Monday, January 01, 2007

Pride & Prejudice

Edited on 01-20-07 to add: We watched "Tom Jones" the other night. Kept waiting for it to redeem itself. Still waiting. I cannot recommend this movie at all, and regret having seen it at all. I have no idea if it is true to the original 1700's novel, or if it was "updated" for modern audiences. (I know a version of "Mansfield Park" was made a few years ago where they turned Jane Austen into a rated "R" movie. I personally skipped that one.) There was no rating on "Tom Jones", but I'd peg it at an "R" rating. Still haven't watched "Jane Eyre" or "Ivanhoe".

Sweetheart and I (and Pumpkin between sleeps) celebrated the New Year in our own, quiet way. For Christmas I was blessed by Sweetheart with not just the A&E "Pride & Prejudice" movie I was hoping for, but the entire Romance Collection: "P&P", "Emma", "Jane Eyre", "Tom Jones", and "Ivanhoe".
We started "P&P" up about three o'clock with Cranberry-Orange Scones fresh from the oven and a pot of Earl Grey tea. What fun! We watched all six hours off and on (as necessitated by Pumpkin). We finished it around eleven p.m. It was wonderful.
Sweetheart had given me the 2005 "P&P" for my birthday last year, which I've watched a ton. We also have the soundtrack which plays all the time in the car and at home. I've also read the book several times. Can you tell I like this story? I've never seen this version before, but I had heard how wonderful it was from so many Janeites. I must confess I enjoyed it quite a lot.
I was struck though, while watching the movie last night that both versions had some wonderful parts. My wheels started turning and I thought it would be fun to combine the best of both versions. Feel free to comment with your thoughts and ideas.

Soundtrack: 2005, definitely

Costuming: A&E (2005's were dreadful)

Scenery: 2005 (Especially the Peak District and the scenes around Longbourne)

Elizabeth: A&E (Except the various proposal scenes, in which I preferred Keira's performances.)

Mr. Darcy: Hmm, tough choice, I'm sure others will disagree, but 2005.

Mrs. Bennet: 2005 (A&E's got on my nerves, so shrilly.)

Mr. Bennet: A&E

Jane: 2005

Lydia: She is such an unsympathetic character, it's hard to like either actress.

Kitty: 2005

Mary: 2005

Charlotte: A&E (Though it's still hard to see why anyone would marry Mr. Collins!)

Mr. Collins: 2005 (Could A&E's been any creepier? Too greasy.)

Mr. Wickham: See note on Lydia.

Mr. Bingley: I'd vote for 2005, Sweetheart for A&E.

Caroline Bingley: 2005

What say you?


Brenda@CoffeeTeaBooks said...

My daughter and I both loved the A&E version so much, we watched the 2005 version prepared to not like it...wrong.

From the opening scenes (lovely!) we loved the movie. It took her a couple viewings but she admitted she liked it just as much even though it was "different" than A&E (or BBC).

We certainly liked this father much better. We also thought the scenery was probably much more authentic than A&E.

Of course, we'll have to keep watching all of them to refine our opinions. :)

Jodi said...

Here we go . . .
Soundtrack - AGREE! Love it - have it! (Couldn't resist.)
Costuming - What? Not into black trench coats, are you? ;o)
Scenery - requires a rewatch to decide
Elizabeth and Darcy - Hmm - I like them each as a set. Does that make sense? The two in A&E compliment each other just as the 2005 duo seems a good match. I better rewatch it to really decide.
Mr. & Mrs. Bennet - both 2005 (Agree totally with the shrillness of the A&E Mrs.)
4 sisters - agree
Charlotte - requires a rewatch
Mr. Collins - agree!!
Mr. Wickham & The Bingley's - requires a rewatch

Hmm - yes - too many undecided's. I can see I have not done my homework well enough and now must face the music. It looks like a mandatory viewing - back to back, I'd say - of P&P 2005 and P&P A&E. Oh - it will be a dreadful burden, but I'll muddle through somehow! (*rubbing hands together gleefully at the prospect!*) ;o)

Perhaps you'll give me extra credit since I just watched Sense & Sensibility over the holiday. Yes? :oD LOL!

Oh, Kimberly, my eldest son gave me a book of Jane Austen letters for Christmas. It's been so much fun to read her "real life" writings and compare how perfectly her books match up to the historical lifestyle of her letters. And her writing style is clearly evident even in her letters. If you haven't read it yet -- you'd love it.

Shelley Jo said...

I am not as familiar with the 2005 version as I am with the A&E version. I've watched the A&E one at least a half dozen times; the 2005, only once. After watching it once, I decided I didn't like it as much as the A&E one. But I'll have to watch it again and compare all the characters. Oh, the things we must endure. :-)

Kudos to your sweetheart on buying you the entire package. Wow!

Anonymous said...

Oh my goodness!!
Okay. We've owned the A&E version since the 90's so we've watched it dozens of times-at least once or twice a year. The whole family enjoys it-including my 3 boys ages 11 to 14! The soundtrack is lovely and I even have the book on how the series was made. Love it, love it-my favorite movie.
I didn't plan to see the 2005 version but read on a blog that it was worth seeing in it's own right if you didn't compare the two as they are so different.
So, on a gray December day last year (well, 2005 actually) the whole family went to see it. I admit I loved it. It was just different enough to actually buy it, lol.
BUT, but, ladies! How could you actually prefer anything from the 2005 version to the *perfect* A&E version? I mean....really!!!! I prefer everything from the older version but keep in mind that it's been in my heart for years. I didn't expect to like the newer version half as much as I did.
Kimberly, I believe as you watch the older version more often it will grow on you more. They REALLY butchered the story in the new one. True, it wasn't meant to last 6 hours but man...they really butchered it.
There is no comparison in my opinion but each is lovely in it's own right. The soundtrack for the A&E is very beautiful, well worth adding to your collection of cds.
How cool that you received the romance collection. That's awesome!
Joanna :)

Dawn said...

I am in agreement with all but your choice re/ Charlotte..I found her most appealing in the '05 version.
I love the new one for the artistic value..the soundtrack is dreamy and I can't listen to it enough..but I will always love the A&E for sticking with the book. I think that those who had not read the book would have found the '05 version lacking in detail.

Kimberly said...

I think the worst part of the 2005 movie was the costuming--by far. As far as the script goes, I think they did fine for what it was; a feature film. I think it made P&P and Austen more approachable to people. Really, how many regular Americans want to watch six hours of British television? However, a two hour film with a popular leading lady probably drew in people who otherwise would not know what P&P was, other than a book referenced in "You've Got Mail".
Everyone will have certain things they like better-that's why I thought this post would be fun. I certainly agree that A&E's script was much better and truer to the book. I wonder what people would think of the A&E script (and costuming) on the 2005 cast? Except Keira. I'd have to keep the A&E Lizzie. I thought Keira was fine, but Jennifer seemed a better match to the period. She was delightful.

Tammy said...

I must confess that I like A&E's much better than 2005. =)

Mrs. Bennett is supposed to get on your nerves! ;-)

Kelli said...

Kimberly, I have watched the A&E version twice and the 2005 version 3 or 4 times. I will always love the A&E version the best but there are many lovely things about the newer version. Especially the last romantic!!! And the soundtrack is wonderful!!! We listen to it alot! I enjoyed reading your list of comparisons!

Amie Ladd said...

I am also a GREAT fan of the A&E version and have only seen the 2005 once (when it first came out).

What sticks out in my memory is the scenery and unpolished realness of the household in 2005.

I felt the story was "dumbed down" in 2005 and did not enjoy Lizzy staring into the mirror @ the Collins. I also missed the amount of time she spent with Mr. Darcy and even Wickham (I hardly remember him at all in 2005, guess I need to watch again;)).

Which version of "Emma" do you prefer, Gwyneth Paltrow or A&E?
I vote for Gwyneth.

Kimberly said...

As for "Emma", I saw the Gwyneth one in the theatre when it came out and liked it. A few months ago Sweetheart gave me a copy of it, but I didn't like it at all the second time. I don't mind Americans doing English parts at all, but I think they should be able to keep an accent! Sorry.
I've read the book numerous times and must confess to it being my least favorite Austen story. I'm sure others will disagree, but I happen to dislike meddling women.
"Emma" was included in the Romance Collection, so we watched it. This version with Kate Beckinsale was much more pleasing to me. I thought she did a delightful jobn bringing Emma to life in a way that showed her faults, but also made her more sympathetic to me. It made me want to rereread the book!
Isn't it great that they make so many versions to appeal to so many viewers?
What say others?

Kelli said...

Hi Kimberly,
I remember seeing Emma many years ago but I'm not a Gwyneth Paltrow fan so didn't enjoy it very much. I will have to look for the other version you mentioned!

Christine said...

What? No word about the 1985 BBC version? I have seen all three, and there were things I liked about each. I suppose it's usually the first one we see that we love the most. I really prefer the 1985 version overall. The 1985 version's Elizabeth was great, played by Elizabeth Garvie. And my all-time favorite Mr. Collins was in the 1985 version. I saw it on tv many years ago, and finally found a copy on DVD in the Jane Austen Collection, which also includes Emma, Sense & Sensibility (neither of which measures up to the movie versions), Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Mansfield Park. Excellent collection, a must-have, IMO. I've got my thoughts on the 2005 version in a blogpost here (Can I include links here?)

Linda said...

I prefer the A&E version but the 2005 version is lovely in its own right, especially the cinematography and soundtrack.

Jennifer Ehle is my Elizabeth and Colin Firth is my Darcy.

That doesn't mean that MM isn't dreamy in his own right. *wink*

tonia said...

*smile* I like both...although I cannot BEAR to watch six screechy hours of Mrs. Bennett in the A&E version. And the A&E Jane...I'm sorry, she was not pretty...and Jane is supposed to be pretty, prettier than Lizzie. I actually liked the costumes in the 2005 version...they seem more true to life to me...dirty hems, messy seems more accurate to the time period and available conveniences...but who knows?

No one could ever truly replace Colin Firth...sigh...but I do like the new Mr. Darcy. He was devastating when he finally released a smile. :) Colin Firth wins hands down for smoldering looks, however.

Susanna said...

OH no...the 2005 Mr Bingley was just to dumb for words. Kiera spoke her lines far too quickly and as for the scene where Charlotte shouts at her 'don't you dare judge me'...well that was totally out of character. I have watched both and did enjoy both- but would need to watch the 2005 one more- I only saw it once to comment much more. I do love the 'A&E'one- which is the BBC one over here.

I watched the original one in installmentw when it was shown on TV in the UK- so suppose it is deeply ingrained! I'll have to watc the 2005 one again :)

AS for Emma- I have seen three versions. I cannot remember who the actresses were but I believe two were BBC versions- and I haveto say that although I can watch the Gwyneth one (in fact I have it) I far prefer the other versions. She does does not capture the story for me. But then I am a 'British Girl' I also LOVE persuassion :)

Kimberly said...

Dear Ladies,
I was of the impression that the BBC version and the A&E version are one and the same. Am I mistaken? I thought it was distributed via BBC in England and A&E here in the States. Please advise.

Sheila in Seattle said...

I finally watched the 2005 version. I'm such an Austen snob that I thought it would be dreadful. I think Kiera K. scared me away.

I did like it! I prefer Mr. Collins in the A&E version. He is funny, the 2005 version is just dull.

I don't like Darcy in the 2005 version. I recently saw "The Way We Live Now" and he plays a cad in that movie. Typecast now in my mind!

I thought Mr. Bingley was very poorly cast in the 2005 version.

I enjoyed the "ruralness" of the 2005 version.

What would be fun is if the makers of the 2005 movie had ALSO made a 6 hour version for us die hards to watch. :) That would be terrific.


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