Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Pride + Prejudice + Zombies Ultra 4K Ultra HD / Blu-ray Review

Reviewed by Jami Ferguson
Based on the best-selling novel by Seth Grahame-Smith and Jane Austen, Pride + Prejudice + Zombies has made its debut on Blu-ray, DVD and next-generation 4K Ultra HD from Sony Pictures Home Entertainment. In this reimagining of the classic tale, the Bennett sisters and Mr. Darcy must unite to fight a zombie outbreak that has taken over 19th century England. Lily James (Cinderella) leads an ensemble cast featuring Sam Riley (Maleficent), Jack Huston (The Longest Ride), Bella Heathcote (Dark Shadows), Douglas Booth (Jupiter Ascending), Matt Smith (“Dr. Who”), Charles Dance (“Game of Thrones”) and Lena Headey (“Game of Thrones”).
Film (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
In 19th Century England, life has many challenges. Hordes of zombies are threatening the lives of aristocrats and commoners alike. A moat has been created around London to keep the population safe and zombie free. The plague that infects the zombies works slowly, allowing new zombies to travel and mingle amongst the living during the initial incubation period. Colonel Darcy (Sam Riley) has figured out that flies are attracted to the rotting flesh. He carries a few of them in a jar, and releases them to see who they land on. When they land on an infected person, there is no discussion or trial, simply on the spot execution.

Despite the fear of infection, life goes on. The Bennet sisters will soon marry and their mother works hard to find them an appropriate mate. Young women still learn etiquette but they are also trained in combat. Where you were trained is a status symbol. The Bennet girls were trained in China, which is not the first choice of many young girls. Mr. Bingley (Douglas Booth) is currently an available suitor, and he pursues Jane Bennet (Bella Heathcote). Mr. Bingley and Mr. Darcy are friends and Mr. Darcy has his eye on Elizabeth (Lily James). From there the Pride and Prejudice story we all know follows along its course. The undead presence does not turn the film into a comedy. It is a taken very seriously and graphically. The zombie attacks and deaths are just as gruesome as your standard horror flick, simply set in the time of Pride and Prejudice.

Following the story of Pride and Prejudice so closely was a problem for me. I would get enthralled in the story line and then someone would get shot in the head. I was left wanting to watch Pride and Prejudice and a zombie movie separately. If Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter had followed a story I had watched and read many times so closely I would have had the same problems. I was hoping for a zombie flick set in the 19th Century, had I done my research I would have realized that this was literally the same story with zombies added. Some of my favorite fun campy films were ones I hated upon first viewing. Having had my expectations set high was a problem. Films like The Mummy and Deep Blue Sea later became part of my regular rotation once I lowered the bar. I expect that Pride Prejudice and Zombies could be the same way. I will have to wait six months or so before I watch it again and decide if I am still disappointed.
Video (5 out of 5 stars)
I have been impressed with Sony’s Blu-ray releases in the past and Pride + Prejudice + Zombies on 4K Ultra Blu-ray surpasses my expectations. The 2160p high definition presentation provides great detail and a luxurious color palette. With zombies being shot and stabbed you may not want your picture to be that sharp but the detail is excellent. Period costumes show fine detail and skin tones are even and lifelike for the non-zombies, and appear genuine for the undead.
Audio (4 1/2 out of 5 stars)
Pride +Prejudice + Zombies features a Dolby Atmos soundtrack that delivers at all the important moments. You will cringe as heads are blown apart by gunfire like there were zombies in your living room. You’ll feel the weight of a crowd and will jump at least once during your first viewing. Sony delivers a balanced and authentic mix worthy of a 4K Ultra release.
Extras (2 1/2 out of 5 stars)
  • Deleted Scenes - The following scenes are available in high definition: Girls Get Ready (0:47), The Netherfield Dance (2:05), Caroline Bingley Showdown (1:35), Corinthians (0:28), Collins Gets Ready (1:00), Mr. Darcy's Letter (0:29), Pemberley (2:55), and Liz and Darcy Meet (1:21). 
  • Gag Reel (1:38) – Blooper reel.
  • Mr. Collins Line-O-Rama (2:39): Extra additions and ad libs from Mr. Collins. 
  • Creating the Unmentionables (3:31): A brief look at zombie prosthetics and makeup.
  • The Badass Bennet Sisters (3:59): A look at the action brought to the roles of the classic Bennett sisters. 
  • Courtship, Class and Carnage: Meet the Cast (6:54) Cast and crew discuss their performances in this featurette.
  • From Austen to Zombies: Adapting a Classic (6:00): A look at the Director’s contributions and the importance of maintaining the original story with the addition of undead characters.
Summary (3 out of 5 stars)
Pride +Prejudice + Zombies may miss the boat with a lot of people. The typical zombie-horror fan may not care about the world of Pride and Prejudice and that crowd probably doesn’t want to see zombies. I don’t know if I’m in a minority that really enjoys both types of films, but I think I’d like to see them separately. It’s something that everyone (with that enjoys these genres) should try for themselves. The 4K Ultra Blu-ray looks and sounds great and has an average list of supplemental features. This is a tough film to review because I’m not sure if I really liked it or not and I don’t yet know who I would recommend this to. I definitely recommend renting before buying.  

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