Monday, March 24, 2014

Pride and Prejudice (2005)

        My mom and I watched P+P '05 for the first time. Well, for me it was the first time. Before I get started, let me just put out there that I am a die-hard P+P '95 fan, and I was a little biased going into this. And we all know that P+P '95 is the best, don't we? What follows is simply my honest opinion - I know we fans can be just a teeny weeny bit scathing when it comes to our favorite books and movies and such - but no one minds a light-hearted bashing, do they? Good. And if you happen to be a P+P '05 fan, I love you very much and will pray every night for your conversion. 
        Let me start out with the characters. I'll just say that Keira Knightley is not Lizzy Bennet. She simply doesn't have the poise! To tell the truth, none of the actors do, but her lack of early nineteenth century charm is blatantly obvious. Jennifer Ehle in 1995 did such an amazing job portraying this amazing character that Keira Knightley is put completely to shame. Yes, she did have 'fine eyes' and an energetic disposition, but for a young lady in the Regency period, she did not have nearly enough dignity and even (may I say?), lady-like reservation. She was all right in Pirates, but that's not even close to being the same thing.

I really do like this dress - *when* I make one I'll raise the neckline a bit, though.

        I actually didn't mind Rosamund Pike as Jane. She was very sweet, and pretty too as Jane is meant to be. I know that Susannah Harker was prettier by Regency standards than she is by modern ones, and I happen to think she is lovely, but it was nice to have a Jane that you see and immediately think 'gorgeous!'. I can't help occasionally seeing in her the just-a-tad snobbish Lady Harriet, however.

        I felt like Mary didn't have a whole lot of character in this movie. She was very unlikeable in the 1995 version, yet I felt that was better than how bland she was here. Kitty and Lydia were all right, but I still liked Julia Sawahla much better. Yes, I know she was too old, but she was still brilliant. 

        Mr. and Mrs. Bennet were nothing spectacular. In fact, Mr. Bennet was rather a disappointment to me after liking him so much in the other movie. And there wasn't nearly enough nervous fretting on his wife's part. I didn't feel that she really fulfill what Mrs. Bennet was in the book. Oh, and I DO NOT like his hair. Far too sloppy for a man of his station.

        We'll move on next to Mr. Bingley. I couldn't stand him - I'm sorry. I recognized Simon Woods right away, having seen him in Cranford *giggle*, but his awkwardness was so much better placed there than here as a man of five thousand a year. I mean, he was SO undignified I felt embarrassed for him. Really. Poor Mr. Bingley.

        Mr. Darcy was a little better, but not much. Yes, he was dignified, but he looked like he needed a good bath, a haircut, and some speech practice. I won't go any farther than this because we all know Colin Firth is the ultimate Mr. Darcy. :)

        I liked Lady Catherine. Well, I like Judy Dench, and it was hard for me to see her as anyone but Miss Matty, so I didn't really have a choice *grin*.
        Mr. Wickham was all right. I didn't dislike him, whereas in the 1995 version I saw him and was like, "Bad news, bad news!" It was kind of funny, we were watching it and recognizing all of these actors from different movies, Simon Woods, Rosamund Pike, Claudie Blakeley, etc. So Mr. Wickham shows up, and my mom says, "Haven't we seen him before?" My heart kind of skipped a beat because I was worried my reputation for being able to spot actors right away was at stake. ;) I stared at him, not matching him with anyone else, and then realized, "Hey, she thinks it's Orlando Bloom!" Spot the differences:


        Ehehehehe... I don't think she knows he was wearing contacts in LOTR. If it weren't for that I would have been questioning myself.
        I liked Charlotte Lucas, but that might be just because I like Claudie Blakeley. She suited the character very well, I thought.
        Mr. Collins was not as silly, nor as irritating as David Bamber. It's kind of counter-intuitive, but that's not a good thing. All I could think of was Osborne Hamley and Lord Beckette. When he arrived at the Bennets' house and greeted them with 'Mr. Collins, at your service', I was like Hey! He can't say that! That's reserved!
        Anyway, back to the story. The whole thing was just too modern. It was made, not by the BBC, by Hollywood and was definitely geared towards a more contemporary audience. The body language was not at all period correct, and no one had the right poise. I thought the costumes were nice, but the hairstyles were on the whole too sloppy and wispy, and LIZZY WORE HER HAIR DOWN!!!!! HORROR!!!!! I died. Oh, and we won't even talk about Mis Bingley's sleeveless ball gown. It's my impression that she forgot the actual dress - that thing can't be any more than a slip.

        Secondly, the Bennets' house was not period correct either. Yes, they were, in a sense, poor; but that would not imply that they lived in such a house with animals and such roaming free about the grounds. They were not of the working class; they had an inheritance even if it was not much.
        I had heard that the first proposal, the one in the rain, was good, but I did not have the same opinion. I just don't think Matthew Macfayden is Mr. Darcy. And the second proposal? Oh, don't even get me started! They were both walking out in what might as well be their underwear! Ugh, Hollywood! It's worse than Mr. Thornton with no cravat!

        Did it seem like I only said negative things? Sorry. It was a good movie, I thought, just not a good adaptation of an amazing Regency period book! I don't think I'll be watching it again in the next several years, if ever.
        Oh, and I don't own any of these images. I got 'em off Google. I'll leave you with a funny meme I came across:




  1. Sadly I watched this version before the BBC version AND before I read the book - yes, I know, I am ashamed! But hey, I am what they call a "late reader". :-p
    After reading the book and then going back and watching the 2005 version, I was very upset at how much they cut out of the book and how poorly they captured the Bennets, Darcy's, etc. I did like Mr. Wickham's and Jane's characters though. The music was probably my favorite thing about that movie - that and a few of the dresses. Funny that you mentioned Elizabeth's hair being worn down because my sisters and I when we watched this movie we all gasped at the sight of her with her hair down! LOL Especially when she went to visit Jane. We all said that in real times she would NOT have had her hair down in the presence of a man she was not married to! LOL

    1. Yes, the hair! Oh dear, I felt ashamed of her. I actually saw the BBC movie before I finished the book, but did go back and read it right after and many times since! The music was very nice in this one, though, I must credit the producers there. :)


  2. Reyna, I whole-heartedly agree! I cannot stand Keira Knightly! She gets on my nerves and drives me up a wall. Ick. I cannot bare to watch Mr. Bingly propose to Jane. He said some bad words and is just so un-Binglyfied in his manner. OK, done ranting.

    ~ Aspen

    1. Ugh, I know! They just did it SOOO much better in the BBC 1995 one! No one was right! Gah, why was it so bad?!?!

  3. Well, I am a P&P 05 fan. Shocked? ;)

    I did enjoy your review--it was quite interesting--I just happen to have different opinions :) I watched both P&P movies for the first time this spring--about eight or nine years after reading the novel for the first time. So my opinions about the characters were already pretty firmly formed, especially of Lizzy Bennet. And I simply found that Keira Knightley's Lizzy was much, MUCH closer to my personal interpretation of her character than Jennifer Ehle's. I really liked her spunkiness and her energy and her fiery nature. And her relationship with Jane felt much more "real" to me than in the 95 movie. So yeah, I liked P&P 05 way better. Not just because it was a good movie, but because I thought it was a better interpretation of the story.

    I don't mean to sound like I'm criticizing your review, or anything. I just wanted to say, "this is how I feel." :)