Mister Eclectic (howeird) wrote,
Mister Eclectic

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Movie Review

Wuthering Heights  Pride and Prejudice was not on my list of movies to see until Oscar night, when I was astounded that the mostly untalented* Keira Knightley was nominated for Best Actress. And Dame Judi Dench not. So I rented it from Netflix. Since I was stuck at home waiting in case the pager went off (which it did just as the closing credits rolled by), I figured it wouldn't bother me to be interrupted.

When I was in high school, it was required reading in my sister's English class, but not mine. Or maybe I managed to duck it by doing an in-depth psychological study examining the the sociological implications of family pressures so great as to drive an otherwise moral rabbit to perform acts of thievery which he consciously knew were  against the law, and the personality of Mr. Macgregor in his conflicting roles as farmer and humanitarian. From my sister's description, it was pretty boring, dated, and had absolutely nothing in it for a middle class Amercan boy.

From IMDB, I see it may be the most re-made movie/mini-series ever. One wonders why.

*I first found out about Ms. K when BayCon featured an enormous amount of hype about the upcoming King Arthur movie, where I had the honor of meeting the movie's swordmaster in a cozy coffee klatch session. He raved about Ms. K, and how well she fit the role of Guenevere the warrior queen, and how easily she took to the weaponry and combat scenes. Unfortunately, the movie was a big nothing, and part of the reason is she was unable to act her way out of the paper bag they had slapped on her, wet as it was. I had also not been impressed with her in Pirates of the Carribean, but not many leading ladies can hold a candle to Johnny Depp's acting skills.

She is okay in P&P, but not Oscar level. Dame Judy also seemed to have trouble getting into her role as the rod-up-her-ass Lady Catherine. If they gave an award for most dialogue by an insignificant and highly annoying character, it would go hands down to Brenda Blethyn as Mrs. Bennet. Actually, she is stunning in a very difficult role - it's always tough to play the character who would be voted most likely to be gagged, tied up and locked in the closet by the other characters. Donald Sutherland is somewhat flat as Mr. Bennet and yes, I know his character is somewhat stoic, but his sarcasm lacked the bite it needed to be effective, and he is nowhere near curmudgeonly enough.

On the whole a mediocre movie. Cinematography is spotty, there are many lame attempts at what could have been beautiful scenes and camera effects, editing is also spotty. Audio just plain sucks - the piano music is overwhelming and I had to turn on subtitles to hear a lot of the dialogue. The score is also lame - I don't know why they chose mostly piano solo music, it is annoying. There is so much beautiful chamber music they missed, and the music did not set the tone or mood at all. I'm no expert on costumes of the period, but I know some of Ms. K's attire is Just Plain Wrong. I suspect the contra dancing was not appropriate to the time and place, but who cares.

And then we come to casting. The woman playing Ms. K's older sister Jane is supposed to be the most beautiful young woman in the county. They chose Rosamund Pike for the role, though she looks very plain. The only thing which sets her looks apart is her blonde hair amongst a bevy of brunette sisters, but given the choice between her and Ms. K I'd choose Keira. The role was made for someone like Gwyneth Paltrow or any other young beauty who cleans up as DDG. Maybe Ms. K's agent didn't want anyone outshining her, despite the script requirement.

Simon Woods and Mr. Bingley is a total goofball, and Matthew Macfayden as Mr. Darcy  does a creditable imitation of an animated piece of granite. When he becomes vaguely human at the end, it stretches credulity past all reasonable limits.

So many experienced actors producing such a blah movie can only be the director's fault. So, boatloads of raspberries to Joe Wright on his third major motion picture (the first two being the classic flicks Crocodile Snap and The End. His next opus is named Atonement. Let's hope he does some of that for his miserable massacre of P&P. 
Tags: review

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