CHS students, teachers discuss upcoming film adaptation ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’

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SScreen Shot 2016-01-20 at 11.55.53 AM cheduled for release on Feb. 5, Seth Grahame-Smith’s parody of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, takes a path different from the average 19th-century love story.

The film, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” is based off Grahame-Smith’s 2009 book of the same title, which parodied the 1813 novel Pride and Prejudice.

According to the Internet Movie Database (IMDb), the film will center around the book’s main character, Elizabeth Bennet, and the struggles faced by her lovers from different social classes, with the addition of an army of zombies. Set in 19th century England shortly after the Black Plague, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” features Lily James as the protagonist Elizabeth.

A rating of 3.5/5 on Goodreads as well as a similar mixed review of 3.6/5 on Barnes & Nobles concerning the book version of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” suggest the movie could either be an instant hit or total flop.

Sophomore Janine Holmes said she is currently enjoying reading the story, and, although she has fairly positive expectations for the new movie adaptation, she said she is sure history lovers will be angry at the modernization of a classic tale.Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 11.56.08 AM

Holmes said, “I expect it to follow the story line but I know it’s going to have to be different because (Elizabeth) is going to be hunting zombies. But I hope they keep the era and historical costumes the same.”

She said she expects the movie will be strange, but also funny. However, others at CHS have concerns about how well the movie will turn out.

For instance, Amanda Richmond, AP English Literature and Composition teacher, said she believes the movie will be a disaster.

Despite her concerns for the film, Richmond enjoys the idea of a revamped, modernized classic. For example, one of Richmond’s favorite movies, “Clueless,” is based on Jane Austen’s Emma and, according to Richmond, accurately captures the time period as well as the portrayal of the plot lines.

The zombie adaptation of Jane Austen’s novel also invokes a negative response from sophomore Emma Hedrick, who said she has read the original book and also agrees with Richmond’s thoughts.

“I personally don’t think that ‘Pride and Prejudice and Zombies’ will turn out very well because the novel itself is very classy and the details are subtle, so including sci-fi action (will) undermine this,” Hedrick said.

Although Hedrick said she is not optimistic about the movie adaptation, she agreed with Richmond in saying it is a great idea to modernize classic novels in order to make them more appealing to millennials.

Screen Shot 2016-01-20 at 11.56.00 AMHistorically, movie adaptations of classic novels have received mixed reviews. In some adaptations, such as Baz Luhrmann’s 1996 revamp of Romeo and Juliet, the language of the time period stayed consistent and other aspects, such as attire and setting, were changed to appeal to a wider audience, although it only has an average rating of 6.8/10 on IMDb. “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” will be set in the 19th century, the same as the book, but the addition of zombies will be applied to appeal to more people.

Hedrick, Holmes and Richmond all said they usually enjoy modern movie adaptations of classic literature.

“I think it is okay to put modern twists on old books as long as it doesn’t change the story line too much,” Hedrick said. “Once you add in too many new things, it just becomes a new story.”

Although Holmes said a zombie edition of “Pride and Prejudice” could prove to be cringe worthy, she said she is fine with the adaptation because it will still be based on the original.

“The book is really good so far,” Holmes said. “And I’m fine with the movie because either way it’s still based on the book.”

Because she enjoys such modern twists on older novels, Holmes said she looks forward to the movie.

“I know a lot of people don’t like to read old books, so I think it’s really cool because suddenly there’s this big revival and people are going out to read old books again,” Holmes said.

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