This post is part of the L.A.M.Blog-thon Chapter 3 regarding remakes.
There are lots of movies that have sequels that are really remakes (Hulk (2003) and The Incredible Hulk (2008)) and movies that are updated versions of previous movies (The Women (1939) and The Women (2008)). And successful or not (The Women 2008), sometimes stories do benefit from updating, and others are just such good stories that everyone should have a chance to see the actors from their generation recreate the vision. However, that requires holding up all the standards that the original used to make its mark. The version that bothers me most and actually prevents me watching the remake more than 3-4 minutes at a time is Pride and Prejudice. The BBC mini-series version is the gold standard for all costume dramas. Jennifer Ehle as Elizabeth Bennett and Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy have chemistry, charisma and created a believable tension that was actually resolved before they fall in love. The sets and costumes are impeccable, the characters traveling around England that looks like they're in Jane Austen's time. The pace of the film mirrors the writing and the details are perfect, with Mr. Collins moving from the pages into the slimy, sycophantic character we all know him to be. However, in remaking this into a feature film with Keira Knightly and Matthew Macfadyen in the lead roles. They're fine, though Macfadyen is so good at being the brooding Mr. Darcy that you never find a reason Elizabeth falls in love with him. The dialogue is trimmed from the original Austen texted, and occasionally diverging from her words to create new ones (less good ones!). But what bothers me are the details, the costumes are inconsistent, inappropriate and Keira Knightly always appears windblown and frumpy when all women of the period did was make sure they looked good. The movie exaggerates all the character traits - Elizabeth doesn't care about what people think of her, Mr. Darcy is super pompous, and Mrs. Bennett perfectly shrill. However, the people of Austen's time were more about understatement than exaggeration. It just doesn't represent the original work well, nor does it represent a good remake of the BBC version.
Here's a link to the best scene in the BBC version. They have it on YouTube, but won't let you embed it. And below is a scene from the Keira Knightly version. Just look at how different the costumes are put together.
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