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  • Writer's pictureDeborah Yaffe

Austen fights again

Six summers ago, a faux trailer for a non-existent film titled Jane Austen’s Fight Club went viral, with its hilarious juxtaposition of ladylike accomplishments and left hooks. (Repeat after me: “No corsets, no hat pins -- and no crying.”) Created by actress Emily Janice Card, who also plays a rather-less-passive-than-you-remember Fanny Price, it's by now been viewed more than 1.5 million times on YouTube.

In a similar, if less inspired, vein comes Entertainment Weekly’s faux trailer for a version of Sense and Sensibility directed by Zack Snyder, the auteur behind action flicks like 300 and Watchmen. Not being a teenage boy, I’ve never seen Snyder’s work, but just as you don’t have to be a Gothic novel-reader to grasp the satire in Northanger Abbey, you don’t have to be a Snyder aficionado to snicker at this clip. (The S&S trailer runs from 1:32-3:32, sandwiched between faux trailers for Snyder-directed versions of Catcher in the Rye and The Giving Tree.)

Judging from the evidence here, the hallmarks of Snyder’s style seem to be low-angle shots and slo-mo segments designed to invest every character with heroic gravitas, accompanied by portentous dialogue casting every situation in archetypal terms presaging apocalyptic violence. “It is our right – it is our destiny -- to take back what is ours,” Elinor tells Marianne as they contemplate their exile from Norland. “And we will take it back – by force.”

It must be said that Jane Austen’s Fight Club was cleverer, with a feminist point to make about the murderous boredom of Austen heroines’ lives and the seething rage that boredom must sometimes have inspired. Nothing that semi-profound is going on here. But I’ll take my Austen-related giggles where I can get them.

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