Tuesday, February 19, 2008

Mansfield Park (2008)

I've gotten a bit behind on my blog again and on my TV viewing. The DVR is getting loaded up with shows again! I've been a bit busy with work and travels lately.

I watched the new Mansfield Park from Masterpiece last week and in general, liked it. Mansfield Park is not one of my favorite Jane Austen novels and it has proved difficult to transfer to the big screen in the past and there were still many problems with this version.

Mansfield Park tells the story of Fanny Price, a poor young girl that goes to live with her rich relatives at you guessed it, Mansfield Park. She is a good and faithtful young woman that falls in love with her cousin Edmund. Her goodness is tried upon the arrival of Mary and Henry Crawford. Edmund falls for Mary while Henry tries to woe Fanny. Will true love prevail?

I guess my first problem with the new production was Fanny herself. I love Billie Piper from the Doctor Who series, but she seemed sadly miscast in this production. I especially hated how she kept her "Billie Piper" hairdo instead of having hairstyles that would have been worn in that time period. She spent the entire movie standing around and looking sad and not really doing much. She was rather dull - and Mary Crawford was much more exciting. This new production was much too short to do such a long novel justice. Key plot points were cut from the movie making it as a whole lack the substance and character development it needed. For me, Henry Crawford redeems himself when he woes Fanny as she visits her poor parents and still wants to marry Fanny. That made me like him and makes it all the more shocking when he *PLOT SPOILER* runs off with Maria. This entire episode was not in this movie.

While this version of Mansfield Park is much better than the long, dull 1980's version, I liked it less than the 1999 version - although the 1999 version is far from perfect and annoyed me in other ways. Maybe some day they'll get this movie right. Until then, I'll enjoy watching the different versions.

1 comment:

  1. Hmm...your take on this film is so interesting! I really liked this version, and not so much the 1999 film - so we're opposite each other in tastes. I've never seen the Dr. Who series...so maybe that's a factor? Anyway, great review - it's fun to see the 'other side' of the coin!