Last night we watched the (sadly) last episode of BBC's new "Emma"! I think I have been spoiled by "Little Dorrit" and "Bleak House"-- 4 episodes just didn't seem enough. ;-)
But first things first: my thoughts on Episode 4.
(contains spoilers! Don't read if you don't know the story already!)
Very well done; Box Hill, the conflict between Jane and Emma, the conflict between Harriet and Emma, and the proposal were all very well done. It really had a very tense climax in that Box Hill scene-- it showed Emma at the peak of her immaturity, vanity, and carelessness of the feelings of others; and of her sudden crash as she realized how very wrong she was, after Mr. Knightly rebuked her. "Well done, very well done indeed!" ;-)
Emma's making fun of Miss Bates was better done than any I've seen yet. It took me a while to figure out, in the other versions, what was so bad about what Emma said. This made it very clear that she was being incredibly rude and thoughtless.
When everything begins to become clear about Frank and Jane, and Harriet's feelings for Mr. Knightly, there are lots of flashbacks which are fun and also helpful so that you can remember the things that happened earlier and think, "Oh yeah! I guess so! How could Emma not have noticed that?"
A couple things about Episode 4, though, that I didn't like. The most terrible was that in the Box Hill scene, when Frank and Emma are flirting, he lays his head in her lap in front of everyone! TERRIBLY inappropriate for that era (in any era for that matter!) and in that setting, considering that they weren't married, much less engaged! (I'm not the slapping kind, but if a guy tried that on me, he might end up with a red mark on his face and a sore neck!) However, it did show, in a modern way, I guess, Frank's terrible immaturity, and Emma's condoning of it, and why Jane would feel so hurt and angry towards them both.
As I said, the proposal was good; however, I personally am not crazy about people kissing or leaning on each other's shoulders. Strange that I'm not, being such a romantic, but being a romantic doesn't mean I'm touchy! That was just a matter of taste though.
The ending was somewhat rushed; when Harriet and Mr. Martin get married, a person who didn't know the story might wonder, "What in the world happened?" and would not get an explanation. Of course, with a BBC television show meant to stay within the confines of an hour per episode, it could be that they were running out of time.
View Episode 4 at Tudorphiles.
Now for an overall review of the whole show:
Excellent excellent excellent! It included the things in the book that the other movie adaptions left out, had the "sparkle" of Mirimax's "Emma" though it was closer to the book and had it's own interpretation of some things...
When we finished the movie, I was really in the mood for spiritual application. Jane Austen really had a way of working in the matters of the heart and the importance of godly living in her stories. This "Emma", developing Emma's bad character and her realization of it and her change, was very good, and made me think: Am I, like Emma, full of myself? Vain? Prideful? Immature? Inconsiderate of other's feelings and needs? Impatient? Or do I allow the Spirit of Christ to control me and influence what I do? Do I truly desire others' good? Am I kind? Do I use what influence I have to help others do right? Am I bold to speak up, like Mr. Knightly? Life isn't about us-- it is about loving God and loving others. Sometimes we must fall hard after a major mistake, like Emma, but God uses those falls to make us dependent on Him and moldable in His hands.
My thoughts on all the main characters:
EMMA: Wonderful! A little modern, but I actually liked it. She was funny, interesting, spirited, and very real.
MR. KNIGHTLY: *faints away* SO THE BEST KNIGHTLY EVER!!! Jonny Lee Miller was wonderful as Mr. Knightly. I'm quite carried away. :-)
MR. WOODHOUSE: I love Sir Michael Gambon in all the roles I've seen him in, and he made a very lovable Mr. Woodhouse! A little off from the book, but not too much.
ANNA TAYLOR WESTON: She seemed quite young, but actually the actress's age is about right! I thought she was a good Mrs. Weston.
MR. WESTON: I think he was the best yet. He just.. was... Mr. Weston! I liked him a lot.
FRANK CHURCHILL: Again, the best yet. Not so ... blaagh... as the other ones, but terribly annoying as the story moves along (as he's supposed to be!) Good choice on the casting.
MISS BATES: She was... okay. An interesting take on her character, definitely! Not quite talkative enough, and a little tragic... but she was okay.
MRS. BATES: Again, an interesting and somewhat tragic take. Especially how she begins to talk at the end of the movie!
JANE FAIRFAX: She was wonderful! Not so dull and depressing as the A&E one. I think she was more right-on with the book. I liked how she was more spirited, and I also like how it showed her being trodden down by Frank and Emma, and how they are reconciled in the end.
MR. ELTON: Hilarious! Almost every line of his made us laugh! :-)
MRS. ELTON: The best yet. A much better age, and much more accurate to the book's description. I love how she takes charge of everything and thinks herself so great. :-)
JOHN KNIGHTLY: Perfectly irritable. :-)
ISABELLA KNIGHTLY: She doesn't have too much personality but I thought she was well-done anyway.
Did I get them all? Let me know if I missed someone and I'll edit the post. ;-)
View the trailer here.