on August 18, 2008
I was and am a fan of the 1995 version with Emma Thompson, but this one is even better. There is a freshness of language here that is slightly more modern but still is completely true to the spirit of the novel. And this version misses nothing from the book - the duel between Brandon and Willoughby, the awful meeting with Mrs. Ferrars, the existence of Lady Middleton and her children, the elder Miss Steele - it's all here! Things only referred to in the '95 version (Edward standing by Lucy when he's cast off without a penny for ex.} are played out and meshed beautifully with all the action going forward. I found myself really feeling things between the characters - the lovely relationship between all the Dashwood sisters and their mother, the almost instant sympathy of feeling between Edward and Elinor, the regard Colonel Brandon feels for Marianne, the motivating forces behind John Dashwood and his wife and her mother....it was all presented in a way where you really cared what was going to happen. I have 3 versions of this DVD (the one with Irene Richard being the oldest) and while they are all enjoyable and worthwhile, this one is my favourite.
Like many others I am a huge fan of the 1995 version with Emma Thompson and Kate Winslet, but I've always loved the original book and I was intrigued by a new version. This version was very well done and did not disappoint. The scenery is gorgeous and the cast was overall pretty fantastic. Most of the cast I thought was as good as or better than the previous version, with only a few exceptions.
What was really nice about this version was that it covered in more detail and more faithfully some areas of the book that were altered or cropped out of the 1995 Hollywood version for time constraints (like anything with Mrs. Ferrars and Sir John's wife and kids). That said, it did have some alterations and minor additions of its own (some I liked, some I was iffy about) but overall came out feeling a little more like the book. If you could mush the previous version and this version together, you'd have the ultimate Sense and Sensibility, with nothing left wanting.
Cast-wise, think I enjoyed the Dashwood sisters a little more in this one because they were more age appropriate. While Emma Thompson did a wonderful job as Elinor in the previous version, she was much too old for the part and seemed closer to 40 than 20. In this one, Hattie Morahan pulls off Elinor wonderfully, but she is much more believable in age and therefore I have a hard time remembering Emma Thompson when I watch this. Kate Winslet and Charity Wakefield are equally good Mariannes.
The only real casting disappointments were Willoughby (he was creepy rather than charming and dashing) and Colonel Brandon (David Morrissey is a fine actor but just can't touch Alan Rickman's previous performance). Everyone else felt fresh in the roles and I didn't have much trouble accepting them as another interpretation of the characters.
If you love Jane Austen, and if you enjoyed the prior version, this one is an excellent addition to your video library. Well worth watching more than once. I have a really hard time deciding which one to watch now when I'm in the mood for a little Sense and Sensibility.
on May 29, 2008
I enjoyed this version of Sense and Sensibility far more than the 1995 version with Emma Thompson (as much as I love Emma Thompson).
It moved at a slower pace, allowing the watcher to become more familiar with the characters. The scenery was beautiful and the casting was excellent. I am not familiar with the majority of the cast, but they all did a wonderful job.
For those who are looking for a clean wholesome movie to purchase, I recommend this movie. There is a short love scene at the very beginning, but that is all :-)
The 1995 version is also worth watching too!
on April 7, 2009
This version of Sense andd Sensibility is more accurate to the novel, although I found that is was more dramatic that it ought to have been. The quality of the picture was excellent. Although Emma Thompson took some liberties to the 1995 version, I think it capture the essence of the novel : humor, wit and, of course, love. Although this version is not my favorite version, it is still very good.
Persuasion, was in one word: wonderful. I was pretty impressed with the casting. This version to Persuasion by far my favorite!
The extra tv movie:Miss Austen Regrets was very interesting as well. I think for the quality and price, this is box set that any Jane Austen fan would love!
on October 21, 2009
I'm still waiting for the perfect adaptation of Sense and Sensibility. This one almost makes it ... but not quite.
While it is fairly true to Jane Austen's original story, it's a decidedly modern interpretation and there have been a lot of liberties taken with the characters and the dialogue. This isn't necessarily a bad thing, and does allow greater acceptance by modern audiences, but if you want a version that's faithful to the book, this isn't it.
I found Hattie Morahan and Charity Wakefield, as Elinor and Marianne Dashwood, both believable and faithful to the original characters. In particular, I liked the way they handled the differing outlooks, different temperaments and completely different appearances without ever seeming to be other than sisters. You could believe that they might be related. The youngest sister, Margaret, was cute and funny but not at all similar to the original -- which my teenaged daughters found highly amusing, but which I found rather jarring because you know Jane Austen would never have written a character like that. If that doesn't bother you, then you don't have to worry.
The male leads were more of a mixed bag. Dan Stevens is charming, kind and wonderfully good-looking as Edward Ferrars -- which is fine if you don't mind that Jane Austen wrote him as shy, awkward and diffident. But he's very nice to look at and did portray the honourable gentleman in a cleft stick of his own making very well. However, I couldn't believe Domenic Cooper as the dashing, romantic but ultimately selfish Willoughby at all. For a start, he looks like the kind of person you really don't want to meet on a dark night in the sleazy part of town -- drug dealer, yes; Byron-esque hero, no. Worse, Andrew Davies (who handled the screenplay for "Pride and Prejudice" so deftly) utterly trashed Willoughby's final scene. Instead of admitting his dastardly conduct with true repentance and traces of his former charm (and finding a few mitigating circumstances to boot, so he's certainly in error but not an utter swine), poor Cooper whines about his sad state in having to marry a rich but shrewish wife in order to keep up his expensive lifestyle. You're left with no liking and absolutely no sympathy for him at all.
However, the real shining star of this version is David Morrissey's brilliant rendition of Colonel Brandon, and Andrew Davies's scriptwriting that made it possible. Morrissey plays the tragic, wronged hero without descending into bathos or banality, he's reserved without being stuffy and he's eminently likeable. You bleed for his heartbreak over Marianne, his lost love and his niece's ruined life without him ever saying a word or betraying more than a flicker of expression. More than that, he manages to get around what I have always thought was the one (dare I say it) huge glaring flaw in Jane Austen's story -- i.e. that Marianne goes from undying devotion to Willoughby to marriage with Brandon in about five pages, despite all her previous protestations of constancy and apparently entirely because her mother and sister think she ought to. In this version, Marianne retains her romantic outlook but comes to focus it on Brandon instead. In the sentence Austen should have written and didn't, Marianne says, "He kept faithful to his first love even after she had been torn away from him -- even after she was dead. He is the true romantic, I think." Davies adds plausibility to their increasing attraction in a couple of superb little vignettes. We watch Brandon fly a falcon (actually a red kite) from the glove, see the bird fly free and then return to his hand (oh the symbolism!) -- then he turns to the watching Marianne and says, quietly, "Come." And how could she not? For someone who *isn't* an obviously sexy male lead, he's pretty damn irresistable!
Comparisons with the 1995 Ang Lee version are almost unavoidable. Although the 2008 version is by no means perfect, I like it much better, partly for the increased time you have to play with in a miniseries (where a 2-hour movie can't hope to cover the plot in any depth), partly for the oft-touted age discrepancy between Emma Thompson and Austen's Elinor, but mostly because I really disliked the overly stuffy Alan Rickman as Brandon. (For me, he's saddled with the baggage of too many villainous roles and I was overcome with urgent desire to yell, Don't trust him, Marianne! He murdered Dumbledore!)
There's still room for the definitive version of Sense and Sensibility. But if someone else does take a crack at it, I hope they'll learn from Davies' screenplay and Morrissey's portrayal of Brandon.
on July 9, 2008
Of all of the DVD versions of Sense and Sensibility, I would have to say that this is my favorite. The casting feels closest to what was in my minds' eye upon reading the story, the settings are delicious, the costuming wonderful and the scripting well crafted. The cast, without exception, bring the characters to life. As to Miss Austen Regrets, It is a wonderfully imagined portrayal of the Authoress's life. My favorite scene was the Vicar expoundning his would-be sermon whilst facing the sea. Too amusing!
BBC has done it again. Two fabulous movies in one collection. Jane Austin's books, Sense and Sensibility and Persuasion are wonderfully brought to the screen through gifted screen writers and music writers. Good insight into the former British class system in both stories, which will have you cheering for the underdogs and scorning the proud and pompous. You'll appreciate the beautiful English countryside photography and marvel at the heritage buildings still standing today. Both are thoroughly entertaining and worth buying. The music in Sense and Sensibility is absolutely beautiful, always expressing what's happening in the story and drawing us into the emotional experiences of the characters.
on May 17, 2009
These productions have good production values, casting, performances, etc., but I must give the DVD set one star less for the video being less than perfect, as seems to be the case for a lot of BBC DVDs. For example, when the video is paused, one can see horizontal lines in objects which were moving when the video was in motion. Why can't productions as recent as these have video quality as good as something such as "North and South", another BBC production, has?