Thursday, January 12, 2006

Wuthering Prejudice

Saw the new Pride and Prejudice adaptation this past weekend and was pretty underwhelmed. Well, actually, the movie was about as I excepted (Jane Austen gets the Bronte treatment), but so many people (critics, bloggers, and normies) had raved over the film and said how romantic it was (that should have been my first tip-off, of course, since P&P is not really a romance so much as it is a romantic comedy, for lack of a better term), that I thought I'd better see it and see what all the fuss is about. Cacciaguida makes the comparison to the Firth/Ehle miniseries, and notes that the miniseries still has the advantage, but he's far too generous and forgiving of the new film, IMO. The movie has its merits, I'll admit (mostly the gorgeous cinematography). And I do agree (much to my surprise since I normally hate her) that Keira Knightley is a good Lizzie.

But the whole thing just felt a little off; the plot elements were there, for the most part, but the tone of the film was all wrong. It wasn't funny enough; several of the characters had been made less outrageous and more sympathetic (Mr. Collins comes to mind); and too much of the film was melancholy and misty. Why does Darcy propose the first time in the rain? Why are they standing near some old monument instead of sitting in a drawing room? Why does it look like they are about to kiss when Elizabeth, at that moment, is furious with Darcy and hates his guts? None of it bears any resemblance to the novel, except maybe a few snatches of dialogue (and not nearly enough of Austen's words found their way into the film for me). In the end, when I'm looking for that P&P fix (and the book is unavailable), I'd rather watch Firth and Ehle and the rest of that wonderful cast in the mini than endure this shadow version.

For critics with whom I agree, more or less, see:
a snippet from Mark Steyn (via Peter Chattaway)
Donald Sutherland looks stoned
Hater of the Snog and more
and my favorite, Anthony Lane from the New Yorker


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