In 2009, Seth Grahame-Smith wrote a book called Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It is exactly what it sounds like: the story of Pride and Prejudice with a zombie apocalypse going on in the background. Today, the movie version hits theaters.
From one perspective, this is a zombie apocalypse movie set in the early 1800s. That alone is pretty compelling. Modern-day zombies are a manifestation of the human fear of disease, but that era was still reeling from the Black Plague. It should be fascinating to watch how characters of that era react to such a modern disaster scenario.
Of course, from another perspective, this is Jane Austen’s love story with an ensemble of newly added characters: the dead. Is this a perversion of a classic? Well…yes. Obviously.
IGN.com says that while zombies add some interesting things to the story, the movie “fails to take advantage of” its potential, like the “conflicts between upper and lower classes.” I think IGN is expecting too much from a freaking zombie movie.
There is no way that this movie is going to be as “good” as Pride and Prejudice. But no one is expected to hold it to the same standards. No one is expected to take it seriously…except the actors. As IGN points out, Matt Smith plays an Austen character surrounded by zombies the same way he played outrageous situations on Doctor Who. The rest of the cast follows suit. They throw their all into making a Jane Austen movie with the occasional horde of zombies to slay. The movie is hilarious in its grim sincerity, and that is why it is worth watching.
Many geeky fandoms do not meet the criteria that many Christians have for “good” media. But just as fans of Jane Austen should not immediately dismiss PP&Z, Christians should not assume the worst about fiction. After all, most Christian media does not meet secular society’s benchmarks for good media, either. While we should not ignore clear violations of Christian values, it is okay to lower our expectations and enjoy fandoms for what they are.