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Bella Heathcote and Lily James in "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies." (Jay Maidment/CTMG, Inc.)

Bella Heathcote and Lily James in “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” (Jay Maidment/CTMG, Inc.)

By Maggie Lu, Waubonsie Valley

It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in possession of good wit must be in want of a killer arsenal. Well, at least, such is the case in the film “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies.” Shedding dainty confections of pale petticoats and pastel parasols, Elizabeth Bennet, the film’s protagonist, burst into the scene wielding deadly blades and even deadlier intentions. Although some may cry foul upon seeing such an esteemed novel so readily desecrated with bloody zombie gore, “Pride and Prejudice and Zombies” did fairly well with box office earnings of $5.1m for the opening weekend.

Set in the backdrop of the normal Regency Era England, the film starts with the original premise where Mrs. Bennet is trying to marry off her daughters. But instead of accepting calling cards from eligible bachelors and learning how to play the pianoforte, the Bennet girls brandish their cunning blades as they battle their way through an apocalyptic battlefield of reanimated cadavers. However, the film has yet to encapsulate the essence of Austen’s legacy. Director Burr Steers’ attempts at melding these genres into one coherent film are contrived at best. The film adheres sincerely to the premise of Austen’s story —the balls, the scheming, the misunderstandings between Lizzie and Mr Darcy— while peppering most with a zombie scare or two. Despite the rather strange integration of two disparate settings, the film sizzles the screen with a budding romance between Darcy and Elizabeth.

When asked whether he would consider a sequel to Pride and Prejudice and Zombies he replied: “I suppose if people want it, I’m always happy to revisit the Bennet sisters.” It may not be a cinematic masterpiece, or even be logically consistent—but perhaps audiences will warm up to the odd juxtaposition and overlook the overly busy riff on Austen’s winning approach.

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