Phantom of the Opera – Movie 1943

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This is the second movie version of the Phantom of the Opera that I’ve watched.

If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

I was very surprised to find out that this movie strays far, far away from the original Phantom of the Opera story.  I’d say they took the Phantom theme and decided to tweak it into their own alternative version of the story.  In this movie, all elements of the plot have their beginning and end in Christine.  The Phantom becomes nothing more than a miserable old man whose mind is broken by adverse circumstances.  It’s difficult to feel much horror at his actions when all you want to do is take the poor man and get him some psychiatric help.  I really missed seeing the diabolical character of the Phantom in this movie.

Personally, this wasn’t my kind of movie.  The plot and acting are just a little too campy and dated for me, but I could see my mother loving it!  I just need a little more out of my heroine than the ability to act cutesy and sing like Snow White.  That’s not to say that there’s anything wrong with the movie, I’m just not their target market.  I must say that the filming and color were amazing.  The sets and costumes were great, too.  So…my conclusion is that this would be a great movie for some people and for others (like myself) it’s a decent movie that you’ll only need to see once.  Oh, and if you don’t like singing, this is not the movie for you.

I recommend Phantom of the Opera to ladies who enjoy classic romance movies and don’t mind a fair bit of singing.

Rated: NR

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Phantom of the Opera – Movie 2004

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Last night I watched my first film adaptation of The Phantom of the Opera.  Let it be said though, that this film is based on the musical from Andrew Lloyd Webber, not the original book.  If you’re looking for a movie that closely mirrors the book, you’re going to be disappointed.  If you want to know more about what I thought of the book, check out my book review.

Even though I’m not a huge fan of musicals, I sat through this one without a problem.  It was so well done that I was willing to put up with a ton of singing just so I could see the story played out.  Gerard Butler was an amazing Phantom and I thought that Emmy Rossum made a very believable Christine.  Their singing was a joy to listen to.

The look of this movie was absolutely magical!  The costumes and sets were perfect and added a wonderful richness to the tapestry of the story.  I thought the Phantom was a little too handsome in his role (when compared to how the book described him), but I’m not going to complain too loudly.  Apparently he’s extremely talented with prosthetics and hairpieces in this version.

As far as differences between the movie and the book, I hesitate to get too critical.  I’ve never seen the musical before, so I can’t comment on how closely this version resembles the original.  It definitely strays from the novel, but that’s what I expected.  There are many changes which push the story even further into the realm of fantasy and theatricality.  Candelabras being held by moving arms originating from the walls?  Oh, yes.

My biggest criticism of the film is that there are a couple of scenes which were shot in such a way as to make you dizzy while watching them (a fight scene and the mirror room).  That is a no-no for me.  If I wanted to feel motion sickness, I’d go take a ride on a roller coaster.

I recommend The Phantom of the Opera to all the ladies out there who enjoy a love story combined with a musical.  If that isn’t you, this movie might be a little over the top for you.

Possible Objections:

  • Brief view of a man’s nude backside (blink, and you’ll miss it)
  • 1 instance of the d-word
  • Some mild sensuality
  • A hanging which is a bit graphic

Rated: PG-13

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux

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Title: The Phantom of the Operaby Gaston Leroux

Premise:

The Paris Opera House is haunted by a phantom who seems to hold sway over all that happens there.  Unfortunately, the Opera Ghost becomes enamored of a young lady named Christine, who falls under the spell of the phantom — her “Angel of Music.”  Will Raoul, her true love, be able to save her from the phantom’s spell before tragedy strikes?

My thoughts:

I was already familiar with this story from having seen the movie, so reading this book was not an entirely new revelation to me.  Nevertheless, it was still enjoyable and worth my while.

The whole love triangle between Christine, Raoul and Erik is very intriguing.  These poor young lovers have to defend themselves against this seemingly omnipotent villain who will do anything to procure the lady he’s obsessed with.  I was struck with just how much genius Erik was blessed with.  Was there anything this man couldn’t do?  Any skills he didn’t have?  He seemed superhuman to me, and perhaps that was the author’s intention.

I’m going to be perfectly honest here and tell you that I wasn’t as impressed with Christine’s character as I thought I’d be.  She was a little too wishy-washy for my taste, never seeming to know what she wanted. While the author tried to explain her shifts in mood and intentions, it seemed like perhaps our heroine was a trifle simple-minded.  This was a girl who needed to get out of that darn Opera House, have a stroll around town, and start to think for herself.  A lesson to all the young ladies out there: Never let a man have control over your mind.  Ahem, back to the book.

The storytelling doesn’t flow quite as seamlessly as I expected, but that could be in part because of the translation from French.  Also, it seemed like there was a lot extraneous information contained in the book.  I think that I prefer the way that the movie took away some of those bits that didn’t seem to add anything to the narrative (to my mind).

I was really captivated with the description of the Paris Opera House, and after I finished the book I sought out a little more information about it.  Just let me say that it is a fascinating building and well worth studying.  The pictures alone will blow your mind!

I recommend The Phantom of the Opera to those who enjoy a good Gothic novel or to fans of classic literature.  I don’t think that it would greatly appeal to the average reader.

Possible Objections:

  • Some violence

Rating: 4 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

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Title: The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Premise:

Follow the adventures of four woodland friends: Badger, Toad, Mole and Rat.  They have adventures in the Wild Wood, lazy days boating on the river, and trouble with a motor-car.  When Toad’s reckless ways land him in a heap of trouble, it will take all of the friends to make things right again.

My thoughts:

I absolutely love this book!  It’s not the first time I’ve read it, but it has just as much charm as I remember.  Grahame has an uncanny knack for writing in a manner which is both charming and playful, as well as describing nature in a singularly unique way.  It’s as if he sees all of nature as a living being.

The story is somewhat meandering (though still completely satisfactory) because it simply follows the characters in their day-to-day life.  The meat of the story is the episode in which Toad steals a motor-car and all of the drama that ensues because of his actions.  Certainly there are other events in the book and though they aren’t particularly dramatic, they are just as enjoyable to read about.

The characters are wonderfully written and developed.  Who would think that you could feel so much in common with woodland animals?  Yet Grahame makes his animals come to life and embody human characteristics to such a masterful degree that you feel like they are old friends.  I think Badger is my favorite character.  He’s a bit gruff, but still kindly and down-to-earth.  He would be like your favorite gruff old uncle who is hiding a heart of gold underneath.

I recommend The Wind in the Willows to children in their later elementary years and up, families, and those who enjoy classic literature.  This is a fun adventure which appeals to all ages!

 

Possible Objections:

  • The a-word is used several times (as the English might use it to refer to someone who’s making a fool of themselves)
  • Some animals brandishing & shooting guns
  • A couple of the animals smoke pipes (not very frequently)
  • A few mentions of drinking alcohol: beer & champagne
  • The vocabulary might be a bit advanced for younger readers

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel (Original Text)

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Title: Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel (Original Text) by Charlotte Brontë

Premise:

Jane Eyre has lived a largely loveless and harsh life, first under her aunt’s roof and later at the infamous Lowood School.  When Jane becomes a young adult she ventures forth from her stifled existence, ready for the next chapter in her life.  When she arrives at Thornfield Hall as the new governess, however, she has no idea the pleasures and pain that lie in store for her.

My thoughts:

I wanted to share just a quick note on this book.  It’s a graphic novel which is totally awesome, not only for younger readers, but also for Jane Eyre aficionados.  There is a whole series of these graphic novels based on classic literature, and I will definitely be reviewing more of them in the future.  Also of note, each title comes in at least three different text formats: Original Text, Plain Text, and Quick Text.  These come in handy for different reading levels, making the story accessible to people of all ages.

On to the story!  The story line was followed quite faithfully in the graphic novel version (with only a few minor changes), and this being the Original Text version, the dialogue was also quite faithful.  It’s fun to see the artists’ imagining of how the story looks.  Seeing their imagined facial expressions and the characters’ mannerisms, along with the dialogue, is just another fun way to explore the story of Jane Eyre.  I really enjoyed it!

The illustrations are nice, though for some reason they remind me of 1970’s illustrations.  Don’t ask me why.  Also, the book is divided into chapters, so that provides some good stopping points along the way and keeps the reading manageable for those who want to digest it in stages.

I recommend Jane Eyre: The Graphic Novel to young readers who want an easier introduction to the story, as well as to Jane Eyre fans.  It’s a fun way to explore a wonderful classical story.

 

Possible Objections:

  • some violence

 

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Jane Eyre - Graphic Novel - Original Text 2.jpg

The Red Pony by John Steinbeck

red-pony

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As I was browsing my parents’ bookshelf the other day, I came across a 1945 copy of The Red Pony by John Steinbeck. I think that old books are awesome, so I decided to read this short novel.

Premise:

Jody lives on a ranch in the Salinas Valley of California with his parents and Billy, a ranch hand.  Jody’s father is a controlling dictator, but Billy connects with Jody in a way that his father cannot.  When Jody wants a pony, Billy does all he can to ensure that he gets one.

My thoughts:

For some reason, I did not think critically about the story before starting.  This will be a fun story about a pony, right?  I forgot to take into account that John Steinbeck was the author!!  No, no, no–this did not turn into a cute and heartwarming pony story.  Stupid me for even thinking that it would.

If you’re familiar with Steinbeck’s other works, you’ll know that he tells sad, often depressing stories.  Life is hard in his books and this one is no different.  Jody, the main character, has some real set-backs in his childhood.  As the reader, you have to read between the lines to see how he’s coping with those challenges and how they ultimately affect him.

One question I want answered: What happens to Nellie’s colt???  And the old paisano??  Steinbeck leaves you in the lurch, guessing about what happened to these characters whom you thought would be important plot elements.  Oh well–I guess his novels are unpredictable, just like real life.

There are definitely some deep thoughts, feelings, and life lessons to ponder in this novel.  I don’t know if elementary-age kids will really grasp it all, or if they’ll just think it’s a depressing story.  I came away with a sense of how bleak life is and that our actions are ultimately futile and unimportant.  Steinbeck may have been saying something different–but that was my impression.

I would recommend this book to those who enjoy reading class literature and would like a fuller knowledge of Steinbeck’s work.  I’m not sure that the average reader would enjoy this book.

Possible Objections:

  • A handful of curse words (d-word & J.C.)

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Twelve Years a Slave by Solomon Northup

12 Years Slave - WM

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Twelve Years a Slave is the final book in my Rainbow Cover Reading Challenge!  I am so excited to give away the books from this challenge to one lucky winner–so stay tuned!

I was really looking forward to reading this book because I’ve been studying slavery and other social justice issues since I was a child.  For some reason, those difficult subjects have always fascinated me.  I had never heard of Solomon Northup, nor seen the recent movie that is based on this book.

First, you should know that this book uses old-fashioned language.  That’s just something that you’ll have to get used to.  The words may not flow off your tongue like melted butter, but you should really stick with it because of how truly fascinating the story is.

Second, you will notice that this story seems to be choked with minute details that wouldn’t really be necessary for simply telling the story.  There are a couple of reasons for this.  First, Solomon had to establish his right in representing the true state of slavery by proving beyond a shadow of a doubt that his story was undeniably true.  All of the small details in the book are facts that could be checked and corroborated.  Additionally, Solomon published this book a short time after he was rescued from captivity, hoping that by sharing his story he could educate people about the truth of slavery.  (Remember, at this time there were people who actually believed that the slave preferred his state of bondage to a life of freedom.)  As a free, educated colored man, he had a unique perspective to offer.  He had been accustomed to freedom, then that freedom was stripped from him and he was forced to endure slavery.  Twelve years later he was restored to freedom again.  Upon his return, he could give utterance to the true state of slavery in an observant, introspective, and educated manner.  He could speak to whites at the time on an equal footing (at least intellectually).  So, while the details may get tedious and seem irrelevant at times, they served a very specific purpose when the book was written.

I must say that I really enjoyed this book.  I didn’t enjoy reading about the hardships and injustices, but I appreciated learning about Solomon’s experiences.  Mainly he shares events and information about his daily life in a matter-of-fact tone.  He also shares the things he felt and what others said.  The reader is expected to arrive at their own conclusion as to whether or not slavery is a just institution.  I appreciate that Solomon appealed to the reader to take what they had read and consult their own conscience about what was fair or not.

A couple of my favorite quotes:

“They left me in the cabin, that I might rest.  Blessed be sleep!  It visiteth all alike, descending as the dews of heaven on the bond and free.  Soon it nestled to my bosom, driving away the troubles that oppressed it, and bearing me to that shadowy region, where I saw again the faces, and listened to the voices of my children, who, alas, for aught I knew in my waking hours, had fallen into the arms of that other sleep, from which they never would arouse.” (p. 94)

“‘If I was in New-England,’ returned Bass, ‘I would be just what I am here.  I would say that Slavery was an iniquity, and ought to be abolished.  I would say there was no reason nor justice in the law, or the constitution that allows one man to hold another man in bondage.  It would be hard for you to lose your property, to be sure, but it wouldn’t be half as hard as it would be to lose your liberty.  You have no more right to your freedom, in exact justice, than Uncle Abram yonder.  Talk about black skin, and black blood; why, how many slaves are there on this bayou as white as either of us?  And what difference is there in the color of the soul?  Pshaw! the whole system is as absurd as it is cruel.'” (p. 179)

Because of the subject matter and language, I would suggest this book for teens and up.

Possible Objections:

  • A lot of violence
  • Racial epithets
  • Bad language — mostly the d-word
  • Some talk of sexual exploitation

Rating: 5 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

Northanger Abbey – Movie 1987

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I’m trying to catch up with these movies!  The pile of Jane Eyre adaptations really threw me for a loop!  Well, today we’re talking about Northanger Abbey.  This version stars Katharine Schlesinger as Catherine Morland, and Peter Firth as Henry Tilney.

I was not wowed by any of the characters in this movie.  They all seemed lacking in one way or another.  Catherine was young, naïve and happy.  At times her emotions were not nuanced enough and came across as shallow.  Henry Tilney didn’t get a lot of screen time, and when he did it was difficult to discern his feelings and motivations.  I think they wanted him to come across as somewhat of an enigma, and in that they thoroughly succeeded.  Isabella Thorpe was silly, simpering, flirtatious, shallow, and constantly seeking flattery.  Her method of speaking was inane.  John Thorpe was creepy and lecherous.

There were a couple of characters whom I liked.  Elinor Tilney’s acting was natural, which made it a wonderful relief.  General Tilney’s character was strange, but well-played.  I like how Robert Hardy gave him a very distinct manner of talking and behaving.  He was more eccentric than forbidding.

This adaptation added a character who was a bit strange–General Tilney’s friend from France and her young servant.  If you watch the movie, you’ll see exactly what I mean about her being like a neon light stuck in a film about table lamps.  You just want to say, ‘Huh?’

The look of the movie was alright, but there were a few things that were off.  Look closely at the ball scenes–there is a profusion of tall feathers.  I think it was a little overboard.  You can also see the 80’s style enter into some of the hairstyles and clothing.  And please don’t get me started on the cheesy 80’s music.  Oh Mylanta–saxophone music and mermaid singing!  Are you kidding me?

The beginning of the film is rather strange–starting with Catherine’s daydream of a Frankenstein-like villain preying on a young, helpless heroine.  Catherine’s dreams continue throughout the movie, changing as she meets new characters.  They are melodramatic and feed right into her overexcited imagination, which has been fueled by sensational gothic novels.  The end of the film is not quite to my liking.  I take issue with Henry and Catherine having a make out fest before he has even proposed to her.  Not realistic at all.

In closing, I don’t recommend this film to anyone.  View it at your own risk and be prepared to laugh heartily or groan as appropriate.

I’m curious now to get my hands on an authentic gothic novel to see if they are really that sensational.  Let me know if you have any recommendations!

Possible Objections:

  • The d-word is said several times.
  • Mrs. Allen is shown sewing through her fingers in one of Catherine’s dreams.

Rated: NR

Rating: 1 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Emma – TV Mini-Series 1972

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It took me two nights to finish the last Emma movie in the stack.  It stars Doran Godwin as Emma, and John Carson as Mr. Knightley.  This one is not for the faint of heart–it’s over 4 hours long!

Godwin was technically a decent Emma.  She recited all of her lines well and had great enunciation.  She also had the air of a lady about her.  However, there was an aloofness to her character which I thought didn’t fit Emma well.  The numerous instances where she was downright rude to her father were so out of character.  It also seemed like Godwin was a bit old to play Emma.  Carson was a respectable Mr. Knightley.  His behavior, language and manner all fit.  I just wish his character had been a little more charming, or something that would make the viewer care about him.  He also seemed a little old to me.

I don’t know why this should bother me, but I thought Harriet was much prettier than Emma.  For some reason I think that Emma should be quite pretty.  Emma’s sister was downright annoying–there really is no nice way to put it.  Her voice was grating and I couldn’t take her character seriously.  In fact, there were several characters who just didn’t seem to fit their intended role, including Mrs. Weston and Frank Churchill.  Jane Fairfax was quite an enigma.  Most of the time she seemed to fit, but there were a few instances when she had major emotional outbursts that were mystifying and ridiculous.  Jane’s piano playing and singing were subpar, as well.  I suspect that some of these acting issues stemmed from the use of stage actors who were perhaps unused to acting for TV.

Mr. Woodhouse was an interesting character in this version.  He was quite active and sprightly, though worrying about everybody’s health all the while.  Something that I thought didn’t fit is that he was largely ignored by Emma and Mr. Knightley.  That simply isn’t true to the book at all.

The costumes were alright, though some looked chintzy.  There were a few frocks trimmed with white feather boas that caused me some consternation.

The overall plot of the story was fairly faithful to the book, with only a few scenes left out or changed.  The dialogue was also very similar to the book, though I did notice some additions.

Probably the biggest letdown was the scene in which Mr. Knightley declares his love to Emma.  It was so devoid of real emotion that he could have been talking about what he had eaten for dinner that day.

So, I would not recommend this version unless you are one of the most stalwart Jane Austen fans on the planet.  You’ll be bored.  😦

Rated: NR

Rating: 1 Star

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

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Jane Eyre – Movie 1973

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I never thought I’d be so glad to be done watching Jane Eyre (though I discovered that there is still one version I haven’t seen yet). Last night I finished the version that stars Sorcha Cusack as Jane, and Michael Jayston as Mr. Rochester.

The film quality is very good, especially when you consider how old it is.  There was something amiss in the look of the movie, however.  The 70’s intruded in clothing and hairstyles, and even some props.  In one of the scenes at Lowood, all of the girls are distinctly seen wearing dresses with long zippers down the back.  In the pajama scene when Rochester’s guests assemble in the hall because of the nighttime scream, the 1970’s take over.  The women’s robes are all shiny fabric and gauzy necklines.

The dialogue is mostly true to the book, however, there were a few parts that were added or changed.  If you’re looking for an adaptation that is most like the book, this would be the movie for you.  It is very long and hits on all the major points of the book, sticking quite faithfully to the original plot.

The characters were mostly well done.  Adele was charming and likable, and her accent was believable.  Rochester was surly, impatient, and commanding.  Jayston did a great job in his role as Rochester, and it was easy to see his interest in Jane throughout.  Cusack was a fairly good Jane, but I felt there was something lacking in her performance.  Maybe it was a flatness in expressing emotion at times.  For some reason, I was particularly gratified by the kitchen scene between Jane and St. John’s servant, Hannah.

There were only a couple of things that really bugged me about this movie.  The first would be Jane’s somewhat shallow evidence of her attachment to Mr. Rochester.  Nothing in her performance really made me believe that she felt strongly about him.  The second thing is very trivial.  For some reason I couldn’t take my eyes off of Sorcha’s eyebrows.  You’ll know what I’m talking about if you watch the movie.  It was a distraction to me.

Rated: NR

Rating: 3 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

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Emma – TV Mini-Series 2009

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Wouldn’t you know it, I watched another version of Emma?  This one stars Romola Garai as Emma, and Jonny Lee Miller as Mr. Knightley.

Garai was a superb Emma!  She was self-assured, lively, full of wit, charming, and knew how to get her way, as only Emma could.  Miller was a very good Knightley.  He was mature, thoughtful, warm, and genuinely concerned for the welfare of Emma and her father.  In relation to Emma, Miller acts like a concerned older brother for much of the movie.

This movie had some very strong supporting characters.  Mr. Woodhouse’s character was developed more than even the book does.  We are shown the reason for his overwhelming concerns for the health of his family and friends.  I also like how they added depth to Miss Bates’ character.  Though she prattles, she is delicate and thoughtful.  The suffering of both herself and her mother are shown, though subtly.  Jane Fairfax is very likable in this adaptation, in my opinion.  She is more warm and open, and enjoys a healthier relationship with Emma than in other versions (though opposed to the book itself).  Mr. Elton is humorous in his affected gallantry.  Miss Taylor/Mrs. Weston is wonderful in her ease and familiarity.  Okay, I’ll stop now.  I don’t really need to comment on every character, do I?

The overall look of the movie was fantastic–really nice scenery, furnishings, and costuming!  There were some dialogue changes, but I think they were meant to update the story a bit for modern audiences.  I noticed that in this version there is much more interaction between Emma and Mr. Knightley than in other versions.  I’m sure this is made easier because of the extended length of it.  The dance scene was nice and lively–much more spirited than generally seen in movies depicting this time period. The final thing I’d like to comment on is the believability of the relationships between the different characters.  It is easy to imagine their relationships and attachments to be real.  I love that in a good movie!

In case you couldn’t tell, this is my favorite version of Emma.  I would suggest it to all Jane Austen fans and those who enjoy a good romantic story.  Happy viewing!

Rated: NR

Rating: 5 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

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Jane Eyre – Movie 1970

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I watched yet another adaptation of Jane Eyre last night.  I promise I’m getting close to the end of them!  This one stars Susannah York as Jane, and George C. Scott as Mr. Rochester.

Strangely, I thought that both York and Scott were a smidgen too old to be cast as Jane and Rochester.  She looks like she might be in her late 20’s or early 30’s.  He looks like he’s approaching his senior years.  At least it wasn’t a nineteen-year-old cast with a senior citizen.  That would have been even more unbelievable.  York was an okay Jane.  She was definitely reserved and seemed to operate on a different plane from other people.  There wasn’t much warmth or attachment that came through in her performance, though.  Scott was very abrupt and at times startling as Rochester (i.e. when he sends the glass flying off the table).  I appreciate his alternative take on Rochester’s character, even if it’s not how I would prefer it be played.  Overall, I didn’t emotionally connect much with Jane and Rochester.

Mrs. Fairfax was quite friendly and cheerful.  Adele wasn’t very remarkable.  Blanche was also too old and was not pretty (as is specifically stated in the book).  One pleasant surprise was that Ian Bannen played St. John Rivers (Waking Ned Devine).

Thornfield was old-fashioned, but not period.  The same can be said for the costuming.

There were dialogue changes, but I’m really getting used to that by now.  Also, the copy that I watched was missing clips of film in certain places.  I’m not sure what the deal was there, but it was too bad.

As far as the story itself goes, Lowood got a fairly long treatment.  It was a sinister place and really made you feel sorry for the girls there.  They did make up the part about Burns standing outside in the rain as punishment.  I noticed that there were several plot changes and things that were completely left out this adaptation.  Considering the length of the movie, however, I think they did an admirable job of telling a complicated story in a shortened timeframe, while staying true to the spirit of the book.  The ending was very sweet, though a little lacking in authentic emotion.

This was another version of Jane Eyre that I’m glad I watched once, but will not need to revisit again.  Check it out if you’re an Eyre aficionado!

Rated: NR

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

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Emma – Movie 1996

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I watched another adaptation of Emma last night.  This one stars Kate Beckinsale as Emma, and Mark Strong as Mr. Knightley.

Emma comes across as conniving and underhand in her dealings with others.  She’s also thoughtless and unfeeling in how she treats Harriet.  Mr. Knightley is a correct gentleman, but a little lacking in friendliness and warmth.  He seems to be more of a taciturn and stormy character.  I’m not crazy about how these two characters were portrayed in this movie, but this may have been the director’s vision for them.

Frank Churchill does an excellent job of coming across as a playboy–charming and completely insincere.  I really like how John Knightley was portrayed in this film.  His dry wit and sarcasm come through loud and clear in the few scenes in which he takes part.  Mr. Woodhouse was also played excellently.

There were a couple of unique things in this version that I appreciated.  The beginning and ending of the movie are tied together by the machinations of poultry thieves!  It was also kind of fun to see a series of Emma’s daydreams about various people marrying, with the characters frequently changing.

The one thing that weirded me out was when Mr. Knightley was talking about holding Emma as a baby.  That’s just creepy when you think about it.

I enjoyed this movie, but it’s not my favorite adaptation of Emma.  I had a hard time connecting with Emma, which makes it hard to really enter into the story.  For me personally, her character wasn’t likable enough.  Because she has some major character flaws, there has to be something redeeming in her character to make me care about her.  That’s where I think the movie fell short.

Check it out if you are a Jane Austen fan or like a good romantic movie.  It’s probably a one-time view for me.

Rated: NR

Rating: 3 1/2 Stars

 

Until next time…

Lori

 

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Emma – Movie 1996

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Taking a break from Jane Eyre last night, I watched Emma.  This version stars Gwyneth Paltrow as Emma, and Jeremy Northam as Mr. Knightley.

I think Paltrow did a great job as Emma.  She was sufficiently self-assured, snobby, impetuous, and conniving.  At times her emotions seemed a little shallow, but it wasn’t awful.  Although Northam wasn’t present as much as I would have liked to have seen him, he was an excellent Mr. Knightley.  He is handsome, thoughtful and shows affection and concern for others.  Basically, he’s a guy that any woman would want as her own.  😉

The supporting characters were also great, adding a richness to the story.  Miss Bates, Harriet, Mrs. Weston, and Mr. and Mrs. Elton were all wonderful.

The movie follows the general storyline of the book, keeping all of the major events the same.  I’d say it’s a very good representation of the book.  They did, however, change a good bit of dialogue, making it seem more updated.  For me personally, it wasn’t a big issue.

This adaptation has a very professional overall look.  I’m not surprised by that, but after seeing some movies recently that looked less than professional, I appreciated the polish on this one.  Another thing that I liked was that many of the shots were set up in unique ways, some adding humor to the situation, such as when Mr. Elton sits between Emma and Mr. Knightley to talk about Harriet’s sore throat.

The proposal scene between Emma and Mr. Knightley was very good.  It started out awkward, then moved into an interview that was driven by care and friendship.  I think that’s what is so satisfying about the relationship between Knightley and Emma–it is based on mutual affection and friendship which has spanned years.  It’s lasting and based on a thorough knowledge of the other person.

I would highly suggest this movie to all the ladies out there!

Possible Objections:

  1. In the gypsy scene the d-word is used a couple of times.

Rated: PG

Rating: 4 1/2 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER EMMA POSTS:

Jane Eyre – Movie 1997

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Here’s yet another Jane Eyre movie that I watched.  Can you believe it?  When I started this, I had no idea there were so many Jane Eyre movie adaptations.

In this version Jane is played by Samantha Morton, and Mr. Rochester by Ciaran Hinds.  Morton does look quite plain in the movie, but I think she’s almost a little too pretty to play Jane.  Hinds has a physique and appearance that could easily be Rochester’s.

Something unique about this adaptation is how they portray Rochester’s relationship with Adele.  In this one he is affectionate towards her instead of being surly and gruff.  I also like how Rochester has a wry sense of humor.  It adds an interesting facet to his personality.

I noticed that Jane is much more besot with Mr. Rochester than in other versions.  This doesn’t seem to be quite true to the book, in which Rochester is the one who is initially love struck and pining for Jane.

There were only a few things that I didn’t care for in this adaptation.  The dialogue was changed quite a bit.  To me, that’s a no-no.  I see no reason to change the conversation between Rochester and Jane because that is what adds sparkle to the classic story.  Also, some plot elements of the story were changed a bit.  Rochester’s rant when Jane decides to leave is a little over the top.  I also thought the part with St. John Rivers was rather weak.

So…while this isn’t the worst adaptation I’ve seen, it isn’t the best either.  It’s just sort of meh.  If you’re a Jane Eyre fan watch it once, but that will probably be enough.

Rated: NR

Rating: 3 Stars

Until next time…

Lori

OTHER JANE EYRE POSTS: