… Or a violation of all that is sacred about Jane?
I had mixed feelings about this movie and why shouldn’t I? Shouldn’t we all? It’s got zombies!! That alone makes it feel like Jane Austen was captured and plunged into a YA genre wave that, hopefully, has crested, is receding and will never rise again.
And yet… It’s got zombies. And there is something so delightfully odd and irreverent about that.
So when the book came out in 2009, I read it. And when the movie opened… I went to see it. Twice. (There… I admitted it. It’s out there and can never be retracted.)
And further more… I LOVED IT! (Please don’t kick me off the blog. I really do have the greatest respect for Jane Austen.)
I wondered myself why I liked it so much. My husband cut to the chase – “You love Jane Austen, have a tae kwon do black belt and a secret yearning to be a super hero. There was no way you weren’t going to like it.”
All that is true… But my own giddy enjoyment surprised me. I will admit I closed my eyes several times to avoid the gore. But I giggled too – out loud, guffawing laughter and embarrassing chortling.
In so many ways, she was Lizzy to me. And he Darcy…. I do want, in today’s modern world, to believe that “bright and sparkling” Lizzy can captivate and capture, disarm and dismember if need be, any man. And I’d like to believe Mr. Darcy would not only be equal to her daring, but willing to put life and limb on the line for her, not just a few thousand pounds. And it’s Austen’s fault really… When you write such compelling characters, you can’t expect people not to appropriate them.
Would Austen have been offended? I’m not sure… Greater minds will have to weigh in on that one. I feel certain, however, that once we administered the smelling salts and picked her up off the floor, settling her gently on a settee, she would have laughed. She did have a sharp sense of humor. She might have even found it clever.
And I think she’d also agree that just like the zombies – more are coming. As Juliette Wells discusses in Everybody’s Jane: Austen in the Popular Imagination, we have appropriated everything Miss Austen and her wave of popularity is still on the rise — no crest in sight.
What’s next? A space odyssey?