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Jane Austen’s classic takes a deadly turn

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“It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife.”  So begins Jane Austin’s Pride and Prejudice, which readers have enjoyed since first published in 1813.  The book has been adapted many times in both written and film forms.

The most recent screen adaptation is called “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” which I had the pleasure of seeing in the movie theater this past week.  Based on the original book by Jane Austen and adapted by Seth Grahame-Smith (Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter), the movie follows the original storyline of the Bennet sisters who are all of marriageable age.  Their overbearing mother is insistent on finding them husbands of good breeding and wealthy means. Through trials and tribulations of monetary and social issues, three of the sisters are successfully wedded.

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Photo provided by Sony Pictures
The movie displays mastery of martial arts and weaponry.

The zombie version begins similarly: “It is a truth universally acknowledged that a zombie in possession of brains must be in want of more brains,” announces the narrator of “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” The viewer is then given a brief history that differs somewhat from our understanding of historical Regency England. This version includes a zombie war, for example.

In this movie, the Bennet sisters Jane, Elizabeth, Mary, Kitty and Lydia add a little spark to the classic tale of tangled relationships of the upper and middle class lovers in 19th century England with their use of weaponry and zombie fighting skills.

The feisty heroine Elizabeth Bennet is not only fierce with her use of weapons, she also is a master of martial arts and uses her skills to fight the zombies at every possible turn, turning the heads of a few would-be suitors.

The characters in the adaptation stay somewhat close to the original novel’s form and characterization throughout. Characters fall in and out of love for the same reasons, and mistakes are made for the same reasons whether in their world of normal circumstance or a world suffering great horror.

Elizabeth, her family and others have to join forces with those of higher means and money to fight the zombies on the blood-soaked battlefield in order to try and quell the zombie hordes that can multiply with just one bite, while remaining unnoticed to the unsuspecting masses.

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Photo provided by Sony Pictures
The Bennet sisters are readily prepared to fight all zombies.

Mr. Darcy, a fierce zombie-killing colonel and a wealthy man of means, and Miss Elizabeth Bennet have a rocky relationship throughout the entire movie, giving the movie-goers a first hand look at the differences in the social classes in that time period.

If you have a chance to see “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies,” don’t miss it; it’s a win.  If you can see one of the original movies first, it’s a great thrill to compare and contrast the two movies. At the time of print, the movie is no longer showing locally. However, it is showing at Valley River Center in Eugene.