It wasn't as bad as it could have been, maybe not even as bad as I thought it would be. Actually, it wasn't bad at all. Well, maybe the first scene could easily be classified as "bad" (we skipped it altogether since we had read it was rather "racy"), but in short the miniseries was pretty tolerable. My sisters and I have been calling it "that awful miniseries", but that's really only a joke. : P
I've decided to write my own review, to express my thoughts on this adaptation, and to compare it with my beloved 1995 version. So be warned, people. There is bound to be ramblings and comparisons ahead, so if you are one of those who prefers this version and does not like to hear it made downplayed or made fun of, you may not wish to proceed. However, if you enjoy ramblings and comparisons, criticisms, poking fun at Andrew Davies and the like, then read on. : )
Apparently it's "in" to stand on cliffs wearing long coats with the wind blowing your hair. Just an observation.
While he was tolerable as Edward Ferrars, to me Dan Stevens will always be Matthew Crawley, and Hugh Grant will always be Edward Ferrars.
Dominic Cooper was probably the worst cast character in the entire miniseries. He was AWFUL. Greg Wise's Willoughby was charming and handsome and realistically pitiable, but this Willoughby was just plain-down horrible. He wasn't even handsome, for goodness' sake. He wasn't even within ten miles of being handsome. It is supposed to be understandable why Marianne falls in love with Willoughby, but the whole time we were thinking, WHY does she even like him????
The scene where Willoughby cuts off a lock of Marianne's hair was just plain creepy. "Pleeeaasssse, let meeeee." But then, he was just plain creepy. Which brings me to another point: Willoughby isn't a creep. He is a scoundrel, yes, but not a creep. In the 1995 version (see? I warned you there would be comparisons!), in the scene where Willoughby tells the Dashwoods that he has to leave for London on business, you could tell that he did love Marianne and was truly sorry to leave her and that it actually pained him to go away. In this adaptations, he was like, "Oh, sorry, I have to go to London on business.... no, I don't think I'll ever come back....it was nice meeting you....bye." He was even kind of smiling, like it was no big deal that he had to leave! Arggg. Several times throughout the miniseries I just felt like telling him to shut up. Actually, I may have once or twice. : P
Please someone tell me that the scene where Willoughby comes to Cleveland is not in the book. That was just weird. After he had deceived Marianne, deceived them all, broken her heart and married an heiress, he still had the nerve to come back? I thought Elinor told him off just fine. Who cares about your lonely soul, Willoughby.
|I love Anne's face in this picture. : )|
The scene where Anne accidentally tells Fanny Dashwood and Mrs. Ferrars Edward and Lucy's secret was a riot. Anne's just sitting there stitching away, rambling on and on without thinking and then suddenly--
"Anne? WHAT HAVE YOU DONE?"
"I'm sorry! It just popped out!"
Oh my goodness, the Palmers were just awful. I can't even find a picture of them at this moment and I don't really want to waste time trying, but they were nothing like Hugh Laurie and Imelda Staunton in the old version. That's another thing about this version: the '95 version was chock-a-block full of excellent actors, and this one had about....three. Even the smaller characters were great actors in the old one, but in this one people like the Palmers were just obscure "dummy actors", as Michael Gambon would say. Mr. Palmer had about three lines, and Mrs. Palmer had none of the silliness that Imelda Staunton had. She and her mother (Mr. F's Aunt) were not even in the least funny together, they were just boring. That was the main problem with most of the actors: they were boring. The main reason why Anne Steele was so entertaining was because everyone else was so unutterably dull that by the time she appeared on screen we were like, "Finally, a character with personality!" That is not to say that no one had personality-- Elinor did, and Edward did, but most everyone else was just blah. So well done, Anne Steele. Turns out, you don't always say the wrong thing.
The end was absolutely adorable. I loved the scene where Edward comes back and finally declared his true feelings for Elinor, only Sadie kind of ruined it by randomly announcing that she was not going to use hairspray for her skating exhibition that evening. Still, it was beautiful, and I thought Hattie Morahan did and exceptional job with that scene in particular. And Edward running around chasing chickens was one of the most adorable things I ever saw. : )
Another thing I thought was odd: why did they live by the sea? It's Devonshire, not Cornwall! Suddenly the fact that they lived on the coast was a huge element. The whole shell thing was pretty strange too. All in all I thought the cinematography of this version was much darker and more subdued than the old one, which I didn't really care for. Jane Austen isn't supposed to be so dark, in my opinion.
Also, I thought most of the music was too dark and gloomy. It was alright, but nothing to scream about. I first heard of composer Martin Phipps when I saw North and South, but this music wasn't nearly as good. It was pretty, but it was a little too repetitive and the soundtrack only seemed to have two or three themes that were played over and over and over again. Most of it sounded a bit too modern for the story too, especially the theme that is played near the end when Elinor is shown standing on the dock and then sitting on a bench on the shore. I was kind of disappointed that the music wasn't better, since I love the North and South music so much. Sadie declared that Martin Phipps must be taking stupid lessons from John Williams. (Kudos if you can name what movie that's from!) : P