Friday, 25 May 2012

Revenge

As revenge for the weekend of watching all the Harry Potter films that The Housemate inflicted on me earlier this year, I decided I would make him watch the Pride And Prejudice and Jane Eyre mini series in one day.  We finally got around to it on Saturday.

The day was supposed to go:
six hours of Pride and Prejudice,
four hours of Jane Eyre,
an hour and a half of Goodnight, Mister Tom.

It actually went:
six hours of Pride and Prejudice in which I ate a whole bag of poppadums,
searching for the Jane Eyre DVD,
giving up,
realising where The Housemate had hidden it (in ‘The Box’),
watching forty minutes of Jane Eyre,
crying,
dejection,
watching Big,
further dejection,
sulking,
reading a really boring book (Torch),
daydreaming about... stuff (not Loki, if that’s what you think),
staying up into the early hours watching episode after episdoe of 30 Rock.

So, first,

Pride and Prejudice 


Some of it was good, but that doesn't make up for the six hours part.  Overall I guess I’d say it was somewhere between good and meh.  Sort of:

Good-Meh

Lizzy and Jane spend most of the series in their bedroom chatting and Mr Darcy spends three solid hours glaring like he can smell horse manure, and then the next three episodes being the cuddliest, schmooiest guy there ever lived (probably nursing sick puppies back to health in his spare time), with absolutely no explanation.  It’s kind of a let down.  I don’t mind him turning out to not be a total jerk and having inner depth, but if he just starts acting differently that’s cheating.  Why was he being a total jerk in the first place?

Anyway, after six hours I can give a detailed breakdown of the plot of the Pride and Prejudice mini series:

Episode one: Walking, walking, dancing, walking, dancing, a letter, walking, Mr Darcy has a bath. 

Episode two: Walking, Lizzy looks at some birds while walking, a letter, walking, dancing, walking, dancing, Mr Collins proposes. 

Episode three: A letter, walking, dancing, a letter, walking, walking, a letter, walking, a letter, Mr Darcy proposes. 

Episode four: A letter, walking, a letter, fencing, Mr Darcy jumps in a pond and has a lobotomy/complete personality transplant. 

Episode five: A letter, Mr Wickam 'elopes', a letter. 

Episode six: Walking, a letter, walking, Mr Bingley proposes, a letter, walking, happy ending double wedding (barf).

The Housemate and I both liked evil-Darcy.  Colin Firth can do a lot with a scowl.  We both generally like Firthy anyway (except in Dorian Gray), but I’m not allowed to say I think he’s sexy or I get accused thus:



Whereas The Housemate is allowed to point out how boobelicious Jullia Sawalha is without reproach.

So as a rational adult, I felt it only fair to immediately accuse him of fancying Colin Firth when he complimented the guy's acting.


Still, even though the plot only progresses by going for a walk, having a dance, reading a letter, or having a chat in a nightie and there’s little actual depth on screen, Mr Darcy’s proposal is brilliant and at least three hours of dancing and walking is worth it to hear a man say as part of a declaration of love,

“I am fully aware that I will be going expressly against the wishes of my family, my friends, and, I hardly need add, my own better judgement.”

and

“any alliance between us must be regarded as a highly reprehensible connection.”

and still look surprised when she tells him to sod off.

Jane Eyre


was less fun. 

Technically since I turned it off, it gets this reaction:

Had To Turn It Off
But I didn’t turn it off because it disturbed me.  I turned it off because it was

Bad
I love the book and I’ve seen two hopeless film adaptations.  The trouble is as with all book-to-film adaptations that there just isn’t room to explore it all and it becomes rushed and shallow.  But I really thought that a mini series would fare better.  If anything Pride and Prejudice could have done with being shorter (although it still completely rushed the ending – six hours of walking back and forth and they skimped on the important bit).

I was really, really wrong.  I don’t think I have ever seen a more rushed story.

The first five minutes of the mini series = the first ten chapters of the novel.

It’s like some drunk elderly guy is trying to recount a story as you go past each other on opposite escalators. 


The back of the DVD case mentions beauty, colour, drama, great dialogue, horror, humour, madness, passion, sadness and sexual tension, which I agree are all elements of the book.  But I did not detect any in this adaptation.  With a breathless pace and insane direction, it’s hard to even grasp what’s going on, let alone why, there’s absolutely no depth and Jane is totally vapid.

I wasn’t enjoying it, and I couldn’t bear the thought of ruining the book for The Housemate.


After that, The Housemate didn’t have the stamina for any more period dramas and I didn’t have the stamina for any more poor adaptations of good books, so we skipped Goodnight, Mister Tom and watched The Latest Rental instead.

Big


Meh

It has all the substance of a cream puff.  No set up, no conclusion, little plot and two creepy as hell elements (parents think he’s been kidnapped and child in sexual relationship with adult).  Tom Hanks is convincing and there’s a giant piano in it, but that’s not enough.  I knew that, because I’ve seen it within living memory, but The Housemate hadn’t seen it in years and was expecting… well, he was disappointed.

So I guess, actually, as a day of revenge, things worked out kinda well.

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