My love of all things Jane Austen is well-documented and thorough, so it should come as no surprise to you that I recently spent a Sunday watching the 5 hour 1995 Pride and Prejudice. Imagine my (non) surprise when this marathon viewing only fueled my urgency to watch the 2005 adaptation within the hour.
This is what I love about adaptations. The 1995 version will forever be my favorite because of its fidelity to the novel, its general humor and lightheartedness, and the Colin Firth-iness of it all, but I cannot deny that the passion and sweeping romantic splendor that Joe Wright infused into his adaptation gets to me, despite some of quibbles with it. For example, I become incensed when Charlotte Lucas lectures Lizzie about her plight in having to marry Mr. Collins and how upset she is because it zaps out every ounce of Austen’s commentary on that character, which is that women did that all the time back then and they were perfectly contented to do so. I am willing to recognize, however, that this would have worked against the passionate, romantic vibe that Wright and co. were setting for the film.
It is due to this example and several others, that, in the opinion of this humble reader and movie-goer, one novel can never have too many adaptations. As long as said adaptation is bringing something, anything, new to the table, it will always be valid. I find it fascinating to see what tones directors set or what story arcs the writers decide to focus on.
I get the argument that Hollywood can’t think up any new ideas anymore and I get that you may not want to pay money to see yet another story that you have seen before. But I don’t think I want to live in a world where the possibility of new Harry Potters doesn’t exist, nor one in which a perfect adaptation of my favorite Austen work, Persuasion, can be produced.
What are your thoughts on adaptation? Is enough, enough? Or do you feel as I do that the more the merrier?
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