I said I'd blog on Fairest, but I'm not going to, not yet, anyway. I finally watched the film version of Pride and Prejudice--the Hollywood film--and I was so utterly unimpressed with it I'm not sure what to say. Perhaps it points to what I think makes most pseudo-epic Hollywood films fail miserably: cinematography and soundtrack replace a good script.
You might assume I am a purist, and to a degree you might be right, for I love a good script, love a good story, and love dialogue more than most... but I don't need for everything to reflect a book entirely, or the recent miniseries of Lost in Austen would have been unwatchable. But Lost in Austen, for all the liberties it took with Austen's original, used the original in such a fabulous, engaging, and humorous way that it taught viewers about the characters, paid its homage to a wonderful novel, and reflected the truth of the original, linking it to today's world in a refreshing way. (Can you tell I liked it? I almost sent $80 to the local PBS station so I could get the DVD of the 3-hour series).
But the film with Keira Knightley did little to reveal any of the characters from the book. Honestly, I blame the director. Some of the actors were completely miscast, or were directed to play people who simply did not exist in the book at all. Bingley was an idiot, simpering, stupid, pathetic in his lack of backbone. Mr. Collins bore absolutely no resemblance to the novel's character at all. He was bland, bland, bland, when he should have been pompous, oily, and smarmy. He should have made us squirm. And Mr. Darcy was neither handsome nor regal... and though Colin Firth was brilliant in the role (and most men would fall by comparison), he cannot be the only capable male actor with a decent face out there.
Most of all, though, I sensed that the director wanted to make Pride and Prejudice better. But Joe Wright didn't get it (and I must say that most men don't). He neither understood Darcy nor Elizabeth, nor any of the rest, and in the end he created a world as stilted as the entire second Star Wars trilogy. Had I not seen other versions recently, I might wonder what I ever saw in that book at all. Really terrible. Almost as bad as the local theatre company's versions of Shakespeare's plays (I need to blog about that soon).
I think I'll go back over my DVR and watch the Lost in Austen series again, if only to get the yucky taste out of my brain. Were I Jane Austen, I fear I would have rolled over in my grave from Joe Wright's version. One should understand a work thorough before trying to take liberties with it.