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It is a truth universally acknowledged that a blending of two movie genres is only successful if both genres are well-represented, and, alas, "Pride and Prejudice and Zombies" disappoints on both sides of the ledger.
Writer-director Burr Steers adapts Seth Grahame-Smith's mash-up of Jane Austen's classic, which imagines England fending off a zombie epidemic. The class divisions of Austen's world continue, but the arguments are over the best locations for martial-arts training, with Mr. Bennet (Charles Dance) smartly sending his girls to China's Shaolin temple to learn kung fu.
When sweet Jane Bennet (Bella Heathcote) and hunky young Mr. Bingley (Douglas Booth) fall instantly in love, their connection is interrupted by Bingley's best friend, the imperious Mr. Darcy (Sam Riley). Darcy's stuffiness riles up Jane's protective younger sister Elizabeth (Lily James), setting up a revival of literature's most famous love-hate romantic entanglement.
There is some nice comedy juxtaposing the Empire waist dresses and the daggers concealed under them. The problem is that the movie offers just enough to tantalize both fan groups the Austenites and the horror fans but not enough to fully satisfy either.
'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies'
Opening Friday, Feb. 5, at theaters everywhere; rated PG-13 for zombie violence and action, and brief suggestive material; 108 minutes.