Sunday, July 4, 2010

Pride & Prejudice -- 2006

Pride & Prejudice

Rated G
My Rating 3 Stars

Keira Knightley
Matthew McFadyen
Brenda Blethyn
Donald Southerland
Tom Hollander
Rosamund Pike
Jena Malone
Judi Dench

There were few things I actually liked about this film:

1: Keira Knightley.
2: Some of the photography and scenery was absolutely gorgeous.

What I didn't like is more numerous:

1: The film feels modernized. The acting, the costumes, the lines, the houses, the story... I didn't appreciate not getting the feel of the era the film was supposed to be set in.
2: The actors. Some were fine for the characters they played but even Keira, as good as she is, didn't make a good Lizzie. It could have been the script or director, since Keira is a phenomenal actress.
3: The way the movie was filmed felt very choppy to me. It did not run it's course smoothly.
4: The balls/parties were not organized or have the touch of the gentry from the 16th century.
5: Mr. Darcy was just arrogant and ignorant. He didn't have his pride or family bearing.
6: Many of the details that make A&E's production of P&P so marvelous were simply gone. If I hadn't watched the latter before I watched this version, I would have not understood the story and implications.
7: Some of the instances between Lizzie and Darcy in this film would not have been considered any more appropriate than Lydia's running away with Mr. Wickham.
8: Mr. Collins' (accidental) sexual reference. It didn't help the film at all, only took away from the little it had to stand in front of.

There is much debate on which P&P film is the best. I haven't watched the b&w version (from the 40's) but from the clips I've seen, the costumes are not accurate. So I must say, I like A&E's version best and that is the one I will always watch before the others. :-)

If you would like a summary of the basic story of Pride and Prejudice, take a look at my other review... or simply google it. :-) Lots of great sites out there. Also, there are lots of clips on You Tube that will give you a glimpse into all the films.


Ishmael said...

I absolutely adore this film, but such things are very subjective so I certainly won't say you're wrong to have a different opinion.

I wonder about some of your specific points, though.

1. The film was shot on location in period appropriate properties and from everything I've seen the costumes were quite plausible as well. What makes you think otherwise?

4. The novel was published in the early part of the 19th century and this film is set in the 1790s when Austen wrote the first draft. So the balls aren't supposed to fit 16th century gentry.
Personally I think the balls here are superior to those in any other adaptation I've seen. You can really feel the difference between the Meryton assembly, which would have been open to anyone from the local community - high or low - and the much mor formal Netherfield ball with only invited gentry present.

6. It's impossible to fit everything from the novel into a two hour film, but that doesn't mean the story as told doesn't still make sense to those who come to it with no foreknowledge.

7. Could you provide some examples? I really can't think of anything fitting that description. Certainly nothing as inappropriate as the pond diving episode that was invented to spice up the 1995 adaptation ;-)

rebekah said...

I, too, felt this edition of "P&P" too modernized, although I'm not sure why exactly.
The relationship between Mr. Darcy and Lizzy was lacking something~ that cetain 'spark' you noticed so much in the "A&E" verison. :) So I'd have to say, my favorite edition still is "A&E"s starring Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. :)

The Ponderer said...

I'm finally getting around to replying to comments on this blog. Firstly, I would like to say, thank you for the lovely comments. I was delighted to find people are actually reading what I write. :) :)

Ishmael, you pointed out some areas that I didn't do enough research for. Thank you. :)

But, I still hold to my earlier opinion of the 1995 A&E version being more period accurate than the 2006 Keira Knightly version. :)

Some of the dresses and hats seemed sloppy and not as rigid as portrayed in her books and other books by authors around that time. I could say the same about the dances. Perhaps I am only comparing the 2006 version to A&E's version!

You are correct in stating that there is only so much story one can fit in an 2 hour film. I appreciate that. I wonder, though, had you watched any other films of P&P or read the book before watching this adaptation? I have read most of the book and watched A&E plus small bits and pieces of other adaptations (besides this film, of course). I believe this is why I could see what was lacking in this film which could make it confusing if someone had only watched the 2006 film.

In regards to #8: I felt Mr. Darcy seeking an audience with Lizzie alone, in the woods, to ask her to marry him, was not a thing he would have done. The other point of conflict for me was the scene where they meet in their night clothes on the bridge. It just doesn't fit the era... it would have been seen as improper and it would have been especially shocking when they came back to the house... still in their night clothes.

I believe these are two big elements of the film that 'modernized' it.

Now, I admit to not being as well read or researched as I would like to be. And I would appreciate further feedback on this subject. I love being made to think. ;)

Again, thanks for the comments!