Pride and Prejudice 1995 Episode I: The Phantom Menace

21 Jul

072113_2151_PrideandPre1.jpg

Here we go…

This begins my five part series on the Pride and Prejudice mini-series from 1995 starring Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy and Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennet. This is generally considered the pen ultimate version of Pride and Prejudice with the Colin Firth being the best version of Mr. Darcy

My first impression is that it did not need to be so long. I am only on the first episode which ends with Elizabeth and Jane leaving Netherfield after Jane has recovered from her cold. So that means we have had introductions and the first two dances and then the extended stay of Jane at Netherfield. It felt a decent pace so far but I can’t imagine how they stretch the entire story over four more hours.

As the general consensus of the people being that Colin Firth is the ultimate Mr. Darcy I am leaning to agree. He does a good job of not showing too much expression during his scenes but also to have that look that he is constantly absorbing and deconstructing everything around him. I don’t quite like Jane in this version as much as I do Keria Knightly in the 2005 film version. I initially didn’t like the actress who plays Elizabeth but she’s growing on me as I was watching, however she doesn’t quite hold up to Keria Knightly. The Bennet sisters did a great job and the actress who plays Mrs. Bennet also did a great job. In this version you get a better sense of how odd and improper the entire family is. Mrs. Bennet immediately starts hating on Mr. Darcy and has a pretty awesome passive aggressive bitch out moment at Netherfield that is awkward for everyone. Lydia and Kitty are even more boy crazy in this version to the point of being obnoxious, especially at the party hosted by the Lucas’s. Mary was really well cast in this version and there is a particularly good interpretation of the piano scene with her in it. Rather than her playing at the Netherfield ball she is playing at the Lucas party and it’s her own sisters who insult her and ask her to play something else. Mrs. Bennet even joins in and it looks like Mary is about to cry before Mr. Lucas has to step in to defuse the situation. It’s a good example of how Mary is proper and boring but also how improper the rest of the family is especially in front of other people.

I really liked Charlotte Lucas in this version as well. She warns Lizzie early on that if Jane wants to get with Bingley she’s got to act even more interested than she actually is or he’s not going to know. Knowing how things end up later on if she had taken Charlotte’s advice it would have meant a lot less heart ache later on.

The portrayal of Mrs. Bennet is very interesting in this version as well. She acts a lot more improper and offensive which is more in line with how the book describes her. She not only makes an ass of herself at the Lucas party but also really lays it in deep on Darcy when she comes by to visit Jane. She knows that He’s slighted Lizzie at this point but goes much further than a little sarcasm and straight insults him. It’s a lot easier to see in this version why Darcy had thought so low of the Bennet family initially the way they are acting now. Mrs. Bennet also straight tells Jane that she wants her to take horse back so she will get sick due to the rain. That was a strange choice of her to actually tell Jane of this rather than it be part of her “master plan”. Another strange choice was that during the scene in which Miss Bingley and Jane are walking around the drawing room while Darcy is reading. Instead of him giving both explanations on why he would rather sit and let them walk around (so they can talk amongst themselves and so he can stare at that ass) he only mentions the staring at that ass portion. For such a long miniseries it seems odd to cut that part, which now just makes Darcy look like a creeper.

A minor thing that I liked was they mentioned at the Lucas’s party why the troops were there. I don’t remember them mentioning that in any other version, and it playing such a big role later on, it was nice to have at least some explanation.

Overall some of the attention to detail you get in a 5 hour miniseries is nice but it feels entirely too slow. We have so far only gotten up to Jane’s stay at Netherfield in an hour and there is just so much more to cover. The book isn’t entirely that long and doesn’t need this Lord of the Rings style over kill version.

Drinking Game Rules

  • Every time Mrs. Bennet talks about her “poor nerves”
  • Every time there is a direct quote from the book that isn’t dialogue
  • Whenever Mr. Bennet makes a sassy remark about how dumb his daughters/wife is and how smart Lizzie is
  • Whenever Lydia/Kitty mention officers, dancing, or attending a ball
  • Whenever Miss. Bingley makes a snide remark about how awful the Bennet’s are
  • Every time Darcy says something nice about Lizzie
  • Take a shot when Lizzie jumps in the mud
Advertisements

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

w

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: