Sunday, May 15, 2016

Pride & Prejudice 2005 and 1995: MY Opinions

Ahem. And now, dear readers, I come to one of the most conflicted subjects from around the internet: Pride & Prejudice.

To begin, I would like to say that I like the 1995 film version best of all. But, I don't think that the 2005 (Keira Knightly) version is entirely bad, it just has some issues... with accuracy, and that sort of thing.
So this is a little post I wanted to do to share my opinion on the movies. Perhaps you will agree with me, perhaps you won't.
Thus I begin.

I started the whole thing by reading the book, and found that Jane Austen is a great story-teller. The only problem I find with any of her books is that it takes me so long to get through one. Even though they aren't super long (Like Dicken's Bleak House!), they are written in such a way that I have to be in the right mood to read them, or else I just don't absorb it. And even though the chapters aren't very long, it still takes me awhile to get through them.
British people talked weird in those days, let's just say that. Elegant, sure, but weird. Anyways, I eventually got through P&P, and I really enjoyed it.

I saw the 2005 one first. We found it for $5 online, so we just went ahead and bought it and watched it. And then we rented the 1995 one, because the 2005 version sort of left a void in my expectations, and I heard it was better.

I couldn't decide how to write this post, I wondered if I should just do a whole review on each movie, but that sounded kind of boring. So, here is what I'm going to do. I shall name a few of the biggest things in each of the movies (like characters and events), and tell what I think from each movie. There. Now you know what to expect, including looong descriptions. I hope you can bear it.
BTW, if you haven't seen the movies or read the book, I wouldn't recommend reading this, as this is NOT a review, and it would probably be hard for you to compare your own sentiments with mine if you're not familiar with the story. Just throwing that out there.

Elizabeth Bennet:
1995: I think we can all agree, Jennefer Ehle is perfect as Elizabeth Bennet. She pulls off the sweet yet wise element of her character from straight out of the book. Mrs.  Bennet claims that Jane is the prettiest in the family, but I completely disagree with her and would venture to say that Elizabeth is definitely the prettiest of them all.

2005: There's no doubt of Keira Knightly's acting ability. She definitely pulled of that cute/fun side of Elizabeth Bennet. I was surprised, however, to find her not as wise as the Elizabeth was in the book. True, Elizabeth is supposed to be prejudiced, and misunderstanding, but Keira's Lizzy just seemed a little more... not stupid, exactly, but almost naive. She also looked like a ragamuffin a lot of the time, which is an interesting touch, I suppose, but unlike how I imagined her in the book.

Mr. Darcy:
1995: Ahh, everyone's in love with Mr. Darcy, and I agree with the rest of the world when I say that Colin Firth definitely did the best job being this proud Englishman. The role actually made him a popular actor, and anyone can see why. He's quiet, has a deep attractive British voice, and he's handsome. That's pretty much everything you need in a Darcy. He also did a good job being proud. When I watched this version the second time around, I noticed how often he got up and looked out the window whenever he was embarrassed or shy. It's something I missed the first time. *shrugs*

I like windows too, buddy.

2005: I'll just be brutally honest and clear about this: I don't really like Matthew McFadyen as Darcy. I don't HATE the man, he just doesn't do a single thing for me. I didn't find him very handsome, and he talks too fast. WHY DOES HE TALK SO FAST. TELL ME THAT. I could barely process what was happening during several scenes, because he just talks so fast and low and... British-in-a-non-attractive-way. I think they tried to make him look all sexy and manly, but to me he just ended up disgusting. For the record: I hate THIS picture.

Jane Bennet:
 1995: I know it is strange, but Jane Bennet is one of the only things I didn't care for in the older version. I think Susana Harker did an ok job as Jane, I just didn't find her very pretty. She had a small head and a long neck, but she did had nice eyes, and her voice was nice and sweet, just like Jane is supposed to be.

2005:On the other end of the spectrum, I absolutely love Rosamund Pike as Jane in 2005. She's so sweet and pretty, and perfect for the part. She's got a real nice friendly face, and she looks and talks and behaves almost exactly like I imagined her in the book. If we could just pluck her out of 2005, and stick her into 1995, everything would be perfect and dreamy, don't you think?

There. 1995 Jane gets no pictures, and 2005 gets two, what do you think of that? Mwuahahha.

Mr Bingley:
1995: To be honest, Mr. Bingley was never among my favorite characters. He's perfect for Jane's husband, of course, but besides that he's just too perfect. Always too happy, not much happens with him. 
Usually the kind of character who is most loved by the reader is the one who has problems. I'm not saying Jane Austen failed with Bingley just because I don't like him, he isn't even supposed to be the main character, so it's all right. 
Anyways, 1995 did a better job out of the two. He actually looks like someone I know.

2005:As for THIS Mr. Bingley...
 *cough* Really, people? Really?

Moving on.

Mr. & Mrs. Bennet:
1995: Ok, let me just say I looooove Mr. and Mrs. Bennet in 1995! Mrs. Bennet is HILARIOUS. I mean, really. She did a great job complaining and criticizing people, and being the matchmaking mother that she is. I think Mr. Bennet was great too, and gave me much reason to like him. After all, he's the only one who seems to have any sense in the Bennet family, besides Jane and Elizabeth. I always liked his tender relationship with Lizzy. 

2005: Meh. This is another shrug moment for me. Mrs. Bennet was ok in 2005, but not GREAT. She wasn't hilarious, and she didn't have a lot of screen time. Mr. Bennet was ok too, but I didn't like his hair, and he didn't seem to have AS MUCH sense as the Mr. Bennet in 1995.
 I feel like the entire 2005 version of Pride & Prejudice would be better all around if they just hadn't tried to mush everything into 2 hours. One reason I think that the older 1995 series is better is because characters actually have significant TIME on screen to make us love them. In the movie, we're pretty much rushed along, and there's no time for us to care about anyone. :(

There now. I think that covers most of the characters. Now onto everything else!

Darcy's First Proposal:
1995: To be honest, neither film version captured exactly what I had imagined in the book during this scene. But, that's no matter. 1995 was the most accurate, all the same. I do think that Darcy showed feelings LESS in this version than in 2005. But, this scene is one of my favorites in the series, and I just think their whole discussion is quite interesting.

That wallpaper tho. XD

2005: *sigh*. You're going off the trail again, 2005! You're not being very much like the book, and not everyone likes that! Shame, shame, shame! Seriously though, if you're the type of person who likes the mushy, romance-y, young-adult-romance-type scenes, then you'll probably love this one. I, for one, think it's entirely unconventional. What are the chances that two people walk through the rain, and take shelter under a pavilion thingy, and that those two people just happen to be crossed in love, "and so the stage is set for a dramatic argument in the rain..." It just seems almost cheesy to me. 
Why should Darcy all of a sudden exclaim his feeling for Elizabeth out of the blue? In the 1995 version, and in the book, Mr. Darcy went to visit Elizabeth ON PURPOSE to express his feelings. But in the '05 movie, they just HAPPEN upon each other, and Darcy just HAPPENS to tell his true feelings then and there. What if that chance had never come? Do you see what I'm saying? I just found the whole thing weird. :P
Plus Keira Knightley's eye make-up drove me crazy in that scene. PEOPLE DIDN'T WEAR EYELINER LIKE THAT IN THOSE DAYS DON'T YOU GET IT?!?!

FYI, on a separate note, my favorite (failed) proposal scene EVER in ANY FILM that I've seen up until now is from North & South, BBC. :
The Balls and Dances:
1995: Ok, I like what happens during the balls in 1995. The first ball, when Mr. Darcy is first introduced to us all, and the ball at Netherfield when the Bennet girls are embarrassing the daylights out of Jane and Elizabeth, it's all very well done. The dance between Darcy and Elizabeth was certainly intriguing, too, and another one of my favorite moments. I also like how you heard more of people's conversations during these dances. In 2005, the balls went by so quickly, you could hardly have the time to get to know people by what they are saying to each other. You know what I mean?

What nice eyes, eh Darcy? *snicker*

2005: Due to modern lighting and cinematography, I do think the balls are a bit prettier in the movie version, even if they are so short. I don't really like the first ball, when Bingley and Darcy first come in, because it looks like a bunch of peasants dancing around. I realize that that might be more accurate historically, but I didn't like it very much. I also like it when there aren't so many people. Besides, why would people like Darcy and Bingley show up at a crowded, scummy place like that anyways? Aren't they supposed to be rich people who wouldn't dare rub elbows with the lower class?

"I hear such different accounts of you which puzzle me exceedingly."

1995: The Bennet Household in the 1995 version is exactly like I imagined it in the book, which gave me great pleasure in watching it. The house is not super fancy, but it's not a barnyard, either. It's just nice. The Bennets aren't supposed to be peasants on the streets, even if they are lower classed people.

2005: On the other hand, I liked nothing about Longbourn in the newer version. It's a pig pen. I'm not sure why the makers of the movie found it necessary to make it a junk heap. I don't know, it just wasn't like I imagined it at all.

Couch: Wrong.
Windows: Wrong.
Blue walls: Wrong, wrong, all wrong.

I looooooved reading about Pemberly in the book. I loved it when Elizabeth goes to see Pemberly, and how she is embarrassed, but she finds that Darcy isn't quite what she imagined him to be. This is an important part in the story, because it is when Elizabeth's opinion of Darcy begins to improve, and THAT'S important.
1995: The Pemberly scens are done so well in this version. I love how Elizabeth slowly walks around the rooms with her aunt (who I like better in this version too, by the way), and solemnly gazes at the vast and majestic glory of the man she rejected. This, my friends, is when the story gets good.

I really like that hat too.

2005: I must admit, the Pemberly scenes in this version aren't so very bad. Like everything in this movie, though, it's so short that we aren't given enough time to enjoy it. Like I mentioned with the balls, the filming and lighting is very good. And I feel like they did a good job with the locations. I love gold trimming in a mansion. I didn't, however, care for the scene when they were looking at all of the statues. That part just bugged me. :P I liked it better when they were in the hallways, or with Georgiana in her piano room (Parlor... I think that's called a parlor...). Which reminds me, I kind of like Georgiana in this version better. She plays piano better, and she's prettier. I like the brother/sister relationship she has with Darcy in both versions, though.

I just love all the Pemberly parts in all the versions and the book. :)

1995: I really think the dresses are cute in the 1995 version. A little too revealing at times, but cute. I especially like the white one that Elizabeth wears with the yellow-ish flowers all over it. Her pink dress is a favorite of mine also, and I think it looks the best on her.

2005: I think the costumes are definitely historically accurate in this movie. I wish they were nicer though. I mean, especially in the Bennet household, everyone pretty much dresses like a ragamuffin. I like a few of Lizzy's dresses, however. The green one is pretty nice on her, and I also like the cream striped dress that she wears when she is looking around Pemberly. Overall, the costumes aren't bad in either version.

1995: Meh. Ok. The music in this series is nothing special. 

2005: THIS is the section I've been waiting to write about! The 2005 version seems to have very little going for it, except THE MUSIC.
 THE MUSIC IS SO GOOD. It's sweet and touching and romantic and emotional and I just love it.
 *hugs soundrack*
I went to a wedding a few weeks ago, and they had a real live piano player, who played the soundtrack music from Pride & Prejudice 2005. After the ceremony I asked to see her music books, and there was the soundtrack sheet music, plain as day. I went home and promptly ordered my own book on Amazon. :) 
I'll tell you one thing, if I ever get married, whoever does piano is going to play two things for sure: This soundtrack, from Pride & Prejudice in 2005, and the soundtrack from Cinderella, 2015. And that's THAT.
Whoever is going to play piano at my wedding better be taking notes!
Seriously, even when we first watched the movie, the music struck me as the one completely perfect element in the story. I love picking out the notes on my own piano, but to imitate such perfect emotion and harmony and romantic soul in the music, I cannot. 
Yes, to be sure, 2005 WINS with the soundtrack. 

One last scene I must compare is the "Conclusion" scene. *clears throat*
1995: THIS PART IS JUST SO SWEET. Lizzy and Darcy finally set each other's mistakes, judgements, and rejections behind them, and it reminds us that all humans make mistakes, but it can turn out alright in the end if we're just not so picky with everyone. At this point, we're all thrilled that everything's cleared up between Lizzy and Darcy and we can take a deep breath and finally be happy, and this version set us up for that feeling really well.
This scene is not mushy or kiss-y or sexy, just like a CERTAIN OTHER VERSION I'm talking about. They don't even kiss, they wait till they're MARRIED, which makes me ecstatic, because you don't often see that happen in movies. Plus, this part is almost word-for-word from the book, and THAT'S something too.

"Dearest, loveliest Elizabeth."

2005: Okayyyyy the 2005 version of this scene is not-so-much-my-favorite. Honestly, the whole scene just annoyed me. First of all, it's a chance meeting again! Just like the proposal scene, they just HAPPENED upon each other, and what comes next drives the story along to the conclusion. That gives me the feeling that nothing ever happens in this movie except by chance, which is NOT a good feeling for me. 
The whole thing was mushy and weird and Darcy is disgusting with his shirt down (was I supposed to think he was handsome? Because I didn't find him that way...) and Lizzy's makeup is ONCE AGAIN unrealistic, and the fog looks completely fake.
Just look at it:
Weird and fake, fake and weird.
I kind of like this pic though. *shrug*
And So:
My overall opinion of the two movies is this: 1995 is the absolute best version you could ever hope for. But, 2005 isn't completely rotten. It has good points, truly. It's just not as accurate as some period drama fans would like it to be. Personally, I'm not bothered by a movie, any movie, being different from the book. I do have my limits, but I think that some movies can be more interesting if the story or the characters are played with a little bit. One needs to switch things up a bit occasionally, wouldn't you agree?

Here's a small conversation between my friend and me about the inaccuracy on Pinterest: 

Really cute and adorable, but not really accurate. Yes, I think that describes Pride & Prejudice 2005 pretty well. The question is, whether it bothers you or not.

I feel like perhaps the 2005 version would be the best choice between the two ONLY IF you didn't have a lot of time on your hands, and you just want to remember how the story goes. Like, if you didn't want to dedicate yourself to 6 hours of watching the 1995 version because you don't remember why Elizabeth loathes Mr Darcy, or something like that
If you think about it, 2005 isn't all that inaccurate with the overall plot, it's just not very accurate within certain scenes. Like, the last scene, when Darcy and Elizabeth go on their little walk. That definitely happens in the book, just in a different way. It's not like they changed things around so much that someone dies, or Elizabeth cusses, or Darcy is a thief, or something outlandish like that. The movie is not exactly poorly-written, I just feel like if the whole movie was SLOWED DOWN just a little, it would be much improved.
Basically, if you don't really mind inaccuracy in movies, and if you don't even think about the book AT ALL while you're watching it, and keep your mind completely open, 2005 is a fairly decent movie, as far as movies go in general.

Still, even if you consider the fact that 2005 CAN be a good movie, that doesn't mean that it IS, or that you should like it. I know some of you think it's TERRIBLE, and that's ok. These are only my opinions. Do you see what I'm saying?

I guess my final word is this: I own both versions, and like them both.
But the only version I LOVE, is Pride & Prejudice 1995, and I would say I have good reason to. :)

Goodbye, my lovely people. :)

 What do you think of the two versions?! I'd like to know!


  1. This pleased me muchly. :-) I agree with you on a LOT of things. :-) (As in, I like P&P95 much better.)

    Buuuut - the costumes are historically accurate in P&P05??? I personally don't think so. Did you see the ball gown Caroline Bingley wore at the Netherfield Ball? It had spaghetti straps. :-P (It really did look like her underwear.) And then there are SOO many people dressed in Georgian outfits; including about 90% of the ladies at the Meryton Assembly ball - AND including Lady Catherine, who would have definitely been able to afford the latest (as in Regency) outfits. So personally the costumes annoy me a LOT in P&P05. :-P

    Also, I LOVE the music in P&P95. LOVE. But yes, the music is P&P05 is gorgeous as well. (A bit boring sometimes though. In my opinion.)

    Loved this post!!!

    ~ Naomi

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I agree with you! Story and character wise I like P&P '95 (besides Jane: there's just something about Rosamund Pike that is flawless as Jane). Every time we finish it I want to start it all over again! It's just so good! But if you're looking for gorgeous cinematography and soundtrack, P&P '05 is better for you. There's just something about the sets, lighting, and camera movement that makes the movie so attractive.

  4. Wonderful post. I like the '05 version better, but I really like '95 also. I just like them in different ways.

  5. Oh, it's nice to find a fellow '95 lover who doesn't hate the '05 version. :) I waaaay prefer the old version, but I do agree that the Jane in the new one is perfect (however after a second watching I've grown to love the '95 Jane too.) The costume inaccuracies and something about Elizabeth's acting just bug me about the new one. (But I don't hate it, either. Like you said, one doesn't always have 6 hours.)
    Oh, but I do HATE the pajama scene — I mean, second proposal scene — in the new one. And all the eyeliner. But the soundtrack is to die for.
    And Colin Firth is vastly superior, of course. :)

    1. Thanks for your comment, Awdur! No, I don't HATE the '05 version, it's just... *sigh*... complicated. :)
      I have changed my opinion about the costumes in '05, I decided that they weren't very accurate as I had first thought. But anyways, YOU ARE SO RIGHT about the 'pajama scene', as you call it. It's not only inaccurate, but just cheesy and melodramatic as well, and quite disappointing for a climax. :P
      Hope you have a good day!


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