Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Should a classic be remade?

I've just finished reading Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. Please take note of the header, although her hair is a bit more polished than mine.;) An avid Jane Austen fan that I am I was initially turned off by the idea of a remake of Pride and Prejudice with Zombies as it I believed it would distort the true essence of  the story.

About two weeks ago I caved in and bought it.  You see I was itching to read something other than labor laws, something other than union certifications.  My options were to read Pride and Prejudice again, for possibly the hundredth time or to find something new.  I have trouble finding new items, a creature of habit that I am, once I am introduced or research a new author thoroughly and discover I love their work, I'll continue to read all of their books.  I haven't found anyone I've liked recently. I'm aware of the many published books on the Darcy family, the continuation of the P&P story that are available at my fingertips but as they were not written by Ms. Austen I don't feel compelled to read them.  So here was my dilemma, find a new book or read P&P again.

While I was in the book store I found myself in front of this "zombie" book and though "bleah" who would write such a story when the original was just magnificent and why would they feel the need to improve upon a classic story? Turns out I had to find out and while it was the P&P story again, it included zombies so that appealed to my "new book" goal that I had created.

And so I began the same story I had read time and time before but this time I knew something odd and hopefully fun would await me. Have I mentioned I like action movies?  Well I do and I especially love movies that portray women as a force to be reckoned instead of a simpering miss hiding in a corner, an equal and not someone who needs to be saved all the time.  In the Zombie version of P&P I was hoping to find Ms. Elizabeth Bennet even more of a presense in this book.  I surely wasn't dissappointed with Ms. Bennet's new incarnation.  Elizabeth is still a headstrong girl but now in this version she has a new title, the Defender of Longbourn.  Elizabeth studied martial arts in China while Mr. Darcy's studies took place in Japan.  This little twists adds on to their already differences.

The Bennett sisters forming the Pentagram of Death to dispose of the unmentionables

All of Jane's characters are still very much alive, at least for the beginning of the book, I won't spoil it for anyone but I will say the majority of the story is still alive, there is new dialogue to discuss the "unmentionables" as the zombies are referred to and a funny party is the incarnation of Lady Catherine as a renowned ninja. I can just imagine Lady Catherine flying through the air to give Elizabeth a roundhouse kick.

I did find fault with a couple of items which were deeply distressing, for instance Mrs. Gardiner would never have cheated on her husband. The Gardiner's marriage should not have been altered as they were the only example Elizabeth ever beheld as a loving and caring marriage, a marriage far different from that of her parents, a marriage that existed that showed Elizabeth that a true marriage of equals could exist.  Shame on you Mr. Grahme-Smith!

Would I read it again?  Probably not.  I've learned a valuable lesson though, a remake of a classic is quite alright and should be made and read in order for the reader to appreciate the original beautiful classic for the perfect story it is. 

Next up on my reading list is Sense and Sensibility by Ms. Austen.  I'll definitely take a pass on Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters because honestly can you ever imagine Colonel Brandon as a sea monster.  Yup I've learned my lesson, I'll stick to the classic!


Frank said...

Such a shame that it wasn't more enjoyable. I know what you mean about remaking classics. I would hate to have someone redo any of my favorites like "Treasure Island" or "It Can't Happen Here." It's better if they just use the theme of the story and do something completely different with it.

JennyC said...

My dear, I'm sorry that the story wasn't what you thought it would be but I'm glad you at least tried. You can never re-vamp a classic and make it better than the original, but if it brought more Austen readers then so be it :)

Anonymous said...

Since you have recommended this book I'm going to have to put it on my list! Can't wait. I'm currently reading Anne Frank Remembered by Miep Gies, the woman who helped hide the Frank family...such a courages soul!

Anonymous said...

um... I meant courageous lol