Saturday, December 10, 2005

Pride and Prejudice

Well, I’m not going to grade papers until I get together with the prof, and that’s not til Monday, so… I’ve only got PhD applications and my own final project and a whole bunch of procrastinatables, so…

It’s movie time!

First and foremost, last night I traveled long and far to get to a cinema that is actually showing…

Pride & Prejudice

Ok, I’m comfortable enough in my masculinity to admit that I really like this kind of movie. This can also be a problem, because, as previously mentioned, I’m in love with the actress who played Elizabeth in the BBC version. With my bias (prejudice?) noted, I should say that’s not to say that Ms. Knightley isn’t extraordinarily easy on the eyes. She is. She’s that and more. I’m just not sure that she was the right choice to play Elizabeth. She’s got a wonderful laugh, and looks the part well enough, but she doesn’t seem to carry off much of the self-confidence or intelligence that I think the character demands. This might be a problem with the script as well – much of the wit naturally had to be cut for time reasons.

Mr. Darcy is also a wee bit problematic, but his troubles again stem from the cutting, I believe. Perhaps it played better to the women in the audience, but seeing him looking like he walked off of a Harlequin romance novel cover really took away a lot of the reserve and well, ‘pride’ that I like about the character.

There were also some odd technical choices. I don’t know why I’m becoming hyper-sensitive to the lighting in movies, but there were parts of this movie that were simply badly lit. I’m sure it was an artistic choice to make Elizabeth look bluer than the Boo-Berry ghost when she travels at night. There were other scenes that were obviously shot in a studio and for some reason it looked like the actors were lit with bare 120 watt bulbs.

Also, in one of the final scenes, Elizabeth walks out in a field. In the beginning of the scene, the set is draped in the nice, chilly-looking morning fog. As she walks, the fog naturally dissipates. Except for the fog coming from the fog machine. The fog machine that must have been sitting there right next to where she was walking, because that was the only place that had fog shooting out of it. By no stretch of the imagination am I a film expert, but that’s just inexcusable. Any mediocre haunted house kids would know better than that.

I did say I liked the movie, right? I did. I liked it a lot. I loved Mr. Bennett. I wouldn’t have thought so, but Donald Sutherland was a great choice. I’m sad that we didn’t get to see more of his relationship with Elizabeth, but for the time allowed him, he was excellent.

I thought the loving attention paid to the costumes came through very well. The dances were very well done, using some particularly nice camera work, hiding and revealing characters in the crowded rooms.

The other sisters came off well, particularly Mary (although I don’t remember this scene in the movie or the book), who in only a few short scenes, showed a great character. Charlotte also provided a nice character study in very limited time. And how can anyone not love a movie with Judi Dench?

While I’m thinking of it, though, it’s a pity they had to cut out so much about the Wickham affair, but again, I can’t fault them for cutting so much.

In fact, that’s probably the biggest issue I have. Because they had to cut so much, it’s not the story that I wanted. I was prepared to feel that. Maybe that’s why I’m forgiving. There’s no way this movie can compete with the BBC version. If you want it to, you’ll be disappointed. All the much more so if you want to compare it to the book.

So, for what it is, I think it’s a great flick.

Pride and Prejudice: 8/10

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