Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Movie Review: Pride and Prejudice (2005)

So, I believe I have officially decided to watch Austen-based movies for the rest of the Everything Austen Challenge. I have waaaaay too many books in queue that I just don't know if I'll get around to reading anything else, and with my handy new Netflix subscription, it makes the movie-viewing so much easier. Technically, this is my 5th item in the challenge; I watched Emma Thompson's Sense & Sensibility while drugged on Theraflu, and wow, I don't think I have ever been so groggy. I say that I remember it all, but really I probably just pieced together the segments I did see in between dozing off with the story I know from recently reading the book. Needless to say, I will not be writing a review of it unless I try watching it again.

Anyway...normally I don't really like to compare things [ie: an author's books, versions of a movie], because I feel that any work should be able to stand on its own. However, I viewed 2005's Pride & Prejudice mostly to compare to the 1995 BBC version I watched a couple of months ago. At this point I am very familiar with the storyline, so I was able to make some observations and comparisons outside of the basic plot.

  • I thought this movie was cast very well. The ages of the characters made more sense to me. Keira Knightley was 19 when she made this movie, the age Elizabeth is in the book (I believe). Plus, Knightley is my age, so it just made sense to me and seemed more like a peer in the role. While Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth were both excellent in the BBC version, the fact that they are a generation older than me just automatically put their characters as older in my mind. Also in terms of age, I liked this version of Mr. Collins. Because he seemed closer to the Bennett girls in age, his personality was the biggest turn-off about it.
  • The first half seemed rushed. I understand that was necessary to make it a studio movie rather than a miniseries, but I thought it took away from the full effect of story's development. I never got the same feeling of disdain that Lizzy had for Darcy.
  • One of my favorite characters in the BBC version was Mr. Bennett. He was fantastic with his subtle, sarcastic remarks. I don't think Donald Sutherland as Mr. Bennett had as large of a role and he was nowhere near as funny with his sarcastic, under the breath remarks. Not his fault...the production just cut back on that character. I did like him in the end as he showed fatherly emotion.
  • I thought Keira Knightley did an excellent job. She created (to me) a more realistic Elizabeth. Her emotion and cadence seem more believable and relatable, instead of trying to be 19th century proper.
  • The ending! Completely different! No wedding was shown, but I enjoyed the brief scene of Elizabeth and Darcy post-wedding. Nice little romantic bow to tie up that two hour-long package.
While I thought this was an excellent movie, I think I prefer the BBC version for the sole reason that because it was longer, I was more involved and engrossed in the story. Plus, Colin Firth.


Salvatore said...

Friends of mine consider this a Bronte-ification of Austen's masterwork. I haven't seen it yet (but should due to Ms Knightley).

nat @book, line, and sinker said...

*swoon* colin firth...

i love the bbc version and can't stomach any other. i guess i'm a p&p movie snob?

ps. another blogger raved about sense & sensibility with e. thompson but i have yet to see it. i rented it from the library but didn't have time to watch it. thanks for reminding me!

Shannon said...

I agree... LOVED the 2005 movie version. Personally, I was disappointed in the BBC miniseries. Everyone says Colin Firth is "THE Mr. Darcy"... but he didn't do anything for me. The actors who portrayed Bingley and Mrs. Bennet in the BBC version got on my nerves! But the 2005 movie? LOVED everything about it... the acting, the music, the cinematography. All of it was just stunning.