Tuesday, July 26, 2011

1995 and 2005 Pride and Prejudice comparisons, Part 1

So, I'm going to put this right at the start. I LOVE BOTH THESE MOVIES.  I will be talking quite a bit about what I don't like in them, but I'm just saying what keeps them from being just about perfect adaptions. 

Part one will be comparisons about the major characters, later posts will concentrate on minor characters, scenery, costumes, hairstyles, soundtrack, and faithfulness to the book.

Elizabeth Bennet

2005: I have a soft spot in my heart for Kiera Knightley's Lizzy.  She is very pretty, with a delightful mixture of 'archness and sweetness.'  To me, though, she doesn't quite seem to get Elizabeth's character right.  Sometimes it's the fault of the scriptwriter; I have a hard time imagining Elizabeth storming; "For once in your life leave me alone!" and I don't think she would actually yell at Mr. Darcy.

1995: Absolutely amazing!  The only problem is that her figure is hardly, 'light and pleasing.'  It's pretty, certainly, and even pleasing, but not very light.  That belongs to slender Kiera Knightley's Elizabeth.  Jennifer Ehle has a way of delivering her lines with a subtle humour which is particularly delightful.  She is very lovely, but her beauty is unique enough to still leave to Jane the title of 'beauty of the family.'  I love, Love, LOVE this Elizabeth.  She captures Elizabeth perfectly.

Fitzwilliam Darcy

2005: Matthew Macfayden's Mr. Darcy is shy, sensitive, and not totally comfortable with his position.  It is easy to pity him, and even to respect him for trying to overcome his social awkwardness.  But that's not Mr. Darcy!  The Darcy of the book is not shy, just reserved.  He is not remarkably sensitive either.  And not comfortable with his position!  I read someone on the internet describe him this way and it just about drove me crazy!  Why would he not be?  He is twenty-eight, he has known all his life that he will be Mr. Darcy, owner of Pemberley, with ten thousand a year and he is smart too.  He's proud of his position.  That's one of the big problem's I have with this version.  Darcy doesn't have any pride.  Therefore, he doesn't change either.  And, (if I recall correctly) Elizabeth admits that he's very handsome.  Where are her eyes?  

1995: Ahh, that's better!  Colin Firth is P.E.R.F.E.C.T. as Mr. Darcy.  He captures both looks and character, and follows the book to a T, which is very important.  

Jane Bennet

Rosamund Pike plays a lovely Jane.  She is beautiful - which is very important - and shy.  One glance at her and the sweet, ladylike charm of her personality really comes through.  She doesn't emphasise Jane's total kindness and the way she always considers people as better than they actually are, but I think that's because she doesn't have enough screen time.   

1995: Susannah Harker has Jane's character perfectly.  I'm not sure about the looks, though.  Jane is supposed to be the beauty of the family, and this Jane is much less prettier than the Elizabeth in the same version.  I still haven't decided whether I like her or Rosamund Pike better.  Maybe a mix of the two. :)

Charles Bingley


2005: I've heard people on the internet describe Simon Wood's Bingley as a 'doofus' and a 'complete and utter buffoon' but I don't think I quite agree with them.  Still, he does come across as rather dumb.  Bingley himself is not very smart, but not that dumb.  Everything else was very good.


1995: Crispin Bonham-Carter's Bingley is pretty much the same.  Maybe a little bit smarter, but not much.  And his eyes, are waaaaaaay too blue and piercing.  Someone like Bingley should have milder eyes.  Both his and Simon Wood's Bingley come across as slightly acted.  It makes me think; is the real Bingley's total good-humour and leadable-ness sort of put-on too?  I can't figure him out.  Either he's a weak, guillable character, or he's extremely well-made and complex.  It confuses me, but the Bingley people normally think about doesn't seem to make sense................ Comments on this appreciated :D



Miss Elizabeth Bennet said...

This is a very interesting post. I've only seen parts of the 2005 version, but I didn't like what I saw too much. I absolutely love the 1995 version. I like how you compared the characters. I've also noticed that Jane in the 1995 version isn't as pretty as Lizzy; I think they might have been going for Jane looks like the ancient Greek statues that you see from classical art, and since the ancient Greek style was popular in the Regency era, that could be why everyone thinks that she's the prettiest. But that's only my theory.

Can't wait for the future posts!

Elizabeth said...

Thank you!! Thank you for posting a comparison of the two! I have not see the 2005 version in a long long time!! So I don't feel like I can speak very much on the subject, but I plan on watching it sometime soon! I do remember not being very thrilled when I first saw it though!!

I LOVE the 1995 version!!! Colin Firth is an amazing Mr. Darcy!!! :)

Rachel and Sarah said...

Great post! My sentiments on the movies exactly, though I did think that Kiera Knightley looked a bit too modern for the part. And I like the 1995 Mr. Bingley. :) Not the red-haired guy. He was much better in Cranford. :)

Melody said...

I really do not like the 2005 version...it's way to modernized for me. So I am glad to agree with you on most the things you said here...not all, but most. :)

I don't think Lizzy 1995 was un-light. She's not a stick like Lizzy 2005 to be sure, but I wouldn't say that she's not "light". That could be a pretty big catagory.

I really did like the 1995 Mr. Bingley...and I really didn't notice is eyes being really blue, but I like blue eyes anyways! =D I thought he did a really good job with the cheerfulness of his character. =)

And I think 1995 Darcy was pretty much perfect, too. Although what actor could get Darcy-level? Impossible. ;-)
I was surprised to find out how much I liked Matthew Macfadyen in Little Dorrit as the hero... I don't think he did Mr. Darcy well at all. From what I saw. I actually haven't seen the whole thing.
Looking forward to the next posts!