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.
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
on 12 January 2016
I want to begin by saying that the cinematography of this film is absolutely gorgeous - no complaints there at all. However, sadly, that's where the positives end for me. The dumbed-down language used throughout the film was infuriating to listen to, not to mention completely out of character in places. Keira Knightly's portrayal of Elizabeth Bennett was way too giggly and immature, and many characters from the book were either excluded entirely or poorly developed - Lydia, for example, had almost zero screen time leading up to her involvement with Mr. Wickham. Furthermore, Mr. Bennett was supposed to be the proprietor of a small estate with a steady income of around £2000 - there absolutely would not have been chickens and pigs running around in his backyard! In fact, the entire Bennett family were portrayed more as pig farmers than the middle class gentry they were supposed to be. But the absolute worst thing about this film? The horrible Hollywood-style ending.
on 1 May 2016
A few good castings (a better Wickham and Charlotte Lucas than the BBC series and Judy Dench as Lady Catherine) but very fast paced and disjointed, far from the text and so many bits chopped out that the script doesn't always makes sense, as with Elizabeth saying she has heard so many different accounts of Darcy as to puzzle her exceedingly, when at that point in this version she had heard nothing good about him. Darcy is fine for a change and it's still a good watch, but nothing on the Firth/Ehle combo. Keira Knightley plays Elizabeth close to the flippancy and impropriety of Lydia and Kitty at times, and Matthew MacFadyen seems shy and lost and has nothing of Mr. Darcy's usual strength of character.
on 8 October 2015
I believe this is the definitive film of P&P, far better than the BBC production made famous by Mr Darcy emerging clothed but soaking from his lake. Keira Nightly is adorable as Elizabeth is simply adorable, beautiful, quiet, smouldering, the thinker in the family of airhead mother and four sisters. Poor Mr Bennet, long suffering and exasperated by the frothy femininity around him. Darcy also smoulders with contempt for the empty headed in society, trying to guide his friend away from frivolous people, but his love for Jane cannot be stayed. Darcy is above all a realist, seeing people for what they are and is prepared to treat accordingly. I love him, but I also love Elizabeth and would have wished to be such a creature.
on 9 January 2016
Too Hollywoodised version of the great Jane Austen classic. England was made to look like medieval Low Countries, Kiera Knightley grinned like a monkey, and her father sounded as awful as Dick van Dyke in Mary Poppins, altogether not even tolerable enough to watch all the way through! Hollywood should leave classic novels well alone!
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!)
on 13 January 2006
Well, like most reviewers here I am unable to say much that is bad when it comes to this film. I have seen in 3 times so far (and am not generally prone to repeat viewings of films in the cinema) and will probably see it again (here in Austria it is still running in some cinemas, having been released on October 21st). I see A LOT of films and this is the first in a long time that I have really loved.
I have held back from giving it 5 stars as there were a few "stiff" points about the acting that irked me (Elizabeth's totally unconvincing tears upon receiving the news of Lydia for example) plus I found the scene where Lizzie finally accepts Darcy just a tiny bit overdone (if we're being picky). In general though I thought the casting and acting were very pleasing. Since the game here seems to be to compare to the BBC series, I will say that I thought Donald Sutherland's withdrawn Mr Bennett was more suitable than in the TV series where he struck me as much more assertive that he ought to be. I also liked Caroline Bingley much better (the costume department for the BBC version had her looking like a transvestite) and although Mr Collins was good in the TV version too, this one cracked me up! Like seemingly everyone else here, I was also dubious about Keira Knightly in this role, but as it turns out she did extremely well. I liked the way she played Elizabeth as much more of a tomboy than in the 1995 version, and although I had no real problems with Ehle's portrayal, I always felt she looked far to old for a girl of "not one and twenty". Finally, Mr Darcy! Like lots of people I had very romantic memories of Colin Firth in his wet clothes etc. etc. but having rewatched the BBC series at Christmas for the first time in eight years I found that my memory had been misleading me a bit - Firth was just OK, although any actor would have a job looking quite as smouldering as him! In particular, his delivery of the "dearest, lovliest Elizabeth" line stood out as completely unconvincing. That said, McFadyen's "I love-, I love-, I love you" got on my nerves the second and third times around. All in all, the new Mr Darcy is different, but does just as well and indeed better in places.
When it comes to the sets, I thought they were stunning. Perhaps the Bennetts should have been slightly more refined, but I was glad to see a house that befitted their status rather more that the all too grand home in the series. I adored the music too and have purchased the soundtrack - again, something which I don't generally do.
Finally, just on a point of information, quite a few reviewers have referred to the 1995 BBC version as "the original". Although I have seen no other adaptations, to my knowledge there is a 1940 film version with Greer Garson and Laurence Olivier. There are probably a few less well known adaptations in between and maybe even something earlier that I haven't heard of at all. It would be interesting to hear comparisons with some of these if anyone has any to offer.
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.
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!