Saturday, April 12, 2008

Maybe You Can Get Too Much Of A Good Thing

The Complete Jane Austen ended on Masterpiece last weekend. I still haven't finished watching the first episode of the last installment. I'm having a hard time getting up any enthusiasm for it.

I've read a number of Jane Austen books over the years, but I liked some more than others. And I read them over the years. When taking in all her work, even on-screen, in only a few months, it's hard not to notice that she's a bit predictable, what with the happy endings and love conquering all and what not. And while I've been a fan of Pride and Prejudice, reading the book twice, watching at least one film adaptation, this time I felt that maybe Mr. Darcy (who appears on many readers' Book Boyfriend lists) is kind of a pain in the arse.

I can't say I found Gillian Anderson's readings off the teleprompter all that stimulating as far as introductions are concerned, either.

All in all, it wasn't as exciting an experience as I was hoping for.


Imani said...

I always preferred Mr. Bingley in P&P -- give me sweet and sincere any day of the week (if a little too easyily influenced) over rude and troubled.

Directors find her novels easy enough to adapt but they're not really movie books at all, I find. They tend to focus on the romantic drama rather than the romantic market; tone down her irony and moral voice considerably; and linger lovingly on the heroine which, with the exception of Emma in Emma, also serves to blunt Austen's moral and societal commentary.

The only one that got pretty much all the way there was the BBC 1995 production and that was because they pretty much lifted everything from the book word for word, including the third-person narration in a voice over (which was key, I think). Problem is that, cinematically, it's pretty tedious and boring. I can't imagine many non-Austen fans finding it a riveting experience.

Gail Gauthier said...

Is that the version in which Mr. Darcy goes for a swim and then wanders around in a wet shirt for a while? If so, that was the one they showed during The Complete Jane Austen. I liked the actress who played Elizabeth Bennett. As a Pride and Prejudice fan, I found it watchable. But I've had the impression that that version is some kind of cult classic, and I don't really see that.

Imani said...

Yes, that's the one. It's a cult classic because of Darcy in the wet shirt, I think. ;) And also because it is the most loyal one to the book. But mostly Darcy in the wet shirt.