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.