Friday, May 29, 2009

Austen rant (heartfelt but oh so civil.)

Okay. When they released that Pride and Prejudice movie with Keira Knightley a few years ago, I wasn't even tempted to watch it, because for me there IS no other "P&P" besides the
BBC P&P with Colin Firth and Jennifer Ehle. None other. (Don't even mention that awful Greer Garson/Laurence Olivier version from the 1940s!)

But I'm up late and Todd's asleep, and I came across that other version on Oxygen, about half over. I'm more happy than ever that I didn't fork over $8.00, or whatever movies cost in 2005, to see this thing in a theater.

I am no Keira Knightley fan, for one thing. And in this movie she looks like a starving waif, with these giant sack dresses hanging off that bony frame, and straggly hair hanging in her face and that giant jaw. What is with her jaw? It's like she's got forty extra teeth in there.

And I don't know who this mutton-faced loser is they've got playing Mr. Darcy, but he's not fit to carry Colin Firth's form-fitting breeches. How could either of these people find the other attractive?

And Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennett might have seemed like a good idea, because he does have a humorous streak, but they totally suppressed it here. He's dreadful!

And Lydia and Wickham have zero personality. None at all. They were so wonderfully awful in the BBC version.

And all the delicious tension, the wonderful conversations, the extended scenes where you could really watch the story play out and the characters play off each other--it's all gone. All the humor and joyfulness--gone. Just long silent scenes of Keira looking waifish and sad, her immense jaw trembling with suppressed emotion. Maybe the first half is funnier?

I guess people probably did look as scruffy back then as they do in this movie, with no regular baths and no washing machines, but you can almost smell the B.O. just looking at the screen.

And the worst of all--the scene at the end where Lady Catherine shows up does battle with Lizzie--it's THE best scene of the book and of the BBC version. Here, even with Judi Dench, it's nowhere near as fascinating and cathartic. I just love that scene where Lizzie tells her off. "Are the shades of Pemberley to be thus polluted?" (My favorite line of any book ever!)

Why do people always think they can improve on perfection? It almost never works.

Just had to get that off my chest. I feel better now. Maybe I'll pop in my P&P DVDs for a minute to wash away the bad taste!