Review: Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen

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SYNOPSIS: “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.” So begins Pride and Prejudice, Jane Austen’s witty comedy of manners—one of the most popular novels of all time—that features splendidly civilized sparring between the proud Mr. Darcy and the prejudiced Elizabeth Bennet as they play out their spirited courtship in a series of eighteenth-century drawing-room intrigues.  – via Goodreads

Okay, so I finally got off my lazy butt and got to this. I think it was in large part inspired by Natasha and her incessant hounding of me to join her in her latest addiction, and also after watching Pride and Prejudice and Zombies once again and falling even more in love with Sam Riley as Mr Darcy, I had to get to the original. Usually I feel that classics can be a bit heavy to read, because of the old writing style, which I think is a big reason I kept putting this one off. However, this does not read like I expected it to. In fact, it was quite a quick read to go through, and did not come across as stiff at all.

I can totally see why this book is a classic. Even after all these years, there are still so many themes in here that are still relevant, which is quite crazy. It’s also still really good social commentary. It tells a phenomenal story of a proud man and a prejudiced woman, and their love story, while one we have seen told over and over again (oh look, hot person, oh look, what a dweeb, oh look how much they have changed, oh we must be together), it is told with class and dignity, and you get so involved. From the off, while Mr Darcy is proud and cold, you cannot miss how stupid Elizabeth is to latch so hurriedly onto Mr Wickham’s claims. Like really, your pride and vanity may have been wounded, but now you are just being silly.

A lot of the characters were not overly fleshed out, but that is okay. The ones you need to have depth to have depth, and it is amazing to watch the character transformations, chiefly between Darcy and Elizabeth, of course, Also, Mr Bennet is the king of sass. I swear, unladylike as it was, I snorted a few times when he got some page time. The man is so snarky. The book is also highly entertaining, and features some fantastic wit and is quite sharp. The drama kicks, too, so it balances the two rather well. I think that Pride and Prejudice is also written well, as it feels so much more modern than one would expect. The pacing is, for the most part, just fine, but there is a whole section in the middle that just drags and does not feel like it truly contributes to the story, and could definitely have been tightened up some.

There are a few characters I could not stand. I am only going address the two biggest transgressors here, being Lydia and Mrs Bennet. Truly, two frustrating beings. Lydia is so far and beyond selfish it is actually shocking. Then there is Mrs Bennet who is a gold digger for her children and seriously one of the most embarrassing characters ever. Ugh. My eye actually twitched whenever she opened her psycho mouth and I cringed. And not in the awkward kind of Kick-Ass cringe, either, just flat out “dig me a hole” kind. Oh, let me list Mr Collins here, too, because what a totally pompous ass. He is a cruel, mean spirited, condescending, insipid suck up whom I could not stand.

Pride and Prejudice is quite a quick read, which surprised me, and has a solid story to tell in a timeless way. Elizabeth Bennet, while a bit silly in the way that she handled the entire Darcy situation, is a strong woman who knows her worth, and does not want to just be pregnant and barefoot in the kitchen, just married for title, money, or societal expectations, and I definitely appreciate that. If you have not yet read this book (I was so guilty of this), I highly recommend that you do read it, and as soon as possible. It is fun, it is sweet, it is frustrating, well written and it is well worth its place among the classics.

Review: Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (2016)

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“My daughters are trained for battle, sir, not the kitchen.”
– Mr Bennet

SYNOPSIS: Five sisters in 19th century England must cope with the pressures to marry while protecting themselves from a growing population of zombies. – via IMDB

Guys. Guys. Let’s just talk about this. I cannot believe that I had so much fun with this movie. I mean seriously. Take a classic and add a ton of zombies to it? Not traditional zombies either, mind. How exactly was that supposed to work out? Super fun, let me tell you that! I am so pleased that Natasha enjoyed this so much and made me watch it, as I had zero designs on checking this out before she insisted. Now I have seen it a few times and still think it is so much fun. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies totally embraces all that is ludicrous about it, and delivers on so many fronts. Like Warm Bodies, this is a movie that has no right to be as good as it is, and yet here we are.

Right off the bat, I must say that I enjoyed the cast. I think everyone was well cast and they all seemed to have a total ball. Sam Riley is an actor I quite enjoy, and do wish he was in more things. He’s an absolutely brilliant Darcy, and there is just no way that you are not in love with the dude when all is said and done. For reals. Riley just sneaks up on you – he delivers a harsh Darcy, a man so reserved and focused, and before you know it, you are like oooooooh… totally get why Elizabeth would fall for him. Then there is Lily James, and she is a wonderful Elizabeth Bennet. Got mad love for this character – ballsy, educated, can take care of herself and is strong? So ahead of her time and a great feminist? Hells yeah. I was rooting for her all the way. I absolutely loved watching her and Riley together, they had lovely chemistry – so contained and yet completely through the roof. Jack Huston is another actor I particularly enjoy, and I so wanted to trust Mr Wickham, but he is a smarmy bastard. Pretty one, but still.

I would like to take a moment to talk about Mr Collins and Matt Smith’s portrayal. It is evident he is having a blast portraying such a total twat, and is beyond exasperating. My inner feminist was just like “wtf” the whole time, and yet his character made me laugh and groan, and that is purely down to how well Smith played Collins. Charles Dance was also great as Mr Bennet, and I had a lot of respect for how he saw his girls as more that just marriage conduits. Well played, sir!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies totally embraced its weirdness. Right off the bat it has a crazy opening (that elaborate story and animation was really cool), girls with all sorts of weapons in all sorts of places and mad training and a mother who just wants them to marry rich. It’s insane. While being totally out there yet still loyal to the source material, this movie looks good, too. The sets and costumes are really good, and it does not come off as a budget film. It goes all out, and it really helps the cause.

As you can tell, I thought the movie was a lot of fun. Don’t go into this and expect to see the classic as you have come to expect. Why can’t people just accept this as a fun adaptation, not something competing with a classic? Don’t take it too seriously. For reals, it will ruin the experience. It is silly popcorn entertainment that is actually put together quite well, and has a cast that just makes it well worth the watch. It’s funny, it’s ridiculous, it has zombies and manages to convey a classic love story, where you get involved and want to root for Darcy and Elizabeth to just, you know, find each other. So I think in terms of that the movie delivered, and I would say watch it if you are not going to nitpick for issues and can just shut your brain down at the door and have some fun.