the great controversy

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Have you seen Pride and Prejudice?

I ask that question sometimes when I meet a fellow British drama fan. If the answer is yes, I’ll (cautiously) pose the following question.

Which version? {raises eyebrow, looks out of the corner of the eye} The Colin Firth one or the Matthew Macfaydon one?

Isn’t it interesting how the different versions are identified by who plays Mr. Darcy? This tells you how interesting my life must be if I argue about British movies in my spare time then write blog posts about it. 🙂 And if you must know, the correct answer is the Colin Firth version. I tried to be objective when watching the 2005 version and not compare it to the 1995 one, but, oh, it was hard. They are. just. so. different. I’ll start with the 2005 movie.

What I liked about the 2005 version:

I recognized most of the cast from other movies I’ve seen. For example:

Judy Dench as Lady Catherine (Cranford)
Kiera Knightly as Elizabeth Bennet (Pirates of the Caribbean)
Simon Woods as Mr. Bingley (Penelope, Cranford)
Rosamund Pike as Jane Bennet (Wives and Daughters)
Kelly Reilly as Caroline Bingley (Sherlock Holmes: Game of Shadows)
Claudie Blakley as Charlotte Lucas (Lark Rise to Candleford, Cranford, Bright Star)
Tom Hollander as Mr. Collins (Pirates of the Caribbean, Wives and Daughters)

Mrs. Bennet wasn’t nearly as squawkingly excitable. (THANK GOODNESS!)

Jane was lovelier. It was funny to me that Jane was called the pretty one in the BBC show, but that Elizabeth was much prettier.

I’d rather go to the balls in this one than at the other one. They seemed more fun. The whole scene when the Bennets are embarrassing themselves was almost completely cut out, which relieved me. Of all the scenes, that was my least favorite. Talk about cringe-worthy relatives!

I liked Georgiana better. She was younger and more real, even if you only saw her for all of a minute and a half.

The music was amazing! I would buy the soundtrack. The theme is distinctive and is woven nicely all throughout.

The set seemed to be more lived in, like the Bennets had lived at Longbourne for more than just an hour.

Favorite scene from the movie: when Mr. Bingley comes to Longbourne and they bolt through the room cleaning up! I love that they aren’t all prim and proper all day. This movie seemed to be more lighthearted.

What I didn’t like about the 2005 version:

Some of the characters were just off, such as:
Mr. Collins wasn’t slimy like he was supposed to be. He was just weird.
Mr. Bingley and Mr. Bennet were ridiculous, even more so than usual.
And Wickham, the villain of the story, was barely in the movie! He had three scenes at the most. I know that it was a much shorter movie and very little time was devoted to back story, but it was just silly. Little to no explanation was given why Lydia ran off with him, or why he and Darcy disliked each other so much. Disappointing.
Charlotte Lucas wasn’t played too well. Neither was Mrs. Bennet. I liked that Mrs. Bennet was quieter, but when she complained of nerves, it wasn’t as believable.

The story jumped around a bit too quickly. It was hard to tell what was going on sometimes.

The historical inaccuracy was appalling. They couldn’t seem to decide what period the clothes should be from. Bingley would NEVER have gone into Jane’s sick room. Elizabeth should have always worn a hat when going out. Caroline Bingley wouldn’t have worn a sleeveless dress at the Netherfield ball. Lady Catherine, soul of propriety, would not have appeared in the middle of the night to yell at Elizabeth. And walking around in their night-clothes being okay? No, no, no!!

Oh, Mr. Darcy… He had one good line. That’s it. It was a good line, though. Why did he keep just walking into other houses? Talk about random.

And don’t mess with Jane Austen’s words. That is a big, BIG no-no. Honestly, I think she knew what she was doing when she wrote them!

What I liked about the 1995 version:

How much of the story they were able to put into the show. It’s so detailed, rich, and does justice to Jane Austen’s wonderful novel.

The costumes and setting were accurate. No detail was missed. Seriously, I would LOVE to wear Elizabeth’s clothes. Stunning!

You’re able to see back story and character development. Like, the Bingley sisters, Mrs. Gardiner, Wickham’s past and connection to Mr. Darcy, you know, that kind of thing.

Wickham is actually a bad guy! Lydia is an air-headed girl who’s only interest is boys! Mrs. Bennet is in the fidgets all the time! Mary is snooty and silly!

Mr. Bennet is really a funny character. Watching him play opposite to screechy Mrs. Bennet is hilarious. His sense of humor is so dry and sarcastic without being sarcastic.

Lady Catherine is suitably haughty and grand. She’s so demanding. “I am most displeased!”

Mr. Collins… Ooo…he’s so slimy and gross! The other one was just weird, but he is physically repulsive.

And finally….Mr. Darcy. Colin Firth really captures the brooding, dark gorgeousness that is Mr. Darcy. Sometimes he takes the brooding just a bit far. Like when you can count on one hand how many times he smiles! He’s sharp enough to counter Elizabeth’s wit, but vulnerable enough to feel. I love when he and Elizabeth run into each other at Pemberly. Classic! There has never been and never will be a better Mr. Darcy. Unless Richard Armitage played him…

The music is so amazing and distinctive. Unfortunately, it’s unavailable for purchase. A friend found me a copy at a thrift store not that long ago. Love that album.

What I didn’t like about the 1995 version:

Mr. Darcy was right. The Bennets displayed a complete lack of propriety just about anywhere they went. It was hard to watch.

Mr. Collins. Ugh, he creeps me out. I just don’t like the character at all. And he shouldn’t have married Charlotte Lucas. Mary Bennet would have been a better match for him!

I don’t think they cast Caroline Bingley very well. She looks nothing like Mr. Bingley.

Let’s summarize!

All in all, I think that the 1995 version wins for me. Now, if they could take the best parts of both movies and put them together, it would be an amazing movie.

All right, sound off. 1995 or 2005? Colin Firth or Matthew Macfaydon? Tell me which one you prefer! Do you ever have violent arguments about British dramas? I’ll chat about them with you if you don’t have anyone else! 🙂 Comment and tell me all about it!

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2 thoughts on “the great controversy

  1. For me, the 1995 version is superior, but that might just be because I saw that one first. I do like that the 2005 version is shorter, but I find that I usually just take a Saturday and watch both of them back to back. I really should get out more

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