Tuesday, November 29, 2005

"Pride and Prejudice"

Tonight Lauren and I watched the newest adaptation of Pride and Prejudice at the movie theater.

As a movie, I thought it was good. Cinematically, it is everything a movie ought to be. There are beautiful panoramic scenes of England's countryside and old mansions and really uncommon, but aesthetically pleasing, shots of characters. There are 30-second long scenes of characters just sitting -- sitting and thinking -- and I like those kinds of pauses in movies. I think it really shows the despondency of loneliness and the joy -- not purely physical pleasure -- of being in love. Also, the actors and actresses were not all gorgeous, larger-than-life people, which is nice sometimes. The musical score was excellent.

As an adaptation, I thought the movie was. . . fair. The best I can say for it, is that the screenwriters did a commendable job of condensing the film into a 2 hour, 7 minute time frame. The casting was a little off, though. Some of the novel's really strong, humorous characters (Mrs. Bennet and Mr. Collins) were some of the movie's weakest. The development of Mr. Darcy's character is incomplete, Elizabeth Bennet's (Keira Knightly) character is not as sassy and robust as she is in the book, and the close sisterly relationship between Elizabeth and Jane's characters were virtually non-existent after the first 15 minutes of the movie. The biggest problem is the disappearance of Austen's comical voice. Most of the witty and sarcastic lines were left out, resulting in a very serious rendition of the story of the Bennet family. All of these problems contribute to the general feeling that the movie is not "light and bright and sparkling." That's how Jane Austen described this story in a letter to her sister, and it's missing those three key things.

I don't think Austen would dislike the movie; she might even find the overcast color of the film to be just "the shade" she said the novel is lacking. But I do think it's missing the airiness and humor that is so refreshing in the novel.

Of course, if you love romantic movies, then watch it. You won't be disappointed. But if you're an avid Austen reader, don't expect this movie to produce that tingly feeling you get when you read the book.

Thing I'm thankful for: Movie theater popcorn with extra butter. YUM.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

I'm going to see it anyway, when it comes out on video or disc. MOM

5:20 PM  

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