I am a very big Jane Austen fan. My favorite JA novel is most definitely Pride and Prejudice. I first got introduced to P&P by my lovely mother sometime in early high school. My first introduction was the 1995 BBC 6 episode TV series of P&P with Jennifer Ehle and Colin Firth. And that started my life-long crush on Colin Firth, Colin Firth as Mr. Darcy, and Mr. Darcy. This novel included four interests of mine: a strong female lead, England, historical fiction, and romance. I am such a romantic at heart that I immediately fell in love with the story, and what could make it better? Oh that’s right, the story told with British accents.
After watching this version, my friend insisted I watch the 2005 movie version that is only 2 hours long. Right away I saw NO comparison between the two. The 1995 version was more accurate, entertaining, beautiful, and had better characters than the 2005 version. And here are my reasons why:
1. Colin Firth.
Need I say more? But compared to the other guy in 2005 version, forgot his name because I do not care enough, Colin is perfect. He exudes pride and love for Elizabeth in just one look. How did he do it? If I explain anymore, I might freak out too much. Must resist.
I read this in a review of the 2005 version’s Darcy, and I could not agree with it more, “DOES DARCY OWN A COMB”? Surely he would have some servant or helper that could have helped the poor guy out, I mean he has 10,000 a year at least! And the whole time he looks like a lost puppy. PULL YOURSELF TOGETHER MAN.
This is no contest. Obviously the 6 hour version is much more accurate and consistent with the novel than the condensed 2 hours 2005 version. They also considerably dumbed down the 2005 version. They talk in modern day and throw in a couple words that make it sound like the Regency era. And goodness, do they talk fast in the 2005 version. In the 1995 version, they can take their time in talking like A REAL CONVERSATION. It looks like they don’t even think about what they are saying in the 2005 version, they just have to get it out to fit it into the 2 hours.
And they made the 2005 so much a love story that they eliminated so much of the extra subplots that made the story so enjoyable. Like I said, I love romance, but that last scene in the 2005 P&P is SO overdone. Goodness, I might as well be watching, I don’t even know, it’s just the worst, gag me. I do wish 1995 had more than that carriage kiss, but you saw the love anyway by the way they talked, walked, and looked at each other, and that is love!
3. Miss Elizabeth Bennet
Truthfully, I don’t think I have ever liked Kiera Knightly in anything. But besides the point that I don’t like her acting, I don’t think she was the right fit. She was too scrawny and too pointy to be Lizzy. There is a sense of roundness to the character I never saw in her. Also, I don’t think she owned a comb either. Although Jennifer looked like she took a shower daily, at least she looked presentable, not like this shabby Lizzy in 2005.
I have heard people complaining that Lizzy in 1995 is “too womanly shaped”. What does that even mean? Yes, she is fuller than Kiera Knightly, but she is a woman, and women have curves. Jennifer did an exceptional job playing Lizzy. She definitely had those “fine eyes” that Darcy loves, and she could do every emotion with so much elegance that I do not see in Kiera’s performance.
4. Supporting Characters
Mr. Collins in the 1995 version is the definition of disgust. There is actually a guy in my class that has a striking resemblance to Mr. Collin’s character….maybe that’s why I despise him. Mr. Collins has the greasy hair, the clumsy manner, and has the upmost regard for Lady Catherine de Bourgh. I mean just look at this little grease ball. There is no point in even posting a picture of Mr. Collins in the 2005 version, no one compares.
Mr. and Mrs. Bennet
I have seen comparsions that state, “who cares about 1995’s Mr. Bennet, it’s Donald Sutherland in 2005’s”! Here is my response to that. HE’S NOT EVEN BRITISH! Didn’t even have the decency to respect that this is a BRITISH novel and you put a CANADIAN IN THERE? Sorry. I’m just thinking about how Jane Austen must have turned in her grave after this casting was made. Mr. Bennet in the 1995 is nothing too remarkable but he has the sternness and sassiness as he should. And he has precious dimples.
I have heard that Mrs. Bennet in the 1995 is over the top and does a caricature of the character. But isn’t that Mrs. Bennet’s character in general? She’s insane and wants her daughters to be happy and rich. I don’t even remember 2005’s Mrs. Bennet because it was un-rememberable.
Okay, okay, this is the only character I could really flip flop on who played a good Jane Bennet. I will admit Jane is not pretty in 1995’s. Jennifer is SO much prettier. But they did find a prettier Jane in the 2005. Both were sweet and caring, rather boring character in general anyway.
I’m too lazy to go through all the characters, but you get the gist. 1995 > 2005. 1995 DOMINATES 2005. 1995
If you haven’t seen this version. Drop what you’re doing and watch it now. It’ll be worth your time.
Lastly, I found this while looking through P&P pictures.