be kick ass action heroes. Yet still feminine. In The end, they get to have their cake and eat it too.