Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (Blu-ray) (2016)

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Released 8-Jun-2016

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Details At A Glance

General Extras
Category Action Trailer-Start-up Trailers x 3 for other films (7:06)
Outtakes-Blooper Reel (1:38)
Deleted Scenes-x 8 (10:36)
Featurette-Behind The Scenes-Creating the Unmentionables (3:31)
Featurette-From Austen to Zombies: Adapting a Classic (6:00)
Outtakes-Mr Collins Line-O-Rama (2:39)
Featurette-The Badass Bennet Sisters (3:59)
Featurette-Courtship, Class and Carnage: Meet the Cast (6:54)
Rating Rated MA
Year Of Production 2016
Running Time 107:24
RSDL / Flipper Dual Layered Cast & Crew
Start Up Ads Then Menu
Region Coding 2,4 Directed By Burr Steers
Studio
Distributor

Roadshow Home Entertainment
Starring Lily James
Sam Riley
Bella Heathcote
Douglas Booth
Jack Huston
Charles Dance
Sally Phillips
Ellie Bamber
Millie Brady
Suki Waterhouse
Lena Headey
Case ?
RPI ? Music Fernando Velazquez


Video Audio
Pan & Scan/Full Frame None English DTS HD Master Audio 5.1
English Descriptive Audio Dolby Digital 2.0
Widescreen Aspect Ratio 2.40:1
16x9 Enhancement
16x9 Enhanced
Video Format 1080p
Original Aspect Ratio 2.35:1 Miscellaneous
Jacket Pictures No
Subtitles English for the Hearing Impaired Smoking No
Annoying Product Placement No
Action In or After Credits Yes, Scene part way through end credits

NOTE: The Profanity Filter is ON. Turn it off here.

Plot Synopsis

     In the 19th century England has been overrun by zombies. A bite from a zombie effects a living human but the bitten person only becomes a fully-fledged zombie after eating human brains, after which their taste for humans become insatiable. Until then, however, they can live almost normal lives making them hard to detect. Human survivors have congregated in London, protected by a massive wall and a deep, wide moat, only one guarded bridge connecting London to the outside world. Some of the more well-off, however, continue to live in the countryside in fortified country houses.

     One such family is the Bennets; Mr Bennet (Charles Dance), Mrs Bennet (Sally Phillips) and their five beautiful daughters, all of marriageable age - Elizabeth (Lily James), Jane (Bella Heathcote), Lydia (Ellie Bamber), Mary (Millie Brady) and Kitty (Suki Waterhouse). Given the perilous times, all of the daughters have been trained in martial arts and weapons handling as well as some more feminine skills. Mrs Bennet is therefore very excited when the rich, handsome and unmarried Mr Charles Bingley (Douglas Booth) opens up a house not too far away. At a dance Charles is enamoured with Jane, and the feeling is mutual. Also at the ball is the dark and enigmatic Colonel Fitzwilliam Darcy (Sam Riley), an experienced zombie hunter and killer, nephew of Lady Catherine de Bough (Lena Headey), the most deadly swordswoman in England. Darcy and Elizabeth are drawn to each other but both are too proud and antagonistic to acknowledge the attraction.

     Rounding out the possible suitors for the girls is their cousin Parson Collins (Matt Smith) and Lieutenant George Wickham (Jack Huston), who for some reason is on poor terms with Darcy. Wickham also has an idea about how humans and zombies can peacefully co-exist which, however, gets few backers. As the zombie apocalypse nears our heroes and heroines are placed in mortal danger. Oh, and can true love find a way?

     Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is based upon the 2009 novel of the same name by Seth Grahame-Smith and, of course, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is a “concept movie” and, a bit like Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, which also originated from a novel by Seth Grahame-Smith, it mainly works because the film plays its premise absolutely straight as a normal Jane Austen period drama (but with zombies), taking and twisting the well-known, and well loved, Pride and Prejudice events and characters and giving them a supernatural, inventive and very surreal, rereading. To add veracity, the costumes and weapons look authentic and the sets are dark and gloomy which enhances the feel of the film as a period drama. I enjoy this juxtaposition of the ordinary (perhaps mundane) and zombie action although to my mind the comedy / buffoonery of Parson Collins was a juxtaposition too far! I know he is the same sort of character in Pride and Prejudice but he grates here.

     Director Burr Steers was not the first choice to direct the film after the original director David O. Russell dropped out. This is only his third feature film in seven years and he seems to lack the control to keep a film with wildly different tones together. The more straight forward “Austen” scenes work well, but the action sequences feel perfunctory with the cast slashing at camera rather than doing much actual fighting. However, the zombie prosthetics look good and there are a number of suddenly exploding zombie heads as they are shot which are good for shock value. Sam Riley and Lily James, who has been working overtime with recent roles in Downton Abbey and War & Peace, look good and their “courtship” with knives and a poker is fun but there is not a lot for the rest of the cast to do: Game of Thrones’s Lena Headey is totally over the top with a black eye patch while Jack Huston, as the principal opponent, makes little impact: hopefully his star is on the rise with his role as Judah Ben-Hur in the current Ben Hur remake.

     Pride and Prejudice and Zombies may be somewhat uneven mainly because too many versions of scenes and characters from Pride and Prejudice are added which almost amount to distracting cameos which do not help concentrate a plot which has added a lot of material to the novel as it is. Nevertheless, the concept, and the film, is still a lot of fun.

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Transfer Quality

Video

     Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is presented in the 2.40:1 aspect ratio, close to the original 2.35:1, in 1080p, using the MPEG-4 AVC code.

     The print is absolutely sharp with every aspect of the costumes and zombie prosthetic make-up clear and detailed. The colours have that digital glossiness; some scenes are bright with natural colours but many of the interiors are dark with a brown palate while the zombie apocalypse climax is very dull and grey. The film also has a number of night scenes or sequences in dungeons or dark passageways where the blacks and shadow detail are excellent. Skin tones are fine and I noticed no marks or artefacts although in scenes with the light source behind the actors contrast and brightness could vary.

     English subtitles for the hearing impaired are available. A couple of sentences of Japanese and Chinese are automatically subtitled.

Video Ratings Summary
Sharpness
Shadow Detail
Colour
Grain/Pixelization
Film-To-Video Artefacts
Film Artefacts
Overall

Audio

     The feature audio is English DTS-HD MA 5.1. Also available is an English audio description track (Dolby Digital 2.0) using a male voice.

     This is a dynamic audio track. Dialogue is always clear and easy to understand. The surrounds and the rears are frequently in use for the music, the rain and thunder, crowds, the ball sequence and horses’ hooves. The pistol shots are loud and thunderous. The sub-woofer added depth and rumble to the thunder, carriage wheels, canons, the explosion at the end, shots and the music.

     The orchestral score by Fernando Velazquez is traditional and epic, keeping a nice balance.

    Lip synchronisation was fine.

Audio Ratings Summary
Dialogue
Audio Sync
Clicks/Pops/Dropouts
Surround Channel Use
Subwoofer
Overall

Extras

Start-up Trailers (7:06)

    Trailers for Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice, The Nice Guys and Everybody Wants Some play on start-up. They cannot be selected from the menu.

Blooper Reel (1:38)

     Cast messing around and stuff ups.

Deleted Scenes (10:36)

     Eight deleted scenes without text, with sound but without music. Some are quite interesting.

Creating the Unmentionables (3:31)

     The designing and the making up of the zombies; film footage, behind the scenes and comments from Mark Coulier (prosthetics designer), the director and cast Ellie Bamber and Millie Brady. Short but interesting.

From Austen to Zombies: Adapting a Classic (6:00)

     How they tried to respect the original material as much as possible, adding action and zombies! On-set footage plus comments by director / writer Burr Steers, two producers and cast members Sam Riley, Bella Heathcote, Lena Headey and Lily James. OK.

Mr Collins Line-O-Rama (2:39)

     Extra bits of clowning around by Matt Smith.

The Badass Bennet Sisters (3:59)

     Redefining the Bennet sisters as action heroines and how the actresses mostly did their own stunts. On-set and film footage plus comments by the director, a producer, Maurice Lee (fight coordinator) and the five actresses who played the Bennet sisters.

Courtship, Class and Carnage: Meet the Cast (6:54)

     A fluff piece with film and on-set footage and the director, producer and twelve cast members saying how great everyone and everything was.

R4 vs R1

NOTE: To view non-R4 releases, your equipment needs to be multi-zone compatible and usually also NTSC compatible.

     The US Region A release of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies is the same as ours except that has a Spanish dub and Spanish subtitles.

Summary

     Your level of enjoyment of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies probably depends upon your acceptance and interest in the concept of mingling a Jane Austen romance of manners with zombies. Those primarily interested in action or zombie movies may feel a bit short changed while Pride and Prejudice aficionados will probably shudder. Personally, I had a lot of fun with the film because plays its absurdist concept absolutely straight.

     The video and audio are very good. The extras are mostly lightweight but are the same as are available elsewhere.

Ratings (out of 5)

Video
Audio
Extras
Plot
Overall

© Ray Nyland (the bio is the thing)
Monday, June 20, 2016
Review Equipment
DVDSony BDP-S580, using HDMI output
DisplayLG 55inch HD LCD. This display device has not been calibrated. This display device is 16x9 capable. This display device has a maximum native resolution of 1080p.
Audio DecoderNAD T737. This audio decoder/receiver has not been calibrated.
AmplificationNAD T737
SpeakersStudio Acoustics 5.1

Other Reviews NONE
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