Saturday, March 1, 2008

Movie Review: Emma

By the Pleasant Times Movie Critic, Miss dePoint

The next movie in the line-up of Jane Austen flicks is A&E's version of Emma, with Kate Beckinsale.

It is worth watching, though many of you who enjoyed the Mirimax version of Emma (with Gwenyth Paltrow) might have a hard time warming up to it.

Certainly the clothing is more modest in this version! And the costumes are excellent (minus a few strange hats). The acting is pretty good, but it isn't as obviously humorous as the other and the colors are not as bright. The film looks more "authentic" and historical than the Mirimax version, though, and the music includes English folk tunes.

There is more in the A&E Emma from the book, and I am glad that Mr. John Knightly and family have more of a presence (and some lines!) in this film. Frank Churchill and Jane Fairfax were excellent in this film, and I only wish that I could somehow get them into the Mirimax version.

Kate Beckinsale does a good job of playing the immature snob Emma, who thinks she knows what she is doing with other people's lives and is very conceited about it, but rather blind to her own faults and who succeeds only in making a fool of herself.

The disappointments are Mr. Elton, who cannot seem to get the frown off his face, and Mr. Knightly, who seems so harsh and angry and cranky that one is rather put off by him. And by the time you get used to him, it is the end of the film. There did not seem to be a spark between him and Emma. One may be surprised that they even wanted to marry each other. I think the Mirimax Emma did a better job of warming up the relationship.

Mrs. Elton does a good job at being annoying, but I was rather disappointed at her accent. It sounded like she was shifting accents, a bit of high-class British accent here, a word or two that sounded American-- I couldn't quite figure it out.

Which character would I invite to tea?

Miss Bates. I wouldn't have to think of anything to say that way! By the way, have you seen Prunella Scales playing Queen Victoria?

Favorite lines:

Mr. John Knightly in the carriage-"Aye, Mr. Weston must have a very good opinion of himself. Asking people to leave their own fireside in the depths of winter just for the sake of coming to see him. He must think himself a most agreeable fellow. And here we are, setting forward, to spend five dull hours in another man's house. Going in dismal weather to return probably in worse; four horses and four servants taken out for nothing but to convey five, idle, shivering creatures into colder rooms and worse company than they might have had at home."

Favorite scenes:

The visit to Donwell Abbey to pick strawberries. The gardens were beautiful and the strawberries looked delicious! Please don't tell me they were fake!
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