28 February 2016

Blandest Film Of The Year So Far?

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It is a truth universally acknowledged that today's youth are total fucking idiots. Or at least some of them are. Well, one to be specific.. I've recently become friends with a chap in his late teens that's sadly been raised on a diet of religion and the mainstream media to the point that he's become what Toy Story's Mr Potato Head might refer to as an “uncultured swine”. In the wake of Bowie's tragic demise I decided to play Under Pressure to my friend in an attempt to educate him on what the world had just lost. “Who's this song by?” he asked, “Is it Jedward?” ...I mean, 'is it fucking Jedward'? Bowie's body wasn't even cold and I could hear him spinning in his fucking grave. However at a mere twenty-seven years old, I'd be lying if I said that there wasn't a few things that had fallen between the cracks for me too. As a result, Pride And Prejudice And Zombies is literally my first ever exposure to the works of Jane Austen. Is that bad? It's bad, isn't it?! Well, blame my parent I suppose! Blame my school, and fuck it.. blame me too if you like. Although it's worth noting that my young friend also thought that a double cheeseburger was called a 'double cheeseburger' because it contained double fucking cheese. So you know.. let's keep things in perspective!

Directed by some guy who couldn't sound more like a porn star if he tried, Burr Steers has also adapted the screenplay from the book by Seth Grahame-Smith. In honesty, I have no clue why the film industry continues to work with Grahame-Smith's material because, to quote the great Dr Ian Malcolm, most of it is just “one big pile of shit”. As such, and like his Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, the only thing that this film has is the one joke of its title. There's no attempt to explore any of the older themes with fresh eyes and there's no attempt to use the pre-existing story to bring out something original regarding the zombie mythology. In fact, you could change the word 'Zombies' in the title to 'demons' or 'monsters' or 'Donald Trump supporters' and I guarantee the whole movie could play out identically. Essentially the film just takes what's already in existence, throws in one additional element and then considers its job done. This is an aspect that I find particularly annoying because of how much I love those decomposing pricks and what they can represent. In fact you could argue that in the way that those derpy looking zombies have been previously used to represent consumerism, an apathetic population, and our own inhumanity towards each other, they're very much the monsters equivalent of a Rorschach test.

Like I said though, I'm not the worlds greatest mastermind when it comes to Jane Austin and so I can't say that I particularly care about the film trampling all over her work. Firstly, we never actually studied her stuff in school, and secondly I wouldn't have cared if we had. Not because I don't have any interest in her, but because my GCSE years will forever be defined as the time in my life that I discovered the films of George Romero. When I was about fifteen years old I managed to get hold of a copy of his seminal Night Of The Living Dead which subsequently exploded my mind like I'd just been shot in the head by a racist rednecked cock-womble. Since 2004's double whammy of both Shaun Of The Dead and the Dawn Of The Dead remake, the world has been gushing over those shuffling corpses like Jimmy Saville alone in a morgue. However whereas Romero's work was blackly comical and bleakly satirical, you'd think that the more recent entries into the genre had been bitten by one of the zombies themselves. Gone is the capacity for independent thought or fresh ideas, with the focus simply being on the capability for blood and gore. However not only do the ghouls in this movie represent fuck all but Pride And Prejudice And Zombies doesn't even have any particularly inventive violence either. As a result, if we were to look at this film as though it itself was a Rorschach test, then all I'd see is an empty vase that's been sculptured out of shit.

However that's not to say that the film doesn't have it's fleeting moments of enjoyment. It's just that most of them seem to come from Matt Smith, whose character couldn't be more camp if he was pegged to the ground by a troop of boy-scouts. If you could take the concept of a 'bumbling English idiot' and stick it into a syringe then Smith plays his character as though he's taken a shot right to the fucking head. The problem with this is that however amusing he might be, he just shows how crap everyone else is by comparison. Lily James plays the lead character with all the charisma of mouldy turd and Sam Riley's Mr Darcy is like watching a stoned-off-his-tits Pete Doherty if he'd been dubbed by John Hurt. Lena Heady also shows up as a zombie-killer-warrior-woman because the film decided it needed a warrior-woman, and then thought it'd continue its lack of creative thinking or originality in terms of its casting too. The only thing is that despite playing this kind of character in fucking everything ever, Heady doesn't actually do anything here except sit on a giant chair like a particularly sexy shopping-centre Santa Claus. Therefore whenever she came on screen to do literally nothing, I couldn't help but remember her quote from 300 and apply it to this film too “This will not be over quickly. You will not enjoy this”.

So the characters are mostly crap and the zombies are more wasted than Mel Gibson going out for a drive, but what about the story itself? Well there's the Austin stuff which I'm told is fairly recognisable from the source material. But there's also so much stuff that literally goes fucking nowhere. At one point we're told about the four horsemen of the apocalypse before seeing them pissing about in a graveyard. But that's it. Nothing actually becomes of this plot thread with the whole thing left dangling like Michael Jackson's baby over a fucking balcony. There's another example earlier on too were it seems like a zombie is about to deliver an important message before having her head shot off before she can deliver it. Well, nobody ever mentions it again and literally nothing happens as a result. I can only assume that particular zombie was about to deliver a plot twist that might actually have been interesting and so the filmmakers silenced it before they failed their mission of making one of the blandest films ever. Oh, and I'm just going to ignore the fact that the zombies can talk. When Day Of The Dead's Bub uttered the phrase “Hello Aunt Alicia” it was kind of a big deal in the development of the franchise, the film, his character, and the entire zombie lore. However here, literally nothing they say is important or interesting which is a shame because that makes it tricky to distinguish them from the rest of the fucking cast.

I suppose the filmmakers are assuming that they'll make money regardless because in a world of cliches you'd assume that girls like period dramas and boys like blood and gore, however it's not exactly had the biggest marketing campaign and it's neither so good nor so bad that word of mouth will help it go viral. It's therefore hard to get too mad about this film being a little crap because it's so obvious that it's going to disappear from memory like a fart in the wind. Though, if I were to draw an analogy to its limited ideas and lack of audience, I'd say it's kind of like attempting to spice up your sex life by buying one of those vibrating-cock ring things but then never actually bothering to turn it on.. or have a girlfriend. There have been some really terrible films out this year already with De Niro's Bad Grandpa being so horrible that I could feel stomach ulcers growing and bursting throughout its duration. Pride And Prejudice And Zombies isn't even close to being as bad as that but nor is it in any way good. Do you remember my na├»ve friend from the beginning who thought that Under Pressure was by Jedward? Well, he has more original ideas through accident and confusion than these people have had on purpose. I asked him once if he'd seen anything by Monty Python, to which he responded “I think I've seen some of his stuff”. Well, I have no idea who this Mr. Python is or what the fuck my friend thinks he's seen, but I think I'd rather watch that then ever sit through this movie again. Thanks for reading, motherfuckers, and see you next time.

You can visit the blog picture artist at _Moriendus_

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