"Emma Woodhouse, handsome, clever, and rich, with a comfortable home and happy disposition, seemed to unite some of the best blessings of existence; and had lived nearly twenty-one years in the world with very little to distress or vex her." -Jane Austen's Emma, chapter 1
BBC's new movie edition of Emma is presently playing in the United Kingdom. I thought we would have to wait for it to air on Masterpiece Theater, BUT to my excitement, someone has downloaded the first episode to YouTube!!! WOOHOOOO!!!! So this evening we "Dashwood" ladies set the chairs around the computer and played the first episode off of YouTube. :-)
While I do like the Mirimax version of Emma quite well, and don't mind the A&E version with Kate Beckinsdale, both are far too short to contain all the information in the book. So when I heard that BBC was creating a new version, I was terribly thrilled!! :-D
So far I think I like it. It is certainly different than the other two films, and the makers definitely interwove their own interpretation into it. But I think it is very well done so far. It isn't so "fairy-tale-ish" as the Mirimax Emma but definitely more lively and colorful than the A&E Emma.
Awesome casting, lovely music score and sets, and already some good lines to quote, I think. ;-) Not to mention, there are some lovely dresses, bonnets, and spencers. :-) I like the gown Emma wears to the Westons' wedding.
Romola Garai plays a vivacious and often truly hilarious Emma. ("Marianne" said she reminded her of herself. :-) ) Jonny Lee Miller plays Mr. Knightly very well indeed; he's very handsome (I think) and does a good job "rebuking" Emma. :-) Blake Ritson (who played Edmund in the recent film Mansfield Park) makes a slapstick Mr. Elton. When I heard he was playing Elton, I couldn't imagine him playing a dope, but boy, does he do a good job!!! :-D Mr. Woodhouse is portrayed by Sir Michael Gambon-- wonderful!! I love Michael Gambon in all the movies I've seen him in. He makes a good Mr. Woodhouse. :-) Harriet (I don't remember the actress' name) is really cute and quite ditsy. I'd say even ditsier than Toni Collette's Harriet! :-) I can't wait to get to the letter part! :-D Miss Taylor and Mr. Weston seem like they'll be great too. :-)
The beginning has an interesting twist, different from the other versions. It begins by giving a background of Emma's, Frank Churchill's, and Jane Fairfax's lives, and shows Emma matchmaking John and Isabella and Mr. Weston and Miss Taylor. Not quite in line with the book, but interesting. The one thing about it that was a little alarming was that when it was talking about Emma's mother dying, it showed her in her casket... Not that there is anything wrong with that, but Jane Austen rarely (or never?) shows dead people in her books, so I wasn't really ready for that. Not a big deal though. One thing I liked about the flashback was that I never really considered that "big" events were happening in Emma's, Frank's, and Jane's lives all about the same time.
The makers of the film wanted to add some "modern interpretations" to the movie, such as some modern lines and hand motions. Some people who have shared their thoughts already about it have found it distracting and/or disagreeable. Again, I thought it was an interesting touch and don't mind it too much. They did a great job of adding humor, certainly!
Well, I shouldn't say more because I don't want to spoil the fun for anyone. I can't wait til next week; I sure hope the next episode is loaded to YouTube!!
BTW, as this *is* a needlework-related blog, I should add that I worked on sewing one of the jumpers while we watched. :-) I am on the final jumper and it is SO CUTE because it is SO SMALL! :-D