Saturday, August 31, 2013

Top Twenty Austen Adaptations

Austen adaptations abound! I read this blog post which ranks 21 of them with clever explanations then thought to myself that my own list would look somewhat different. And then someone (yes, you, Austenacious!) asked me HOW my list would shuffle the films. So here I am in the wee hours of the morning, ranking Austen movies instead of sleeping. 

Go read that blog post before reading mine because her comments are far more comical than mine could ever dream of being. Plus mine will make more sense if you look at hers first. 

Two of the movies on her list I haven't seen - Austenland, 2013 since it has yet to open in Michigan and Bride & Prejudice since Bollywood films make my skin crawl. Then I added one that she left out, which is at the bottom of my list.

So, without further ado, I present to you my top twenty Austen film adaptations in reverse order of preference! Ta-dah!

20. Northanger Abbey 1980 - one of THE worst movies I have ever seen. And I even like Peter Firth in MI-5. But this is just wrong wrong wrong.
19. Pride and Prejudice, 1940 - P&P Gone with the Wind-style, complete with 1940's over-acting and a sweet kind Catherine deBourgh
18.  Becoming Jane, 2007 - It was ok. Just remember, it's fiction.
17. Mansfield Park, 2007 (ITV miniseries) - on the plus side - Hayley Atwell and Blake Ritson. Heavily outweighing those advantages would be the bleached blond Fanny Price/Billie Piper. Nope.
16. Emma, 1996 (BBC miniseries) - Mark Strong cannot be a good guy. And that's what's wrong with this.
15. Clueless, 1995 - Dated. Too many drugs. Otherwise fine.
14. Miss Austen Regrets, 2008 (BBC film) - I liked it. Plus Tom Hiddleston. 
13.  The Jane Austen Book Club, 2007 - Grigg.... And it's cool how the Austen stories are mirrored in the plot. The book is better.
Mansfield Park, 1999 - Well, it has Jonny Lee Miller. I don't actually think a modern Mansfield Park film can be successful. Too much of the "action," if you can call it that, is in Fanny's head. And she's just too passive to be a modern heroine.
11. Persuasion, 1995 (BBC adaptation) - This one has the letter scene which I like. But I saw the other one first and I just can't relate to the actors in this version - too stiff and cold.

10. Sense and Sensibility, 1995 - I know I am in the minority but I don't like S&S as much as most of the other Austens. I don't like Emma Thompson at all as Elinor - unpopular opinion, I know. Not a Hugh Grant fan either. But Alan Rickman makes up for it.
9.  Emma, 1996 (feature film) - I think Jeremy Northam is a much better Knightley. Gwyneth is just fine as Emma. 
8. Sense and Sensibility, 2008 (BBC miniseries) - I like how fresh this version appears, but it's still not my favorite Austen. And I miss Rickman.... But it does have the deliciously villainous Dominic Cooper as Willoughby.
Lost in Austen, 2008 (ITV miniseries) - Sets P&P on its ear. Jemima Rooper's hair drives me nuts, but Elliot Cowan's Darcy is very nice and then there's Wickham!!
6.  Pride and Prejudice, 2005 - Speaking of Wickham, here he is Rupert Friend - very tempting. I, like one of the commenters on that other blog, was determined to hate this Darcy, but Matthew Macfadyen's portrayal grew on me gradually and now I can watch it and enjoy.
5. Emma, 2009 (BBC miniseries) - Oh look, it's Jonny Lee again; this time he shines as Mr. Knightley. I love the bright colors of this version and I do think Romola Garai was brilliant in the title role.
4. Persuasion, 2007 (ITV adaptation) - If it weren't for the Bath marathon and the guppy kiss, Rupert Penry-Jones would bring this one into my #2 spot. I don't even mind that they don't go to sea. 
3.  Bridget Jones’s Diary, 2001 - Discovered this just after discovering the 1995 P&P and have watched it countless times. 
2. Northanger Abbey, 2007 (ITV movies) - Tilney is my favorite Austen hero and I find JJ Feild just adorable here. I could watch this over and over. Wait! I have! lol And it's short enough to watch in an evening after work.
1. Pride and Prejudice, 1995 (BBC miniseries) - The grand-daddy of them all. Do I even need to comment?

So, there you go. Which ones have you watched? Which are your favorites? And which ones will you never bother with again?

Now, I need to go to bed. Or should I slide in the Northanger Abbey DVD? It's so watchable!

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