Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Pride and Prejudice vs. Pride and Prejudice

As you may have gathered if you give this blog even an occasional glance, I love the story of Pride & Prejudice. Love might be too weak a word, obsess over might be more appropriate. I frequently re-read my favorite portions of the book, aside from my new tradition of reading it every year for my birthday. And I have seen the 1995 mini-series adaptation more times than I can count. Seriously, who would have thought 5 hours could go by so happily and too quickly? After seeing the Lost in Austen series recently, my love of all things Pride & Prejudice had renewed strength and I decided to finally watch the 2005 adaptation. And I have to say that I had very mixed feelings about it. One one hand I thought it was a very good romantic movie. And on the other hand I thought it was a terrible adaptation of Pride & Prejudice, ha. If it weren't supposed to be based on a text that I love I would probably think it a very fine film indeed. But for me they changed the tone of the story to the point that the characters didn't seem themselves. Aside from the fact that some of them were written completely different (I'm looking at you Georgiana), it also seemed like they were forcing more romance into the story, which hardly seems necessary when they are adapting what is deemed one of the most romantic stories written. It was infused with a sense of destiny from the first meeting of Darcy and Elizabeth, which I think took away from the growth of their characters spurred on by their mistakes and false judgments. And in truth, they are never even shown to discuss how their initial relationship changed them each for the better and made them love and appreciate each other more. I think that is a pretty integral part of their love story, not to be left to assumption. And then you get to the end and I could just die with how they created this bizarre early morning meeting. Again, very romantic and even swoon-worthy, but not Pride & Prejudice. I was beginning to think that perhaps I would finally see one of my favorite parts of the story, which was not included in the 1995 version either. I would pay good money to see the scenes of the story in between Mr. Darcy's re-proposal and the wedding. I find the suspense and anticipation of them waiting and attempting to get her father's approval divine. And I particularly feel faint at the idea of Mr. Darcy whispering in Elizabeth's ear that her father wants to see her, just after he's applied to him for her hand. But my hopes were once again dashed as they not only overlooked that portion of the story again, but overlooked the wedding altogether just to show me Mr. Darcy with no shoes or stockings on smooching Elizabeth all over her face. Woohoo. And does anyone else find it odd they would just be out on the porch (patio? deck?) in that casual manner, smooching and stuff, while Georgiana is still living there? Seems very improper to me. But at least they didn't have them making out prior to the marriage, which is the biggest Austen adaptation faux-pas in my eyes.

I do give them credit for some of the scenes, like the original proposal. Very swoony, especially the part where he's apologizing for taking so much of her time, but there's so much passion involved they look like they might just start making out right there. Not remotely the feeling or emotion I take from the text of Pride & Prejudice, but definitely an enjoyable take on it.

So to sum up- a good movie, but not the best adaptation. Therefore the leaderboard remains as follows:

1. Pride and Prejudice novel
2. 1995 mini-series adaptation
3. 2005 movie adaptation


MrsEm said...

I agree completely. Good film, but nothing compares to the original. Will you compare Sense and Sensibility films next? Oh, and don't even get me started on A Room with A View - I'm still not speaking with PBS over that one.

Nicci said...

Oh, come on.. The original black and white movie beats the 2005 adaptation!!! And, I would just like to add that I love Colin Firth...enough said.

Nicci said...
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