Thursday, December 18, 2014

Death Comes to Pemberley (2013)

Jane Austen meets murder mystery?  What.  Even.

Yeah, that sounds like it came straight from the realm of stuff-I-just-don't-mess-with.  But when I've seen so many period dramas that there isn't much New left, well... anything coming out set in the Regency period that doesn't seem completely horrible... I might be tempted to watch.

This one got me.  I actually watched it way back when it first came out in Britain because someone put it on YouTube (but got taken down shortly after that).  It actually reminded me a little bit of a Dickens movie set in Regency time, which in itself is interesting.  When it finally aired on PBS, I watched it again.

It's really better than I expected.  Granted, I didn't expect much at all.  But none of it was really a complete travesty, and most of the character representations didn't make me too mad.  There were a couple I was particularly displeased with, but we'll get to that.  To prevent myself from rambling, I shall attempt to make a structured outline. ;)

It's been a while since I've reviewed a movie.  Or written a 'normal' blog post at all.  So here we go.

The Synopsis
...pooh to synopses. Watch the trailer.  That's more interesting.

The Characters

Elizabeth Darcy

I kind of have mixed feelings about this portrayal... on one hand, Anna Maxwell Martin is a wonderful actress, and she laughs very well.  Which is an important Elizabethan trait.  Unfortunately she doesn't do it often enough, but I'm not sure whether to blame that on the overall mood of the story (I mean, this is a murder mystery, not a comedy) or just that they got Elizabeth wrong.  I think it's a little of both... and her looks don't suit at all, in my opinion.

Mr. Darcy
He kind of grows on me... a little.  I suppose he looks a little more like Mr. Darcy should than Elizabeth looks like Elizabeth should, but not by much.  I did think he was a bit too scowl-y and yell-ish... in a sequel to P&P, I would like to see Mr. Darcy be lightened up somewhat.  In his own home and not in society, he's supposed to be.  That was the point.  He had his good moments but I think they were outweighed by "Nope, that is not Mr. Darcy."  And how he acted towards Elizabeth some of the time... I didn't see it as faithful to the character at all.  BUT he almost made up for in an adorable apology scene later. ;) And there were some good bits besides that.  "You can say it now. My wife and I have no secrets from each other."  Also, the few times they showed him with his son, it was cute.

Georgiana Darcy

I liked Georgiana pretty well, actually.  She looked as Georgiana ought, I think... she was a little bit too much taller than Elizabeth, but I did like that she WAS taller since it says so in the book. (P&P, that is.  I haven't actually raed Death Comes to Pemberley.)  She made good expressions with her eyebrows. ;)  (See? She should play Lucie Manette. Haha.)  Since we don't really get to know Georgiana too well in P&P, I can't vouch for how accurate her character is... but there was nothing glaringly wrong with it.  Anyway, I liked her, and I liked that she and Elizabeth had a good, sisterly relationship.

George Wickham

Wickham was almost TOO good.  I'd say they cast him and wrote him very accurately.  He was charming and hate-able.  Some of the things he did made me so mad... but they did seem like things Wickham would realistically do, and I liked that they got that across (without any inappropriate scenes in that direction).  At the same time, even though I hated him, I didn't want him to get hanged for murder.  (In case you didn't watch the trailer, Captain Denny is killed and Wickham is the prime suspect.)  I didn't think he did it, for one thing, and even though I technically wouldn't really mind it if he died (cough), nobody should be put to death for a crime they didn't even commit.  And if he hanged for murder, it would be really bad for the Darcy reputation and a generally tragic thing.  They made it so you were rooting for him to be acquitted and hating him at the same time, which must not have been easy.

Lydia and Mr. Darcy
Lydia Wickham
Ugh, Lydia.  She and Wickham made a good pair, they did.  She was too convincing too.  So selfish and flighty and a drama queen without much real feeling.  Theatrically distressed, haha.  As the movie wears on, she does show some vulnerability that made me, against my will, feel a bit sorry for her.  And-- should I admit this-- the scene where she says her 'final farewells' to Wickham actually made me cry a little. *cough cough*  Doctor Who fans will be pleased to see Jenna Coleman... who, incidentally, I would like to see in more period drama.  She did a good job and I liked her looks.

Mr & Mrs Bennet

Meh. They were okay, but nothing striking.  I did like some of the lines they gave to Mrs. Bennet, though.  "We must try to remain positive, and hope at least that he died in a duel." *Lydia sobs* "It's such a NOBLE way to die!"  And it was fun to see John Dashwood/Uncle Frederick Dorrit as Mr. Bennet, heehee.  And I liked how he kind of camped out in Mr. Darcy's library. ;)

Colonel Fitzwilliam

Okay.  No.  They didn't... no.  Okay. So.
They changed Col. Fitzwilliam rather dreadfully.  Despite the storyline itself, he had COMPLETELY the wrong personality.  The real Col. Fitzwilliam is the one who laughed and joked with Elizabeth Bennet; he wasn't this glowering person who looked like he came out of Wuthering Heights. :P  And he was wayyyy too rough around the edges.  Less polished that Darcy and not really more equipped for society, I thought.
Anyway. I did not approve.

Mrs Reynolds

So, she would have been fine as a made-up character, but she wasn't anything like Mrs. Reynolds in the book.  She was way too young, for one thing.  And in P&P she just seemed a lot more... cheerful and talkative.  I did find it amusing how her brother's widow (I think) had a boarding school in Highbury, though.  Hee.  Heeheehee.  I see what they did there. ;)

Henry Alveston

This one WAS a completely made-up character, which I was fine with.  And I liked him pretty well.  He was a bit funny-looking, but I won't hold that against him. ;)  I liked how they made him a lawyer... that isn't very common in Regency stories I've seen/read, so it was interesting.  He was also somebody Col. Fitzwilliam accused of being a radical, but most of his opinions seemed pretty normal so it wasn't really annoying, and he wasn't all revolutionary about it.  And his romance with Georgiana was awfully cute. :D

Jane Bingley 
I definitely that Jane was more Jane than Lizzy was Lizzy, but she wasn't in very much of it.  I did like her-- she looked quite well as Jane.  And she and Lizzy have cute sisterly hugs. ;)  And by the bye, they completely ignored the existence of both Mary and Kitty, which I thought was odd.  (I don't think it was that way in the book this was based on.)  Jane Austen wrote about five sisters and not three because of reasons.  They should at least get a passing mention, haha.   And we know that Jane Austen intended both of them to get married, so they could reasonably have a follow-up.

Costumes, Scenery, Music

The costumes present were okay... costumes past annoyed me exceedingly because they were very obviously late 1700's.  Sigh.  GET IT RIGHT, PEOPLE.  Jane Austen started writing First Impressions in the 1790's, not Pride and Prejudice.  It was practically rewritten later.

The other thing about the costumes was that it seemed like Lizzy only had about three dresses and I don't think that was very accurate.  Haha.

Lady Catherine's clothes were also way too outdated... reminded me of P&P05.  Once again, Lady Catherine would keep up with the fashions because she cares about presenting herself importantly and is supposed to have "elegance of dress" according to Mr. Collins, and by comparison Lizzy's were too old and shabby.

The scenery was very pretty.  The woods around Pemberley... ahhhh.  I would love to go there. :D
I wasn't a fan of them using Chatsworth for Pemberley, though.  I don't think Jane Austen ever intended it.  Haven't you ever heard of authors combining fact with fiction?  Derbyshire was real, Pemberley was imagined.  The end. ;)

The music was okay some of the time and rather odd other times... this spooky-opera theme, for instance.  And though this isn't the soundtrack, one song when a few of them were dancing in the parlour (or whatever room it was) was one they used on P&P95.  I wonderrrrrr if that was a coincidence. ;)


There is one scene I skip in this, which fortunately I knew about ahead of time.  It's right after the adorable apology scene I mentioned earlier (involving Mr. Darcy with Georgiana and Elizabeth), and it's something that should be private, not shown to us. Ha. I don't think it gets explicit or anything, but you don't miss anything very important by skipping it.  When I was watching it on TV, I closed the doors to the TV cabinet during it and I did hear that Mr. Darcy was telling Elizabeth that somebody needs to tell Lydia about... something her husband did.  (You'll know about it by this point in the movie.)  Lizzy said that she'd tell her as it would be better to hear it from someone who cares.  That's basically all you need to know, and after that scene Darcy and Alveston are talking in the courtroom and there's nothing else to skip.

There is some swearing here and there, but only by the characters you don't like, haha.  And not worse than most period dramas.  Some of it's a bit gory for my taste (showing a wound up-close once, for instance, although the room was dimly-lighted-- I just looked away for a moment).  There are some adult subject matters and I wouldn't recommend this at all to younger viewers.

Other Thoughts

~I didn't mention her with the rest of the characters, but Mrs. Younge appears again in this story and it has a rather curious twist.  I'm not sure I like it because I seriously doubt it's what Jane Austen had in mind.  Plus, she seemed far too young for the character.  Seems to be a theme in this movie, ha.

~THE ENDING OF THE MOVIE IS ADORABLE.  Elizabeth partially quotes P&P (so I suppose she's quoting herself, haha) and Mr. Darcy SPINS her and I MELT. :)


Naomi Bennet said...

I'm always glad when I see a post from 'Regency Delight' on my Dashboard, especially as your posts aren't that frequent in number and all that, and I love your writings in general. :-)

I haven't seen this movie, but I don't think it looks that P&P-ish. Lizzy, with light, almost auburn-tinted hair!?! I think Elizabeth needs dark eyes and dark hair. But I do love her blue dress - it really looks like the dress Jane Austen wears in the famous portrait of hers, I think. :-P

Mr Darcy looks too scowlish here, in my opinion, and so weary and Grecian and old. Beh, I might be talking nonsense, I haven't even seen the movie.

I think Georgiana looks very sweet and genuine. Her hairstyle, though --- too Georgian, with those two curls. But then it looks sweet, so she could pass. :-)

I'm like you on Janna Coleman. Maybe because I've never seen Doctor Who, and just want more period dramas with sweet-looking actresses. I think this Lydia looks *really* SWEET. I haven't seen her in action, though, so I can't judge at all. I'm just judging these characters by their faces, which isn't always the best thing to do. :-)

Colonel Fitswilliam looks very bad indeed. He's supposed to be CHARMING and Happy!!!

Hey look, Jane Bennet is wearing Kitty Bennet's purple spencer in P&P95! I love that spencer.
And on that same picture, Elizabeth is wearing Charlotte Lucas in P&P95's pelisse. In fact, Charlotte and Kitty wear these two pelisses together in one scene too. Pelisses are reunited again, on different P&P characters!
Yes, those kind of things make my day. :-)

Mmm. This movie doesn't look like my exact cup of tea... but still, I want to watch it. :-P

Melody said...

{Accidentally deleted Hayden's comment instead of publishing it. Oops! Here it is:}

I actually enjoyed this one quite a bit, although I wasn't keen on neither Elizabeth nor Darcy's casting and Colonel Fitzwilliam was all wrong :(

However, I loved (ironically) Lydia and Wickham's portrayals- I thought they were book-accurate but you still sort-a-kinda felt sorry for them, too. But I might be partial in the Lydia department, Doctor Who fan that I am :)

I actually liked the movie version of this better than the book; the book wasn't bad, but it actually seemed a little boring to me- the movie I found more interesting.

Sophie said...

Heh, my sentiments on this have always been what you said at the start of the post.
The book's around my house somewhere, though, and I've skimmed some parts... I liked her foreword at the start. I can't remember exactly what she said, haha, but she apologised very nicely to Jane Austen for doing what she did to P&P. ;D
Okay, this sounds like it might be interesting. For sometime. I can add it to the end of my mile-long To Watch list. And, well, I might try to find the adorable spin in the end scene on YouTube. Just because. :)

Naomi Bennet said...

Sophie, I just had to tell you... I LOVED how the authoress apologised to Jane Austen in the beginning of the book.

Heh... she kind of needed to, heehee.

Would you rather hear the story...

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