Sunday, September 26, 2010

Social Experiment part 2: Pride and Prejudice

This one has been much longer in the making. And it includes rather a vast variety of experience. You may now gasp in shock, but it is true. Over the years I have been forced into/chosen to experience 6 video versions, and 2 reading versions.

Some only just barely count, I admit. But they still do. Here they are.

Old black and white movie
Wishbone episode
"latter-day comedy" version
Lost in Austen
The absurdly long 6 hour one
The Keira Knightly one
Original book, read in 11th grade for summer reading
Pride and Prejudice and Zombies (I just had to. If you know me, you understand.)

Of all that, I never understood what the plot of the story even was until I saw the Keira Knightly one. it put it all succinctly and clearly, and I finally was able to piece it all together.

I've decided to do this in two different parts. A best and worst section, and a describing what I feel about it section. We'll do the second one first.

I watched the 6 hour mini-series version as the main event in the experiment. I thought about re-reading the book, but I didn't feel that it was entirely necessary. I didn't really want to right off, so I knew it wouldn't go far.

Good things (in general):
  • Jane Austen really does have some quippy lines that I appreciate. I never paid attention before.
  • Mr. Bingley is such a nice guy
  • I like the mesh of the five sister's different personalities. It's sort of like each one has a dominant characteristic that people can relate to. Everyone can find a little bit of each one of the sisters in themselves. It's just about which parts are shown, and which are almost not there. I feel like I have a really odd combination of Mary's intellectualness and awkwardness, Jane's mellowness, and Elizabeth's speaking without thinkingness. The Lydia and Kitty bits are there in minuscule portions, but I try not to think about that.
  • I do like it when they have to change, adapt, and kind of personal journey as they fall in love. Instant attraction, love, and then the whole story's about them loving each other is just not interesting.
Good things (6 hour miniseries):
  • Colin Firth really is very good
  • Everything is in it
  • Now that it's on dvd, it doesn't take up miles of space
  • The length gives time to really develop the characters
  • Mrs. Bennett was exceedingly annoying. I liked how they really emphasized her impropriety. Lydia as well. Ob. Noxious.
Not so great things (general):
  • Even the most dramatic parts are still entangled with love story. Love stories are fine, but when they're the entire plot, my interest wanes.
  • Mr. Darcy is always such a big deal, and I just don't see it. I know he's a very good man, and all, but I certainly don't want to marry him, even if he did do a very nice thing for Lydia.
  • Many of Jane Austen's stories seem to be very, very similar. Take Sense and Sensibility. Even the title is similar, with its alliterative nouns. There are sisters who meet men. The eldest is sensible, but falls in love with someone she finds out that she can't have (till the end, of course). The younger one is headstrong and reactive, gets jilted by a dashing young fortune seeker, and ends up falling for the less obvious, but infinity more gallant choice, who has loved her all along, but she shunned him. There's even a bad fever involved.
  • I have trouble with that sort of period stuff. Nothing is even remotely interesting to me about that society. Not Jane's fault, but still a flaw for me personally.
  • I do still have a somewhat irrational aversion to something over which SO VERY MANY people obsess. Especially when I didn't find it quite something I would obsess over myself.
Not so great (miniseries):
  • No one beats Judi Dench. There is no competition ever. I know she's the most recent lady Catherine, but the others just look pitiful and sad compared to her. She's got this sort of regal aura. Can't touch it.
PS. I don't know what movie this is from. But you can see exactly what I mean by that intimidating presence she has.
  • Too long. You can't just pop it in when you feel like it. It's a serious time commitment.
  • Some of the extended scenes are nice. They make it feel real. But there are a few that just went on too long. I could do with a lot fewer dancing scenes. And what's with Mr. Darcy taking a bath? Why is that even in there?
  • Elizabeth wasn't very sassy. She seems like any other character when she's not all bold and stuff.
  • Yeah, Mr. Collins was weird, but he wasn't weird enough for me. Not after so many other truly heinous interpretations.
Well, I think that about covers my general Pride and Prejudice experience. On to the awards. These are my own personal opinions.

For best acted Darcy - Miniseries, Colin Firth

Most attractive Darcy - Latter day comedy, Orlando Seale

Favorite Bingley - Miniseries, Crispin Bonham-Carter

Most Obnoxious and annoying:

Caroline Bingley - Miniseries

Lydia - Miniseries

Wickham - Miniseries (seems this one gets credit for the awful characters)

Mary - Miniseries

Lady Catherine - 2005, Judi Dench (there's just no topping her)

Darcy - Lost in Austen

Most truly heinous and revolting Collins - Lost in Austen. Dude. Is. VILE.

Most likable Wickham - Lost in Austen, though admittedly it's partly from the storyline. He's still charming, though.

Prettiest Jane - 2005

Most sassy Elizabeth - 2005, Keira Knightly

Stupidest Kitty - Latter Day Comedy

I was gonna do some kind of Charlotte award, but none of them really stand out. Although I got the best-friend chemistry between Charlotte and Elizabeth the most from the 2005 one.

Notice that the old black and white one didn't win a thing. That's because I watched it with the Hansens 9 years ago, because they thought it would help me understand what was going on in the book. It didn't. I was still confused.

The wishbone episodes usually helped simplify things too. Like the Cyrano one helped me get Roxanne when I saw it. But the Pride and Prejudice show was the one that I sat through all the while wondering what was going on. Wishbone makes a very... uh, unique Darcy though.

The zombie one was pretty good. Ridiculous and absurd, but therefore entertaining. Elizabeth is a psycho freak in it, and there's even one part where her and lady Catherine have this duel to the death. Hilarious. I wouldn't recommend it as quality literature or anything, but it gave me quite a few giggles.

Um, I think that's all. So scumps to the end of Social experiment number 2!

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