19 of 22 people found the following review helpful
on 6 February 2013
Ive seen the Colin Firth film, read the book and also watched this version. The book is captivating, the Colin Firth film is probably the best re-telling available and an absolute classic for those who love period dramas, but this version has its own place. At 2 hours, it skims many plots and only touches on others, yet there's something about it and that leaves the viewer satisfied and feeling good. The piano scores that pop up throughout are fantastic, as are the stunning birdsong dawns and views across the pond. Keira Knightley plays the part of Elizabeth wonderfully well; her varied expressions, girle giggles and stubbornness of character bring the story to life. Yet there's something else too, just little things such as the servant ambling her way through the film singing to herself, the stark setting on the moor in Derbyshire, the vigor of the ball, the stuffiness of the Bennett house..... There's just something that makes this film feel as though you are watching through a looking glass rather than a tv screen.
Very funny, lavish and stunning to the eye. This is well worth 2 hours of anyone's life.
34 of 40 people found the following review helpful
In order to have this movie in High Definition, I've had the HD-DVD format of it for a few years now - but it's an America issue and has the awful US ending. Now at last it arrives on BLU RAY in the UK (May 2010) and it's just as gorgeous a transfer. It uses exactly the same elements that the HD-DVD did - even the same menus - and the extras from the DVD are all intact also (with the US ending tagged on as an Alternate).
The improvement in picture quality is immense over the rather blurred DVD experience. As it opens with a misty dawn and the twitter of birds, we see the young and feisty Elizabeth Bennet (played with a magical touch and staggering assurance by Kiera Knightly) walking with a book. But it's not until she crosses the courtyard of her home that the real quality kicks in - and it's a wow. The picture takes you aback - it wasn't this good in the cinema I can tell you...
It isn't perfect throughout by any means though. Because they were going for authenticity, a lot of the early evening and dark night sequences are shot in candlelit rooms (as they would have lived), so you get fuzziness in the definition... But once you get out into the countryside or inside one of the great halls of stately homes - where proper lighting prevailed - the picture quality is beautiful. There is one famous dream sequence where only Kiera's closed eyes fill the screen - she is dreaming of standing on the cliff edge - the clarity is gobsmacking. You also notice the weave of the clothing, the dirt on the hemlines, the ever so slightly unkempt hair - the attention to detail is great.
Directed by Joe Wright and released in late 2005, the film version was living in the shadow of the legendary 6-part BBC production from 1995 - so the movie had a lot on its shoulders and admirably rose to the task. Another trump card was Dario Marianelli's lush piano score (Oscar nominated) swirling around the scenes like a graceful swan.
In the cinema, it was a delight to look and experience - but sitting at home and watching it in real definition is a far more rewarding and illuminating experience. The acting chops on display is right across the board and apart from a slightly jarring ending, it had the hallmarks of a shoot that was fun and supremely confident in its delivery. I know others will cite the BBC production as definitive - but I think there's more than enough room on my shelf for both.
Matthew MacFadyen, Brenda Blethyn, Rosamund Pike, Carey Mulligan, Judy Dench, Tom Hollander - they were a cleverly chosen cast - and Rupert Friend won the heart of the lovely Kiera (which might explain the ethereal beauty of her performance). But it's the stunning adaptation of Jane Austen's novel by DEBORAH MOGGACH that is the real hero of the day. There is a sequence when Elizabeth and Darcy finally face off against each other in the rain - the dialogue is to die for - and should have been Oscar rewarded. As a dabbler in screenplays myself, I can't stress enough just how good the work here is - dazzling stuff.
It's under a tenner, the extras are substantial, the picture quality is much improved and in some cases unbelievably so - and it's eminently re-watchable.
To sum up - if you're a fan of the film, Jane Austen or both - then you must own "Pride & Prejudice" on this format. A Blu Ray gem and highly recommended.
BLU RAY Credits:
VIDEO: 1080p High-Definition Widescreen 2.35:1 aspect
AUDIO: English DTS-HD Master Audio 5.1, Italian, Spanish, French, German and Japanese DTS Surround 5.1
SUBTITLES: English SDH, French, German, Italian, Spanish, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Norwegian, Portuguese, Swedish, Japanese, Traditional Mandarin, Korean and Cantonese
Commentary with Director Joe Wright
Conversation With The Cast
Jane Austen, Ahead Of Her Time
A Bennet Family Portrait
Pride & Prejudice: A Classic In The Making
The Politics Of Dating
Alternate US Ending
The Stately Homes Of Pride & Prejudice
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 8 February 2006
Those who really love Jane Austen's book should be a little cautious if they think this adaption is going to be faithful to it. However, those with an open mind for visual adaptions and a love for romantic period dramas will love it. For me, this was a beautful adaption of the central theme of Pride and Predjudice, with all the sub plots neatly trimmed to fit into 2 hours. I loved the more earthy and less refined way it was filmed, allowing us to see more passion than the 1995 television adaption allowed. There will inevitably be comparisons to the 1995 adaption - but there shouldn't be. This was obviously filmed by a director with a very different perception of the novel and I for one, preferred his vision of it. The only drawbacks to this film are that some of the scenes do feel very rushed - almost as if the actors have been told to say their lines really fast; this does mean that some scenes that us true romantics love most of all, can leave the viewer feeling as if the scenes lack a bit of emotional depth sometimes. For example, the scene where Mr Darcy proposes to Lizzy in the rain - a wonderfully set scene, beautifully located in the rain with simmering passion in abundance, but the lines seem hurried rather than passionate and the viewer (who will always read reality between the lines of romance) will wonder whether Mr Darcy took to chasing lizzy through forests and hills before startling her in the palladian arch!
All in all, my only real concern with this film is how the director could have understood the book so well, but could have failed to realise why it is read so widely. I draw this opinion from the final scene, or lack of it. Where is it Joe? (and those of you who are looking forward to seeing the extra US scene where they kiss - prepare for a cheesy dissapointment, not a classy romantic conclusion which conveys the sublimity of such a moment). It has to be said, the 1995 version got the end right. It's all in the conclusion!
I guess I am spoiled by the Colin Firth version or presentation. This presentation they plow through, talk fast and spend more time making faces. However the wide long shots of the country side are impressive (especially in Blu-ray). I have seen some to the houses in a TV production on "Great Houses of Britain". However Donald Sutherland is a good contributor as Mr. Benet.
Oh Great Scott, forget about what I said in the first paragraph as the presentation finally picks up as everyone gets over the initial deceptions. So do not give up on this movie too early. Finally we get the highs and lows that we planned on.
It is not the easiest thing to tell the story as by the time you view this presentation you should already be familiar with Jane Austen. If not we do not eat to give too many things away. To say that the Bennet family of all daughters will lose their meager estate at the passing of the father. Only a male can inherit property.
So it is time to marry off the daughters. As the story unfolds you will understand the title of the story. The main focus is on the banter between Elizabeth Bennet and Mr. Darcy surrounded by others that are also posturing. Is there opportunity that all well be well in the end or will the whole thing unravel?
For people not acquainted with Jane Austin you will see that she is not an obscure writer of only a hand full of novels but someone that was taken from us too soon.
Screenplay by Deborah Moggach. We have not heard the last from her yet.
on 25 September 2015
Absolutely loved this version, the best in my opinion.
I have seen the Colin Firth series many times, and know the impact on the majority of viewers, so can understand the problem in making a comparison with that. But, I really cannot understand the intense negativity in some reviews! The casting is superb in relation to the book, and the subtlties and clever remarks of Jane Austen's characterisations are many, even though this is film length. It obviously cannot contain as many parts from the book as the series does.
Darcy is played superbly by Mathew Macfadyen, and Keira Knightly and Donald Sutherland are wonderfully authentic to the book. Yes, some scenes are altered, but I think for the better. The proposal scene at the end is so lovely, and beautifully shot, again, I believe an improvement on the couple going on a random long walk.
I would definitely recommend this version. It misses out the somewhat boring parts of the book whilst keeping well to the storyline. Love it!
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
on 2 February 2015
This version would be just about acceptable if it was not for the superb, well researched, BBC version with Colin Firth. The film is an odd mixture of the USA and England. There are attractive scenes in English great houses, but Mr Bennet and his house come across like an American farmer in his farmhouse rather than an English gentleman who owned a small estate. Buy the Colin Firth version if you have any interest in historical accuracy or if you want a film that closely follows the book.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
One thing which struck me overwhelmingly about this film is its drabness. The Bennet girls wear dark colours and the farm on the Longbourne estate seems very poorly kept. The producers and designers seem not to have realised the Bennet's social status. Mr Bennet's income was £2000 a year derived from the Longbourne estate and there is every indication in the book that it is well run and in good order. Mrs Bennet is insulted when Mr Collins asks if her daughters are responsible for the food because she can well afford staff to run the house and the kitchen. Yet the girls are frequently shown in the kitchen and in the farm yard.
I think this film totally lost the humour of the original and as such spoilt it for me. The costumes were all wrong in that young girls wore pastel colours and there is nothing in the book to indicate that they weren't fashionably dressed. I could not see any reason for cutting out the Hursts from the Bingley party at Netherfield either.
This was disappointing watching for me and it gets two stars only because I thought it did convey the atmosphere of the balls very well though not their colour and sparkle.
on 13 March 2015
In a nutshell, this is a good adaption of the book but not a patch on the bbc version. Basically, if you want the definitive and most accurate adaption of the book, go with the classic bbc version, if you want a slimmed down but ultimately enjoyable telling of the pride and prejudice story go for this. The acting is solid throughout, even Darcy grew on me over the course of the film.
The one major criticism I have is that fitting the story into one 1hr 45 min movie means that you lose some of the supporting characters and reduce screen time for those that remain. This in turn means that the actual motivations and actions of the lead casts on occasions don't make sense - in a fuller adaption, it makes it and easier to believe Lydia would do what she does and even Lizzies emotional journey seems somewhat simplified.
A good adaption but as a movie, there are several or holes and missed scenes.
25 of 31 people found the following review helpful
on 19 July 2006
I thought the film was fair. I found it to be disappointing in it's portrayal of some essential main characters ie Wickham (who was heavily overlooked) and the casting left a lot ot be desired.
We are constantly reminded by Jane Austin that Elizabeth Bennett is feisty and opinionated but Keira Knightly's "Lizzie" was almost too opinionated in some scenes which left me, as the viewer, disliking her immensely--not quite the reaction one should have from one of literature's most loveable heroin's!!!
We never really get to see the wonderful relationship Lizzie has with her father and the closeness of Darcy and Georgiana--his sister. The elopment with Lydia and Wickham loses its intensity because of this and other factors.
I will definitely rate the BBC adaptation above this film for the quality acting and realism of Regency England.
101 of 126 people found the following review helpful
on 5 December 2005
First of all, I should say that like a previous reviewer, I was determined to find fault with this film, given that I am a huge fan of the seminal BBC version, and didn't think anything could come close. However, I rather grudgingly went to see it, and, suprise, suprise, loved it. The whole film has a much more earthy, organic feel to previous adaptions, which allows us to see the divide between the 2 families involved even more sharply. Given that the story has to be shortened to fit in with the time, this actually works to the films advantage, focusing almost exclusively on the main relationship; Elizabeth and Darcy.
One of the main reasons that I didn't want to like this film was Keira Knighley, as she usually irritates me and I don't like her acting that much! However, putting my prejudices aside, and sitting down to watch this film, she truly is the star, and puts on a wonderful performance as Lizzy; funny and engaging, and she deserves much credit for this.
The music is quite simply, glorious, and worth buying the DVD just to see/listen to it as intended, on screen.
I came out of the cinema feeling as though all was well in the world, and loved it so much I had to go back and see it the next week. A wonderful adaption, and will certainly be in equal standing with my BBC version in my DVD collection. (And I never thought I would write that!)