If you haven't seen the new versions of Jane Austen's classic novels, then you should check out the Masterpiece Theatre website for the info. They have remade most of the novels. They play each Sunday on channel 7 at 8 p.m. This week is Mansfield Park. I have enjoyed both Persuasion and Northanger Abbey.
This is perhaps my favorite Austen novel. My overall impression of this version is that it was rushed. It was only an hour and half, which made much of the plot compressed. I enjoyed the characterization all in all, and I believe it emphasized different aspects of the story. The 1995 version is much more thorough and I still enjoy it, but this new version has some good points. Ann and Captain Wentworth seem much younger, which adds a different dynamic to the text--you don't believe they have really waited as long as they have. You get more out of Captain Wentworth's character development, which is good since he is quite dashing in this version. I do like that we see a little more passion from Ann, but she runs around a lot at the end and then it seems as though she is going to bite Wentworth's lip in the kiss. The entire kiss scene is awkward. But, I do enjoy the final scene. You would need to understand the story to really follow and enjoy this version.
I had never read or seen this, so I went in with no previous concept. I enjoyed this quite a bit. It was strange not to know who was who or what was what, but having read and seen many other Austen works it was easy to follow the pattern. I just had to figure out who the good guy was and who was the secretly evil guy. It doesn't take long to figure out, but it was delightful to try and superimpose other Austen patterns. I finally figured it out when the good guy said he enjoyed long walks in nature--that seems to be a good trait among good Austen men. I would have enjoyed more characterization and some more plot detail, again, this felt a bit rushed. It seems as though Austen has usually been done in a very elongated fashion (just think of the long Pride and Prejudice or Sense and Sensibility), so these new versions feel especially condensed.
This next week will be Mansfield Park. You can watch a clip on the website.
As I was looking through the website, I came across this page about the men of Austen. It is great and very humorous. I find it funny how they present the men as if on a dating site and they also calculate their wealth in modern currency. I think that is funny since most of the Austen women could care less about money. You can see who the all-time favorite Austen man is. My own vote came in second.