Monday, April 17, 2006

Just a little review: PRIDE AND PREJUDICE

Wow—I haven’t done one of these Crystal Says… type reviews in a long time! But here we go.

Now, as you read this, please keep in mind that I’m torn between not loving this movie and liking it just fine….

You can count me as one of the many big fans of the BBC’s five-hour PRIDE AND PREJUDICE miniseries. Everything about it seemed almost perfect: the casting of Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy (swoon), the mannerisms, the costumes and tone. Jennifer Ehle, who played Elizabeth Bennet, brought out the one quality I probably remember the most about the main character—Lizzie’s subtle attractiveness. I seem to recall that her intelligence burned brightly in her eyes, and that was one big reason Mr. Darcy was drawn to her.

To be honest, when the newer movie version of PRIDE AND PREJUDICE first came out, I had no interest in seeing it. Sure I haven't read the book in years, but I was perfectly content with remembering the miniseries. But then I started hearing great things, and I was swayed. Of course, I missed it in the theaters, so it seemed like a good DVD rental.

The key to watching this movie is just to forget the book altogether. Seeing as it’s an amazing novel, that was extremely hard to do, but I made an effort, because if you hold this movie to the standards of both the Jane Austen classic as well as the BBC version, you probably won’t like it. Now, I’m the first to say that I don’t know dip about the conventions or fashions of the time, but I’ve repeatedly heard that this movie gets them wrong. (Well, I did suspect that having Mr. Bingley coming into Jane’s sick room was highly irregular but…yeah. This was where I was positive that I must watch this movie for sheer entertainment value.) However, I wanted to just go with the flow, and having done so, I found that the movie was a really cute romance. Superficial, yes, but it moves very quickly and amusingly. Basically, it won me over with its spirit. I was determined to forget that Lizzie was supposed to be basically acceptable as far as looks went. (This is even referred to in the script, and it left me a bit puzzled as to how Keira Knightly could ever fit that description, even in a bad wig.) I was determined to forget Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy (swoon) because Matthew Macfadyen was intriguing, although the script makes the character into a misunderstood hero rather than a man who comes to terms with his own weakness in character. And if the dialogue seemed a bit too modern at some points, I didn’t deign to care. This was just one of those times when enjoying myself seemed more important than nitpicking. After all, I can always go back to the miniseries and the book itself. Nothing can ruin my appreciation for those.

Worth your time? For a fun night—yes. But if that’s not how you like to take your PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, stick with the classics.

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