Friday, September 28, 2012

Movie Review: Pride & Prejudice

            I am a Pride and Prejudice lover (who isn’t?). It’s one of my favorite stories ever. I love the characters, the story, the dialogue, the character arc…everything about it is just wonderful.
            I was introduced to Pride and Prejudice about two years ago, when some young people at our church decided to make a movie about it (more on that here). My brother ended up directing the film and marrying the producer. When we first decided to get involved with making First Impressions, we had some friends over and watched the five-hour BBC version. I fell in love with it. It was so accurate with the book (which I appreciate), the setting was beautiful, and the acting superb (Collin Firth, I love you!!).
            Last night, I watched the newer version, starring Keira Knightley. Overall I really enjoyed it, although there were (of course) pros and cons. Which is what I’m going to talk about.
            This review is for those of you who have maybe seen the BBC, but not the newer one, and would like to read a comparison. Or maybe vice versa. Regardless, I am going to share my opinion – and I can promise you, it will be biased. ;) You ready? We’ll start with the actors.
           SPOILER ALERT (contains images from the film)
            Keira Knightley (Elizabeth Bennett): I thought that Keira Knightley was a perfect Elizabeth. That being said, I actually liked her better than the girl in the BBC (Jennifer Ehle). Elizabeth’s personality suited Knightley so well; you could tell the part was natural for her. Her voice inflexions, her facial expressions…everything about her was very Elizabeth-esque.
            Rosamund Pike (Jane Bennett): I liked Rosamund Pike as Jane. I thought she fit the part very well, and was prettier than the BBC (sorry, Susannah Harker). She and Bingley are adorable together.

            Jena Malone (Lydia Bennett): Malone was actually a lot like the Lydia in the BBC (Julia Sawalha), in both appearance, and acting style. I liked her equally in both films.
            Talulah Riley (Mary Bennett): Since this movie was only two hours versus the five hour film, you don’t get to know or see the characters quite as much. Mary is only in a couple of scenes, but I thought that Riley did a good job.
            Carey Mulligan (Kitty Bennett): Again, I don’t have much of an opinion since she wasn’t in many of the scenes, but she was good. The only thing is that she looks a little young for her part (Kitty is eighteen).
            Brenda Blethyn (Mrs. Bennett): Blethyn was a good Mrs. Bennett. The one thing I will say is that she’s not as annoying as the Mrs. Bennett in the BBC (Alison Steadman), which may sound like a good thing. But her absolute ridiculousness in the other film is what makes her such an unforgettable character. So I liked Blethyn fine, but Steadman wins as Mrs. Bennett.
            Donald Sutherland (Mr. Bennett): I must confess, I was rather disappointed with Mr. Bennett. I loved him so much in the BBC (Benjamin Whitrow), but in this movie, I found him rather lacking. He wasn’t as funny or as interesting a character as in the BBC.
            Claudie Blakley (Charlotte Lucas): I think that Charlotte was well casted. Blakley was good to the character, and portrayed her well. I love the scene when she tells Elizabeth that she and Mr. Collins are engaged. The emotions were very real.
            Tom Hollander (William Collins): I really liked this Collins. Again, like Mrs. Bennett, he wasn’t as absolutely weird as he is in the BBC (David Bamber), but I was fine with it. Hollander’s performance was a little more believable – in that, he was still a strange, kooky character, but not as utterly disgusting and awkward as Bamber. I love Mr. Collins in the BBC, just because he’s so awkward and painful to watch, but I thought that Hollander was a good Collins in this film as well.
            Rupert Friend (George Wickham): The moment Wickham entered the scene, I was like “I know that guy!” As it turns out, Rupert Friend is a German officer in The Boy In Striped Pajamas, a movie about the Jewish Holocaust. Anyway, as Wickham, I thought he was good. Could have been a little better looking (he’s supposed to be ridiculously handsome, right?), but other than that, there weren’t any major objections. I just love Wickham in the BBC, though (as much as one can love Wickham, that is).
            Simon Woods (Charles Bingley): As much as I love Crispin Bonham-Carter as Bingley in the BBC, Simon Woods was pretty amazing. And his hair. Was. Awesome. :D I’ve never seen hair that orange.
            Kelly Reilly (Caroline Bingley): I think that I like Reilly better as Caroline than Anna Chancellor. The one thing that I didn’t like about her, is that she (just as a character) was less stylish and fashionable. Her dresses were plain, and not very flattering, whereas in the BBC, she wore very showy gowns. But that’s not the actress’ fault.
            Matthew Macfadyen (Fitzwilliam Darcy): It’s the man we’ve all been waiting for!! And I bet you know what I’m going to say about him. I don’t like him. I’m sorry, but no one else can play the part like Collin Firth. There’s just no competition. :P Macfadyen was a good actor, but just not Darcy (this is one of those areas where I’m biased). A couple of things I noticed; one, he doesn’t possess the same air. Like at the assembly ball, he (Macfadyen) looks bored, rather than proud. Two, his hair. It was properly brushed over and such, it was just kind of mussed. Which I personally like, but not for Mr. Darcy. No, Mr. Darcy is much more proper than that. There are other things, but you get the idea. Collin Firth is Mr. Darcy, and all others are just wannabes. Sorry, but it’s the cold, hard truth.
            Tamzin Merchant (Georgiana Darcy): I did not like Merchant as Georgiana. For one, she wasn’t overly pretty (which Georgiana is). And more importantly, the one scene that they have her in, she’s extremely forward. She runs up to Elizabeth, all excited, and starts prattling on about her brother. I’m sorry, but that is not Georgiana. Georgiana is extremely shy, to the point of being called proud. She wouldn’t run up to someone she’s never met before.
            Judy Dench (Lady Catherine de Bourg): I liked Dench as Lady Catherine. Once more, she wasn’t in the movie very much, so there wasn’t much opportunity to develop her character (aka, she didn’t have a lot of time for bossing people around). But what I saw was good.

            All right, now for the movie in general.
            I thought it was very well made. I like their filming style. The locations they shot at were beautiful. The story transitions smoothly... It was well done. And I also appreciated that the clothing was much more modest than in the BBC version.
            One con is, of course, the length. I totally understand the need to do a regular length movie (and the BBC is different anyway, as it was a TV series). But because of how short it needed to be, they couldn’t quite do the story justice. You didn’t go as in-depth with the characters, and some (like Darcy) had a less-defined character arc, which was disappointing.

            There were some scenes I really loved, and some I really did not love. I absolutely loved the second proposal scene. That was just beautiful. But I did not like the first proposal scene. It felt very harsh. They’re standing out in the rain, yelling at each other – And that was another thing. I did not like how they had Darcy yelling in that scene. He’s far too gentlemanlike to yell at a woman. And he totally slaughtered the best line “In vain I have struggled; it will not do. You must allow me to tell you how ardently I admire and love you.” He says the first half, then goes on his spiel about her family, then finishes by saying her loves her. The whole scene was very disappointing.
            Another scene that I did like is of Darcy and Bingley standing beside the lake, and Bingley is rehearsing his proposal to Jane. I liked how they included that in this film.
            It was interesting how they had to change things since this was a shorter movie. Like having Lizzy actually approach him at the assembly ball and try to engage him in conversation (and they do converse later that evening). And the whole story in general moved very quickly.

            Well, there’s my opinion of Pride and Prejudice. Overall, I enjoyed the movie immensely. It was well-filmed, well-cast, and engaging. I would highly recommend it.
            Until next time, folks. ::tips hat::
Dancing at Netherfield.


"A Mrs. Bennett, a Miss Bennett, a Miss Bennett, and a Miss Bennett."
Bingley's Proposal :D
The best part in the whole movie. <3

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

The Heart of A Writer

February 11th, 2011

Writing. Oh, the bliss of creating one’s own world in which anything can happen. The glorious tapping sound of the keys as inspiration fills one’s mind. Writing is my favorite thing to do. Period.
            There’s something thrilling about having the power to create one’s own world. Creating characters who - despite the fact that they’re only ink - feel as real and as personal to you as any tangible person. Weaving them a beautiful tale. Crying over them when they fall. Cheering when they rise. Spending countless hours typing and back-spacing, drafting and redrafting, tearing out your hair, throwing in a brilliant twist, staring at your blank screen, punching in the last sentence with that victorious air of finality…
            These are the joys of a writer.

            Creating characters is probably my favorite thing about writing. I love the whole process – creating a plot, bringing in subplots, coming up with a solid resolution – but characters are just flat out fun. They become so real. They have their own personality, quirks, unique way of speaking, words that are special to them, characteristic gestures, frustrations, likes, dislikes, dreams, pet peeves, laugh… They really are their own person.
You’ve probably heard some writer at one point say, “My character wouldn’t listen to me!” and thought they were crazy, but it’s so true. Sometimes, you have to make a character say or do something that you don’t necessarily want, because it’s them. And you know that if you make them do it any differently, you won’t live it down.
And it’s interesting. As the author, you are in a sort of god position. You have made these people, made this world, and you are in control of what happens to them, despite whatever choices they make. You reign supreme. And sometimes, you have to hurt your character. You have to do things that they won’t like in order to help them grow.
It’s so much like how God is with us. As long as there is sin, there will always be pain and hardship in life. But we can rest in the assurance that everything that happens to us is for good. God knows exactly what He’s doing. Sometimes, His plans remain unseen, and trust is hard. We wonder, what good could come of this? I went though a time of this after May 5th. I lay in bed for hours, wondering why God chose to take Josh that day. It made no sense. Josh was in paramedic training; he could have saved so many lives. He wanted to share the gospel. So why did God take him home?
Over the days, God revealed His plan to me, like the turning of a page. Thousands of people from all over the world were touched by Josh’s life. Most had never met him, but were deeply impacted by his life. He wasn’t anyone special. All he did was live in submission to Christ. That made all the difference.
I don’t know about you, but I always get kind of sad when I close a good book. By that point, you’re attached to the characters, and loathe to say goodbye.
It took me a long time to accept that Josh’s book was really closed – that his story was over. But with the grief of saying goodbye, there’s also the joy and satisfaction of a story well-told. Josh’s story is done – the book has been closed, the story of his life completed. But I know that he did what God wanted him to do. And I’m so proud of him.

            Well, there’s a glimpse of the heart of this writer. More comin’ soon. ;)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Our Refuge

            I’ve been reading through the Psalms over the last few weeks, and this chapter really stood out to me. It’s such a beautiful picture of Christ’s love and protection of us.
God is our refuge and strength,
A very present help in trouble.
Therefore we will not fear, though the earth should change
And though the mountains slip into the heart of the sea;
Though its waters roar and foam,
Though the mountains quake at its swelling pride.
There is a river whose streams make glad the city of God,
The holy dwelling places of the Most High.
God is in the midst of her, she will not be moved;
God will help her when morning dawns.
The nations made an uproar, the kingdoms tottered;
He raised His voice, the earth melted.
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold.
Come, behold the works of the Lord,
Who has wrought desolations in the earth.
He makes wars to cease to the end of the earth;
He breaks the bow and cuts the spear in two;
He burns the chariots with fire.
“Cease striving and know that I am God;
I will be exalted among the nations, I will be exalted in the earth.”
The Lord of hosts is with us;
The God of Jacob is our stronghold
~Psalm 46 (NASB)

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

In Loving Remembrance...

          Today is my dog's 10th birthday. Sadly, she passed away on May 12th this year. It probably seems silly that I'm posting about my dog, but she was very special to me.
          When I was very little, I took a liking to dachshunds. I had pictures of them in my room, and I would constantly ask my parents to buy me one. Finally, my wish was granted. I got Sarah as a Christmas gift when I was five years old.
          Sarah was a sweet little dog. Her favorite was Josh, although my dad and I came in a close second. I had fun playing with her as a kid - romping through the snow, dressing her in doll clothes, making her do backflips onto our beanbag. The poor thing put up with me through it all. :P
          There wasn't any obvious cause to her death. I think that her age just caught up with her. The last few days were hard; she wasn't able to walk or move around, so she just lay on the ground. It was so hard to watch her suffer. But we prayed that God would take her home quickly, and He did. I thank Him for all the years we had together.