Sigh. Grumble and then more sigh. In the interest of full disclosure, I love the 6 hour BBC P&P version and can't picture a more perfect Darcy or Elizabeth or Bingley for that matter (not so much Jane). In any case, when I heard about this remake, honestly, I wasn't expecting much good to come of it.
The first 20 minutes or so fulfilled my expectations. But then, it changed for the better. I can't put my finger on it exactly. I hated Lizzy. I thought Knightley's portrayal as too flippant and light and the Darcy not quite proud enough. (And can I say that her wigs sucked... really, could they not find one to cover her own short hair in the back; every scene that bugged me to death).
The ball was where it really changed for me. I loved Mr. Bennet holding a crying Mary, realizing her pain and caring for it. I loved the slightly tipsy Mrs. Bennet. Overall, their portrayals through the entire movie were more "parent-like" than the BBC version, and I liked it. You realize that their shortcomings towards their daughters are not out of a mean or even selfish spirit. Rather Mrs. Bennet's neuroses are truly on behalf of her soon to be impoverished daughters.
Collins was spot on. Loved it. And Judi Dench as Lady Catherine was also fabulous. I was rather disappointed with their rather unappetizing Colonel Fitzwilliam. Yeech. And Wickham was perfect. Charming right up to the bitter end.
Overall, it could have been better. They could have cut 10 minutes of the crying Mr Bennet/Lizzy scene at the end in favor of more time at Pemberley, developing any kind of Georgiana character. Or even allowing Darcy and Lizzy more interaction at Rosings.
I will concede that the proposal scene in the rain was wonderful. Possibly better than BBC (though obviously not true to the book). Let's face it, it's always good to see a wet Darcy. I just felt that the scene had lots of power. I liked the impropriety; that they yelled. Of course it's too bad that it was half way through the movie before we see any chemistry between the two.
Jane was far better in this movie than in the BBC. I liked this portrayal better, showing that a very good Jane can also be lighthearted, instead of unfailingly, boringly proper.
The two rather dismal castings were that of Bingley and the Gardiners. Bingley was ghastly. This Jane should have pitched him; he had no spine at all. Yuck. And the Gardiners did alright with what they had, but were about 20 years (at least) too old.
As I hated the first 20 minutes, the last 15 or so didn't do much for me either. I liked the second proposal in the field but was left in the cold after that (actually the whole "body and soul" thing was a bit much as well, but you can't have everything). Too much gushing from Mr bennet and Lizzy... NO WEDDING! What? The whole Pemberley as marrieds was just too much. Blech.
So what do we learn from this folks? As a lover of Pride and Prejudice Utah; Pride and Prejudice Bollywood style and the original film version with Laurence Olivier and Greer Garson, I obviously don't mind even serious deviation from the book. But unless you can improve on perfection (BBC version) don't go there.