February 14th, 2016

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Empire Line Zombies and Magical Housewives

I never read Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It seemed destined to be a one-joke kind of novel, and I felt I could kind of imagine it in advance. Flicking through it in a bookshop didn't convince me otherwise.

But it makes a terrific movie. If you think an Elizabeth Bennett who has trained in martial arts at a Shaolin temple is the kind of thing you might like to see, I urge you to give it a go. They got everything right, pretty much, especially in the crucial areas of tone and pacing, where a project of this type is in most danger. (I see it's got fairly bad scores on Rotten Tomatoes, especially from male critics, but phooey to them.) There are some cuts: Darcy dives into his almost-canonical pond not in Derbyshire but in the Home Counties, where the whole of the film's action takes place; Georgina is mentioned (her role as the cause of the final rift between Wickham and Darcy being too useful to omit) but seen only in one long shot; the Gardiners aren't even mentioned, presumably having fallen prey to the zombie takeover of London before curtain up.

(By the way - I can't get used to the term "undead" being applied to zombies. It seems to me to belong properly only to vampires, having been coined by Bram Stoker for that purpose. I have however been known to refer to toast as "unbread", so go figure.)

Last night was my second trip to the cinema this week - unheard of for me. On Monday my friend Htay and I went to see The Cowards Who Looked to the Sky, part of a season of contemporary Japanese film at the local arts cinema. I enjoyed it, and the Q&A with the Japanese director afterwards was very informative. The cryptic title was explained as a reference to a Japanese idiom, in which looking to the sky is indicative of indecision and wishy-washiness, something several characters were guilty of to various degrees. The main draw for me those was that one of the main characters was a housewife obsessed with a certain Magical Girl franchise, and indeed liked to have sex in cosplay. I was curious as to whether the MG was real or one invented invented for this story, but as far as I can see it was an amalgam of several. There were hints of Sailor Moon and Cardcaptor Sakura in there, but also of Magical Girl Lyrical Nanoha, a series I'd never actually watched but had been meaning to get around to, if only for Madoka research purposes.

Suiting the deed to the word I have now seen the first few - but more of that in the next anime round-up post.