Thursday, December 15, 2011

Jane Austen Birthday Week - Film Challenge

Yet Another Period Drama Blog

As part of Miss Dashwood's Jane Austen Birthday Week she issued a Film Challenge to watch a Jane Austen adaptation that you haven't seen before or watch an adaptation with someone who hasn't seen that film before.

This proved to be a tricky challenge because I own all of the Jane Austen adaptations available on DVD and have watched them many times with my family. But I did find two adaptations that my younger sister Bea didn't remember seeing at all so we watched them together.

Mansfield Park (2007)
My family and I have only watched this adaptation together once (I've seen it a few times on my own), mostly because it is has such a modern air and severely shortens Jane Austen's original work.
But this was one of the adaptations that Bea didn't remember at all so we watched it together one evening last week while we finished up crocheting some Christmas gifts. Her opinion was that the film moves too quickly, we had to stop the film once or twice so she could get caught up on all that was happening (adapting one of Miss Austen's 48 chapter novels into a mere 90 minutes is not advisable - she deserves miniseries!). But she greatly enjoyed the sweet ending the the story (where Edmund finally wakes up and realizes Fanny is for him) so we watched the ending again. Bea also found that Blake Ritson (aka "Mr. Elton 2009") wasn't quite so repulsive as she thought he might be. (But she maintains that his hair usually looks greasy.)
My opinion still is that although they did make the story "romantic" and cast several of the actors correctly they missed out on the heart of the story which is Fanny Price. The film is just alright when it could have been SO much more! But we had fun watching it and there isn't anything inappropriate (minus a few low necklines) to make us blush.

Persuasion (2007)
This is another adaptation that I've only watched once with my parents, only once because one of their favorite movies is Persuasion (1995) so it's difficult to like a more "modern" flavored film.
Bea didn't remember seeing this film (except she said the Anne running scene looked familiar) , so we watched it together on another evening of crocheting and fun.
While watching she stopped the film several times at first asking who each character was. Since she hasn't read the book she could only relate the characters to the actors in the 1995 adaptation. My cast pages for both films on Austen Efforts was very helpful on this occasion!
Bea seemed to enjoy it, she laughed at Mary Musgrove and yelled at creepy Mr. Elliot in turn. I had to laugh at her reaction to the kiss at the end: "Eww! Just kiss him already!"
The ending scene was smile-worthy but not enough for a second viewing this time.
My opinion of this as an adaptation is still unchanged: although pretty and "romantic" in my mind it doesn't quite do the great story of Persuasion justice.

Very Truly Your's,  


Melody said...

Ha, that's how I feel at the kissing scene too. Just hurry up already and get it over with! ha! Please, no long, drawn-out...:P

But I like that movie all in all. =) The fact that Anne plays Moonlight Sonata definitely adds points. ;-)

Anne-girl said...

I've never seen either of these. For the challenge Miss Dashwood and I watched Emma 2009. I fell in love with it. Happiest movie ever!

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