Sunday, January 27, 2008

Mansfield Park - No Masterpiece

After last week's Northanger Abbey, which I enjoyed despite some unnecessary changes, we come to Mansfield Park. Here I must confess that this is my least favorite Austen novel. Fanny Price has never grown on me and I don't see what is so wonderful about Edmund. I don't dislike him but he doesn't seem like an Austen hero to me either, not on the Mr. Knightley, Mr. Darcy, Mr. Tilney, or Captain Wentworth level. And here are my completely off the cuff impressions:

The Good
- William, Fanny's brother. Perfect casting, in my estimation.
- Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram, while possibly different from their novel counterparts (it has been awhile since I've read it) were enjoyable to watch. (Edit: upon further review Lady Bertram was quite different from the novel but it doesn't bother me)
- The costumes seemed nice, if inconsistent in style, era, suitability...
- The sets were lovely, if limited. No visit to Portsmouth?
- Pug

The Bad
- Was it me or does it seem most unlikely that so many different men would be in Fanny Price's bedchamber?
- Rather a lot of "bosom" shots for my taste. 'Nough said.
- Waltzing and kissing in public? Not likely.
- Maria Bertram Rushworth is the Bionic Woman. Michelle Ryan was bad in that (thankfully) short lived series too! Coincidence? I think not.
- PBS has really made a mistake in this 90 minute time frame they've allotted for these stories. Every one has been far too rushed and important scenes/subplots/etc have been sacrificed.

The Ugly
- I'm sorry but there is no gentle way to say this (you may accuse me of being as shallow as Mary Crawford if you like!): Billie Piper (Fanny) and Blake Ritson (Edmund) are two spectacularly unattractive people. He looks like a corpse; she looks like a cross between a horse and a chipmunk. I realize that Fanny is not supposed to be a supermodel but I was actually distracted from the story by Billie Piper's teeth. Maybe it was the lighting or something (I'm being generous).
- Edmund comes to his senses about Mary Crawford and realizes his love for his cousin in about 3 seconds. Ah, a love that will last the ages. Some of this is PBS's fault but seriously, talk about suspending disbelief.

While 100% better than the awful feature length Mansfield Park adaptation of the '90's which I wish I could scrub from my memory bank, it still fell far short of what it could be. I give them a C for effort. Again, I'm being generous. If it comes around again skip it and watch Northanger Abbey instead.

If you'd like to check out the original:

And if you'd like to see if I'm being harsh in my review:

(Picture credit: PBS)


Headmistress, zookeeper said...

I would agree with *everything* you said. I found Edmund Cadaverous, and it was only great self restraint that kept me from commenting on Fannie's buck teeth in every scene.

Anonymous said...

I really did laugh out loud when I read the 'ugly' part. You have such a way with words. =)

Love, Lulu

Anonymous said...

ROFL! That is so funny! I, too, really had a hard time trying not to stare at Fanny's teeth. My dear Mamma said she needed braces. And I agree that the necklines should have been higher.
As for Edmund, I was in agonies watching him stare pop-eyed at Fanny at the ending. Oh, please! It's almost as bad as watching Peter Parker in Spider-man.
Did anyone notice how awful Crawford's hair looked? Really, he looked almost wild, as Caroline Bingley might say.
I also must say I'm sick of having the heroines and heroes running marathons after each other in these adaptions. It's getting tedious.
There. I'm done ranting. (Sorry for taking up so much space.) But, like Lady Catherine de Bourgh (did I spell that right?), I like to have my share in the conversation.
-Christine from Arizona

MacKenzie said...

I totally agree with you about Fannie's teeth, I would have said so in my post but felt that I talked a lot about the actor's looks in my last Austen post.

And your right about the time span too. BBC's Pride and Prejudice is my favorite adaptation,it was able to really capture the story because it wasn't having to trim everything to fit into 90 minutes. I would rather see one good movie over three weeks than three weeks of badly done romance novel wannabes.

Post a Comment

I promise to be candid and you can be too. Blogging is best when it's a conversation. Thanks for taking the time to read this post and respond. I enjoy hearing what you have to say.

Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.