Pride and Prejudice: BBC or not?

Monday, January 19, 2009

I have recently switched my new affair for fantasy novels for a familiar love: Jane Austen.

Of course, it all started with Pride and Prejudice.

I've read this novel more than I've read Harry Potter. More than any other book I can think of. And I love it more with each reading. So I guess that it fits with my prior, as yet unchanged, definition of a good book. This is definitely my favorite book.

The re-reading of the book lead to the re-watching of the movies. Both the Focus Films version (or as we call it, the Keira Knightley version) and the BBC version. Which lead to debates between my husband and me about which one we like best (yes, he joins in. He has been caught unawares in my web. Insert evil laugh here!)

I think the general consensus is that we like the BBC version better. But I'm not going to stop there. I'm going to give you a breakdown of my view on each aspect (okay, not every aspect, but a great deal.)

1. In General: The Keira Knightley version is much, much shorter, and thus more appropriate for "casual" viewing; you know, wanting to watch an entire movie in a single night. I also think that the cinematography of this film is far superior to the previous version. The filming is absolutely stunning. However, due to it's brevity (but not just due to that), I feel that you don't get a good sense of the characters and their personalities. The1. In general: The Keira BBC version is much better at delving into the characters and all their subtleties. The new version does do a better job of showing "country" versus "city," but I couldn't help think, that although they were country people, the Bennetts would never let their hair get so messy.

2. Elizabeth Bennett: Keira Knightley is gorgeous. There is just not getting around that. But I still think that Jennifer Ehle does a much better job portraying what Jane Austen herself called"delightful a character as ever appeared in print." I felt that Keira smirked too much.

3. Jane Bennett: The girl who plays Jane in the new version is much prettier than Jane in BBC version. That's all.

4. Mr. Darcy: I love Mr. Darcy. He is probably my favorite literary male ever. (Oh wait, I momentarily forgot about Edward Cullen.) I also like Colin Firth. But I like Mr. Darcy in the new version much better. I find Matthew MacFadyen more dashing. I also like how they portray him taller than everyone else, especially in the first ball scene.

5. Mr. Bingley: I like Bingley on the BBC version much better. He smiles more, is more pleasant, and much less goofy than the new version.

6. Mrs. Bennett and daughters: All more irritating all the BBC version. As my husband said, "I can't stand Mrs. Bennett on the BBC version. Which means she is doing a better job." Ditto on Lydia.

7. Mr. Wickham: The budget-version Orlando Bloom they rounded up for the new version just didn't cut it for me. Give me the original Wickham, who is instantly more dashing and distrustful.

8. Mr. Bingley's sister: I have to admit that I forgot about Caroline Bingley, until my husband mentioned, "I think the girl they got to be Mr. Bingley's sister is much better than the guy that played her in the BBC one." Enough said.

9. Mr. Collins: Much more slimy and silly in the BBC version.

10. Charlotte Lucas: This character can almost be overlooked in both the book and the BBC version. The new version did a fantastic job of expounding her character. I especially love the scene where she comes to tell Elizabeth that she is engaged to Mr. Collins. Her lines of "I'm 27 years old. I've not prospects. I'm already a burden to my parents. So don't judge me, Lizzy. Don't you dare judge me." (I know, not perfect quotes, but good enough.) You learn so much about her character at this time.

I think that is enough hashing through the films. If you add it up, I think that the BBC version wins.

But I don't really care. Just as long as I get a little Eliza and Darcy, I'm good.

(If you disagree or agree with any of my "analysis," I would love to hear it!!)


Salem said...

I actually found the latest show you have here to be a really good job. Some say A guy just can't (and shouldn't) enjoy a chick-flick. But my side of guys are growing in agreement for stuff like this all the same...

Having not read the book though, would you recommend it to a guy?

Katherine said...

I know plenty of guys who like "chick flicks." I can't help but to recommend the book. However, I know that some guys have difficulty enjoying the book with all the period English language it contains.

But go ahead and try.

dawn said...

I actually haven't seen the BBC version at all. I love the new version, but was really glad I have read the book as many times as I have so that I could fill in the gaps.