Monday, February 28, 2011

My Feelings Will Not Be Repressed

I have now watched three cinematic versions of Pride & Prejudice.  And I must discuss.

1) The BBC/A&E Version from 1995 starring a young Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy.
2) The $28mill Universal Studios production from 2005 starring Keira Knightly as the witty & spirited Elizabeth Bennett.
3) Pride & Prejudice: An LDS Comedy, filmed in 2003.

I also have in my hot little hands, thanks to a friend, the Bollywood version "Bride & Prejudice" which I will be viewing soon.  Oh, and I've put in for the more recent BBC version at the library which I believe was produced in 2004.

But, for the purpose of this discussion, let's just focus on the first two, mmkay?  

In short, the BBC is hilarious, brilliant, sigh-inducing, follow-the-book-almost-to-a-T, charming & I will be watching it again.   The Keira Knightly version (henceforth known here as the KK Version) is a piece of poo with a few bright spots scattered throughout.  I will most likely not watch that one again.

The Best Things About the BBC Version

  • As I mentioned, it follows along with the story almost exactly.  The lines are straight from the book.  They obviously figured, and correctly btw, that they should not mess with an already perfect manuscript.  
  • Colin Firth is knuckle-biting hotness in this thing.  Wow.  And, with all the close ups they put in there of his perfectly set jaw and adorably curly hair, they knew it too.
  • Mary.... oh my gosh.  I giggled every time poor Mary made an appearance.  She was truly as homely and socially awkward as described.  
  • Mrs. Bennett.  Yes, she's annoying but she's supposed to be!  I'd put Lydia and Kitty here too.  All fit their characters perfectly.
  • Mr. Bennett.  I love this man.  And this actor & his delivery of his witty lines nailed it.  
  • Elizabeth Bennett.  Jennifer Ehle is truly the perfect Lizzie.  Charming, happy, witty, spirited... she made me believe that was really Elizabeth.  What more could I want?
  • Mr. Bingley made me laugh.  Was he the happiest guy or what?  
  • Mr. Collins.  Bwaahahahahaha!  His combover hair & mannerisms were perfection.  My favorite was when he'd be speaking and Catherine de Bourgh would start talking and he'd put his finger up to his lips to hush himself, lest he speak over her.  I adored him, in the he's-so-annoying-he's -perfect, kind of a way.
The UnBest Things About the BBC Version

  • Jane.  I mean, she was nice and all, but the most beautiful Miss Bennett?  I think not.  Definitely Ed Rooney as a woman-ish.  
  • Production quality was obviously not up to what films are today.  And sometimes when Elizabeth would be thinking back to something Mr. Darcy had said his head would suddenly appear in the mirror or a window quite startlingly.  I got used to it but it was a little cheesy.
  • I wish they hadn't shown Mr. Darcy going to London to hunt down Lydia & Wickam.  I mean, isn't that ruining the element of surprise?  Aren't we supposed to find that out later?  
The Best Things About the KK Version

  • Obviously the cinematography, costumes & sets were far superior to the BBC.  
  • Jane was, at last, the beauty I had imagined.
  • The balls were more fun to watch.
  • Dame Judy Dench far surpassed the BBC Lady de Bourgh.
  • I didn't hate when Darcy was walking across that misty field that fateful early morning.
  • I also didn't hate the tension in the "rain scene."
  • And, even though it wasn't in the book at all, I wish it were....the part at the end when they are all casual at Pemberley and he keeps calling her Mrs. Darcy and kissing her.  This far surpassed the post-wedding kiss in the carriage the BBC gave me.  
The UnBest Things About the KK Version

  • Sorry to say, but KK herself.  She was annoying for 90% of the film.  Plus, rather than thinking "Elizabeth is doing this..." I'd think "Keira Knightly is doing this..."  
  • Mr. Darcy is wholly and completely unattractive.  Really?  Of all the British actors this is who they go with?  Bad form, Universal, bad form.
  • Mr. Bennett is barely even funny.  It's not Donald Sutherland's fault either.  It's the lame script.
  • Wickam's ponytail bugged and Mr. Bingley was positively giddy the entire film.  Garret (who had never seen it, doesn't know the story line but was kind enough to watch with me) asked me what happens when they find out he is gay so....yeah.
  • THEY SCREW EVERYTHING UP.  Including the most famous line when Mr. Darcy professes his admiration and love.  The word "ardently" never even comes up.  What the?  WHY??  Jerks. 
  • Mrs. Bennett isn't nearly as embarrassing as she should be. 
  • Mary was barely even mentioned and got zero face time.  
So there you have it.  My compare & contrast report on the P&P movies.  

Agree?  Disagree?  Let's hear it.

Also, have any of you read this?  Do I WANT someone telling me what happens a year later?  I can't decide.  


Landee said...

Ok, never mind on that Pemberley book. I just read a few reviews and people said it was horrific.

Annalisa said...

You've got me wanting to watch it again. I haven't watched it since Sophie was a baby. Nathan is gone for 11 days so I think this is a good time. You really should have taken lit and film. You would have been very good at it. Where were you when I needed you? I think my movers maybe put this in storage...going to check now. I'm just glad it lived up to how I remember it. more to say.

michelangelo said...

i do not have time to comment now. i am at work, you know. but i cannot ignore the compulsion.

i like the rain scene in the KK version. i also like the balls. i don't like the scene at the end where she goes to tell her dad she loves darcy. it's forced and dumb. i think sutherland does a good job with it, though. not that that makes it a good scene.

yes, jane was at least beautiful in the kk version. or the bbc version is trying to teach us something about how beauty was defined back when.

everything you say about the bbc version is spot on.

you might have enjoyed the kk version more if you'd watched it as a single woman of 30 years accompanied by 5 other 20-something single women. none of us claimed it was true to the book. but we could not deny that it made our lonely hearts pitter patter. especially the rain scene, but i already said that. i'm sure it was the cinematography and sets that did us in.

Jenny said...

By the way, if you're wanting to watch all of the versions, there's also a 1940 version with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier:

Markie23 said...

I agree with most everything said about the BBC ver. It IS true to the book and I'd recommend it to anyone who wants to get the whole story, but doesn't like to read.
I can't really speak to CF's "knuckle-biting hotness"... he doesn't really do anything for me; but I may have a slight man crush on KK's Darcy. Maybe it's just jealousy over the fact that he gets to tap that. Also my wife thinks KK's Darcy is hot, and she knows a thing or two about hot men... cuz... you know... she married me.
BBC Elizabeth is not very attractive - at least at first site. But her charm won me over by the end.
I completely disagree about KK herself of course. She's not only hotness defined, but she owned that role. I also thought Sutherland was funny, and Mr. Collins also nailed it.
The BBC is also frankly just too long to want to sit down and watch the whole thing, and I don't like watching movies in installments. In terms of authenticity and trueness to story BBC wins. In terms of sheer entertainment KK wins. If only KK were starring in the new Jane Eyre movie coming out this month. I ardently adore her.

ManicMandee said...

Lots of good points. I still love both versions. What one is lacking the other one made up for. They need a good mix of the two I say.

Flem said...

If I had ever forgotten why you are my soul mate, this post would have reminded me. KK=lameness.

I love you.

Also, I still think you should see the Sir Laurence Olivier version because they play the oboe every time Mr. Collins comes on. Hilarious.

And Jennifer Ehle is not pretty until her charm won you over Markie? THAT is why women love the story. Finally a story where a woman's wit actually matters.

Carol said...

Love the audio book. Listened to it last year. Will rent both the BBC and the KK version soon. I could actually visualize your brains cells spinning around-synapses connecting--as you wrote this post. It was a party.

Landee said...

All I know is that I'm so glad my order was 1) read the book 2) watch the BBC and 3) sit through the KK version.

Like I said, KK had its moments. No question. I just don't think they captured the characters as they could have. There just wasn't time I suppose. But the worst part was how unattractive Darcy was to me. I couldn't get over it. I kept expecting him to "grow on me" like E.T. does (he's adorable by the end!) and it just never happened.

Is the 1940s one good? Or do I just need to watch it because I need to watch it? Either way, I'll probably be watching it.

Hey, Mikey, what'd you think of the rain scene? ::snicker::

MM, I was going to come up with my dream P&P movie mixing the two but forgot. Thanks for reminding me because I completely agree.

AV, I got smarter writing that. No question. :)

Annalisa, did you find it? I'm sad for the person who has a hankering for some Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy only to find out it's in storage. Please tell me it's currently in your DVD player.

Jenny ESP said...

At first Jennifer Ehle is tolerable, I suppose, but not handsome enough to tempt me. Then suddenly, about halfway through the movie, I considered her to be one of the handsomest women of my acquaintance.

My favorite part of Bride and Prejudice is when Sayid from Lost breaks out into the MC Hammer dance, and then does that under-the-armpit-fart move. Hilarious! See here:

Anyway, hurry and read Persuasion, so you can watch that movie. Ginorm sigh.

Landee said...

I believe her face was rendered uncommonly intelligent by the beautiful expression of her dark eyes... but what do I know.

Phyllis said...

A piece of poo indeed. I can safely promise NEVER to watch KK again. I should as soon call Mrs. Bennet a wit.

Jori said...

My sentiments exactly! I wish we could move KK Jane to BBC version. I love when Mr. Collins waves at Charlotte. "we seem to have been designed for each other"