Tuesday, September 28, 2004

A Jane Austen snooze fest

OK, I know that purists dislike the 1999 version of Mansfield Park with Frances O'Connor (_Timeline_), Jonny Lee Miller (*sigh*), Embeth Davidtz, Alessandro Nivola (drool! I do like some blond boys), and others because of the extra stuff about slavery, the switching of Fanny's close relationship with her brother William to one with her sister Susan, the nude scene, and Fanny's seeming to be a proto-feminist. But the camera work is excellent. (Does it always boil down to better cinematography?) And I believe the acting is excellent as well.

The version linked above seems to stay truer to the book, but that's part of the problem. They tried to include every bit of the book. And Edmund is a rather boring person in this version. I can understand why Mary Crawford's stomach roils when she thinks of a life lived with Edmund the clergyman rather than the I-was-second-son-but-now-am-first-cuz-my-brother-died version of Edmund she dreams about. (Which would necessitate Tom dying of his ailment instead of surviving it, as readers of the novel knows he does.) This version drags on and on and on...and even the ending, which I skipped to to see if Edmund shows a spark of feeling for Fanny when he finally declares his love for her.

Yeah, I get it that subtlety is best. I know, I know. But sheesh! Fanny and Edmund sit side by side in chairs, facing who knows what (b/c the camera never shows you), and they are perpindicular to the window. Before Edmund enters the room, Fanny doesn't appear to be interested in looking outside. What is she doing? Why is she in that room? Is she brooding? This actress has got Fanny's stoicism down pat, but Fanny was also passionate, in her way. I see none of that passion in this actress's portrayal.

The portions of this adaptation I've seen all contained acting that slowed the plot to 5 mph. It was the line delivery, the lack of emoting on much of a level, and the not-so-attractive actors. (Forgive me...but I do prefer pretty people for some films.) The episodes I watched made me want to stick hot pokers into my arms. Don't buy it. Don't rent it. Check it out at the library if you MUST watch it.

I'll go back and watch the whole thing and tell you if there was one redeeming bit in the entire....argh!....six episodes of the thing.

If you've got to watch six episodes of something, get the six-episode set of Pride and Prejudice with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. They make Lizzie Bennet and Mr. (whatever his first name is) Darcy come alive. (And yes, you CAN survive Mrs. Bennet's wailings.)


1 comment:

The Pink Kitty said...

I hope you don't mind if I comment but I must say, YES YES YES to P&P with Colin Firth! I love love love that version of my favorite book. They stay true to the book, the characters are well picked (with the exception of Jane, I thought she was supposed to be a beauty but the actress they picked is sort of plain and has a rather thick neck...), the music is well done, the costumes are great, the color is wonderful... everything is just wonderful. How could not you like this movie adaptation of one of the most wonderful books ever?

Curious, what do you think of the popular movie versions of Emma and Sense and Sensibility?