Saturday, 19 May 2012

Sherlock Holmes (2009) & Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (2011)

I'm a huge fan of Arthur Conan Doyle's Sherlock Holmes stories and I'm currently obsessed with the BBC series. I love it so much it's almost scary! As I've said before, even though the BBC series is a modern-day update it's still very faithful to the Conan Doyle stories and is an absolutely brilliant TV show. This makes it the exact opposite then of the two Sherlock Holmes films that Guy Ritchie has made for the big screen in the past few years. Although Ritchie's films are set in the correct Victorian time period they're much less faithful to the original stories, and for a long time I refused to watch either of them because I thought they'd only make me really annoyed.  But out of curiosity I finally gave in and decided to give them a watch - although I felt like Judas when I paid for them at the counter! Anyway, I've now seen both films and they brought out very mixed emotions in me. In the past I've read reviews from people who love both films, people who hate both films, and people who enjoyed one film and not the other. Now I make up part of the latter.

Why, why, why???
I really did not like the first of these two films at all. Firstly, because I hated what they did to Irene Adler and the backstory that they gave her. They still keep her character American but they change practically everything else about her. In this film she's now Sherlock Holmes's ex-girlfriend and she and Holmes are still in love with one another. Well this certainly isn't accurate! In Conan Doyle's A Scandal in Bohemia story Irene marries another man (who she genuinely loves) and she and Sherlock only speak to each other for about two minutes. And Sherlock certainly didn't have romantic feelings for Irene. He was definitely fascinated by her and had a huge amount of respect for her but that's as far as his feelings went. As Watson notes "It was not that he felt any emotion akin to love" for her. Also, Sherlock Holmes is quite clearly an asexual character in the Conan Doyle stories and is regarded as a bit of an icon by the asexual community. I think it's a real shame that this film had to turn him into a heterosexual. OK, I wasn't thrilled with how Irene Adler and her relationship with Sherlock was portrayed in the BBC series either but this film is by far the worst offender.

Another big problem that I have with this film is its out-of-character portrayal of Sherlock. Now I get the impression that the intention of Guy Ritchie and the screenwriters was to move their Sherlock Holmes film away from the classic Basil Rathbone/Jeremy Brett adaptations by showing more of the active, energetic Holmes that you read about in the Conan Doyle stories. However, whilst it IS nice to see Sherlock boxing and being less placid the film takes it too far to the other extreme. It's like they're saying "We give you Action Hero Holmes! Now with Karate Chop Motion!" Also, Sherlock Holmes is far too bumbling and dumbed-down in this film. It's actually Watson who comes across as the more intelligent and capable of the two the majority of the time. Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock Holmes comes across as extremely intelligent and sharp but Robert Downey Jr's Sherlock often comes across as Jack Sparrow-esque in places. Now I love Jack Sparrow as much as anyone but I don't want Sherlock Holmes to be like him!

My third problem with the film is that it's just generally not a good film. It has a weak, confusing and overly-complicated plot and it's rather poorly-paced. I was amazed at how boring so much of it was. I'm not saying that the film is all bad though since there were some aspects of it that I did like. The first 15-20 minutes of it or so are great and Jude Law makes for a surprisingly excellent Watson. Oh, and I liked Gladstone the dog. But these few good things still didn't stop me from really disliking the film overall so I give it 2/5.

My feelings on the film's sequel A Game of Shadows are quite different though. It's inspired by the Conan Doyle story The Final Problem and takes many liberties with the original story... but I actually really liked it! The second film is by no means perfect and still can't hold a candle to the BBC series but it's a huge improvement from the first film and is very enjoyable. I think this is probably due to the second film having different screenwriters to the first film. A Game of Shadows is much funnier than the first film and is far more entertaining. The plot is still a bit confusing and overly-complicated in places but is much less so than the first film and it certainly has much better pacing. Jared Harris gives a very good, creepy performance as Moriarty and I really liked the actor who played his right-hand man Sebastian Moran. I think the actor's name is Paul Anderson but he doesn't have a Wikipedia page. We also get Stephen Fry in this film as Mycroft Holmes. He was very good fun in this film even though I really didn't like the scene where he goes naked! I don't want to see Stephen Fry naked! Ever! As far as I'm concerned he was born wearing clothes! Robert Downey Jr gives a much better performance in this film as well. Downey Jr's Sherlock is still a bit too bumbling at times but it's more tolerable (and even funny) this time around and his acting has mellowed considerably. He never manages to achieve the emotional depth of Benedict Cumberbatch's Sherlock but he does get some nice, emotional moments. If you're interested in seeing either of the two films then I'd suggest watching A Game of Shadows first. I wouldn't suggest skipping the first film entirely, purely because you'll appreciate how much better its sequel is once you've seen it. A Game of Shadows stands on its own and would still make sense to people even if they hadn't seen the first film. The story-lines between the two films aren't really continuous, apart from a brief appearance from Irene Adler in the second film and the fact that Watson's wife Mary Morstan is in both films. Although the BBC series is still far superior this second film is very enjoyable and it's the best film that Guy Ritchie has made in quite some time. I give it 4/5.

Friday, 18 May 2012

'The Angel of the Opera' by Sam Siciliano (1994)

Synopsis: the year is 1890 and the opera house in Paris is being terrorised and held for ransom by a Phantom. In despair and exasperation, and suspecting that the Phantom might actually be a man, the managers of the opera house hire the famous detective Sherlock Holmes to deal with their problem.

I love Sherlock Holmes and I love the Phantom of the Opera! So you can imagine my interest when I found that someone had written a Sherlock Holmes/Phantom of the Opera crossover book in which Sherlock and Erik go head-to-head. Instantly I knew I had to check this book out. Even though a friend warned me that this book was actually really bad and that I shouldn't read it unless I wanted a really good laugh I carried on and read the thing anyway. My friend was right. The Angel of the Opera IS a bad book. Wait, no, it isn't. It's an dreadful book! It didn't even make me laugh and I hated it! I hated it even more than I hated Susan Kay's Phantom! This particular book made me really angry and my reasons for hating it so much are many! And now I'll try to explain why in a way that hopefully won't be incoherent and rambling!

The major issue that most Sherlock Holmes fans tend to have with this book is that John Watson, the loyal sidekick/best friend/faithful chronicler of the Sherlock Holmes stories, isn't even in it. Instead the book is narrated by Dr Henry Vernier, Sherlock Holmes's half-French cousin. Now before I carry on with this review, I will give this book's author, Sam Siciliano, some credit. He obviously did some research before he wrote this book because Vernier is actually a legitimate Sherlock Holmes character. In one of the Arthur Conan Doyle stories there's a reference to Watson selling his medical practice to a man called Verner who later turns out to be a cousin of Sherlock Holmes. I suppose Siciliano changed the name from "Verner" to "Vernier" in order to make the name sound more French. Sherlock Holmes is part-French after all and changing "Verner" to "Vernier" isn't too much of a stretch. Siciliano also seems to have read Gaston Leroux's Phantom of the Oopera as well because the Persian and Raoul's brother Philippe are both in this story. These characters don't often feature in Phantom of the Opera adaptations. However, despite the fact that Siciliano has obviously done research he messes so much stuff up! He misspells Erik's name as "Eric" a couple of times and gets the Grasshopper and the Scorpion mixed up in the torture chamber scenes! And the introduction to his book is infuriating! Most sensible authors would realise that it's not a good idea to anger your target audience right from the first page but that's exactly what Siciliano does! He disses Watson in the very first paragraph! Why would you do that?! Why?! Who would be most likely to read this book? Sherlock Holmes fans of course! Didn't Siciliano think that slagging off Watson, the much-loved narrator of the Sherlock Holmes stories, might not be such a good move?! Didn't he think that he might annoy quite a few people by doing that?! But that's exactly what he does! Siciliano's narrator Henry Vernier claims that Watson's writings are "foolish" and inaccurate and Watson himself is depicted as being petty and stupid. Here's a direct quote!

"Watson had little imagination and was extremely conventional in the stuffiest British sense... I cannot forgive him for parading so distorted, so petty a rendering of my cousin before the public for all these years. Since I, too, was trained in medicine, I can state that his failings as a physician were even greater than those as a writer. I encountered several examples of his incompetence firsthand!"

I swiftly realised just why exactly Siciliano had chosen to portray Watson in this way though. It was so he could go completely against the Sherlock Holmes that is depicted in the ACD stories, so he could create his own Sherlock Holmes by changing aspects of the character's personality. I did NOT care for these changes at all.

The first change that Siciliano makes is that now Holmes is capable of romantically loving women and isn't asexual. This was really annoying. The second change that Siciliano makes is when he has Vernier state that all of the quotes and incidences from the ACD stories which suggest that Sherlock Holmes believes in God were just an invention of Watson's and that Holmes is actually a firm agnostic. This was another really annoying change that I hated. Sherlock Holmes being an agnostic has no relevance whatsoever to Angel of the Opera! I suspect that Siciliano only put this in because it happens to be his own personal belief. The third change that Siciliano makes is that Holmes now has material greed. He demands an enormous amount of money from the managers for his services. Yet again this was a another really annoying change that I hated because it makes Holmes seem greedy and selfish. Sherlock Holmes doesn't solve crimes for money in the ACD stories! He solves crimes simply because he loves solving crimes! Siciliano then attempts to justify his decision to have Holmes demand such an outrageous sum of money by claiming that the only reason why Holmes is asking for such a huge amount of cash is because he's never had a client as wealthy and illustrious as the Opera Garnier before. What?! I've never heard of such rubbish! Anyone who's read A Scandal in Bohemia will know that's not true! You don't get much more wealthy and illustrious than royalty do you?!

Yet another issue that I had with this book was with Siciliano's narrator. You'd hope that if an author is going to assassinate a character as well-beloved as Dr John Watson that the author would then provide a likeable narrator in his place. But Henry Vernier isn't a likeable narrator at all. He's extremely irritating. He badmouths Watson. He's extremely biased and declares his opinions on practically every single character in the story, which really has you longing for Watson's more subtle narration. Vernier also keeps banging on and on about some woman called Michelle that he's in love with. And every single this happened I'd be thinking "I don't care! I don't care about you or Michelle! Just get back to the story!" Vernier also comes across as a complete Marty-Stu which didn't exactly improve my opinion of him.

Up until now I've only mentioned how Siciliano ruins Watson and Holmes' characters but if you think the characters from Leroux's book fare any better then think again. Philippe is sleazy, arrogant and callous. Raoul is turned into a whiny, snivelling, cowardly villain. In fact Siciliano even invents a completely new character just so he can have Raoul kill him and make him look like even more of a villain! Siciliano also depicts Christine as being a dumb, shallow blonde who rejects Erik solely because of his looks. That's not true! In Leroux's book Christine was afraid of the Phantom from the moment she actually met him face-to-face. She went through the mirror of her dressing room expecting to find her Angel of Music only to find a creepy mask-wearing man! Not to mention that Christine has a childhood sweetheart in Raoul and that Erik has mental health issues and has killed people! Another character that this book ruins is the Persian. In Leroux's book - and even in the Susan Kay book - the Persian is depicted as being noble and decent. He's horrified by Erik's murders and his kidnapping of Christine and is determined to stop him. But at the same time he has genuine pity for Erik and doesn't want to kill him unless he has too. The final scene between them in the book is really moving. But in this book he's depicted as being evil and lecherous! He leers at the ballerina girls and wants Erik dead!

Now it's my understanding that some Sherlock Holmes/Phantom of the Opera fans have been able to forgive Siciliano's book for its maaany faults simply because they found the conversations between Holmes and Erik entertaining. Well, I couldn't. Erik and Holmes's conversations and interactions were too contrived to be entertaining. Basically Holmes takes an immediate liking to Erik simply because he's so impressed with how he plays the violin. He then completely ignores the fact that Erik is mentally ill, the fact that Erik is a murderer, the fact that he's terrorising and extorting an opera house, even the fact that he's deformed. This brings me to another point! When Holmes and Vernier see Erik's face they don't even seem very affected by Erik's deformity. Vernier even thinks to himself that Erik's face isn't too bad and that he's seen worse. No, no, no! Erik's face isn't tolerable or even slightly ugly. Erik's face is repulsive! He even smells like death! And if Erik's face isn't too bad then why has be been forced to hide himself away from the world? If his face isn't too bad then what's the entire point of his character? And the ending of this book... urgh. I won't give it away but it's completely stupid and gives Erik a happy ending. Oh my word, I hated this book so much!

Rating: 0.5/5

Tuesday, 8 May 2012

Mansfield Park (2007)

I've read some fairly scathing reviews for this adaptation in the past and I'm fairly certain that if it wasn't for the 1999 film I would be much more critical of it. I finally got round to watching this adaptation of Austen's book fairly recently and every time that it got to a bit that I didn't really like I'd think "Well, at least it's nowhere near as bad as the 1999 film!" This ITV adaptation of Austen's Mansfield Park may not be brilliant but at the same time I don't think it's anywhere near as bad as some of the reviews I've read have made out. I think it's worth a watch and as long as you don't go into it with very high expectations I think it's actually quite enjoyable. I only have two real problems with this version which are:

1. Unlike ITV's adaptation of Northanger Abbey it's very obvious that this version was filmed on quite a low budget because every single scene takes place at Mansfield Park. In the book it's different. Yes, the majority of it is set in Mansfield Park but we do get scenes that take place elsewhere too. Some of the characters visit Mr Rushworth's estate at one point and there are some scenes that take place at the Grant's cottage (where Henry and Mary Crawford are staying). Also, Fanny spends three months in Portsmouth with her family. But we never get to see any of these places in this version which is a real shame. As beautiful as Newby Hall is it is quite boring to have the entire version filmed there. A change of scenery at some point would have been nice and refreshing. In fact I can deal with Rushworth's estate and the Grant's Parsonage not being shown, it's not being able to see the Price's house in Portsmouth that I really miss. It would have provided an interesting contrast to Mansfield Park and by not having the Portsmouth scenes we don't get to see Fanny's sister Susan. It's also quite weird how they write all of the characters out of Mansfield Park, apart from Fanny, so that she's alone when Henry Crawford proposes to her again. Lady Bertram getting up off her sofa to go on a three week holiday away from home? I don't think so! We don't get Julia's elopement with Mr Yates in this version either and Fanny's coming-out ball isn't shown. Well, it's sort of shown. Instead it's just changed to a coming-out... picnic. Honestly, changing the ball to a picnic? How cheap can you get?! Also, this version is 90 minutes long like the ITV version of Northanger Abbey was. If Northanger Abbey could have still done with being longer than that running time then Mansfield Park definitely does!

2. Although this version does provide a more Austen-faithful portrayal of Fanny Price than the 1999 film, the way that it portrays Fanny still isn't very Austen-faithful. In many scenes Fanny does come across as being shy, quiet and observant like she is in the book and the character certainly isn't mangled to pieces like in in the 1999 film. But at the same time you get the sense that the makers of this version still didn't have the guts to portray Fanny exactly how she is in Austen's book. Fanny doesn't put her foot down and refuse to participate in the play in this version, she talks back to Mrs Norris in one scene, and we get other scenes of Fanny running around Mansfield Park and its grounds. Fanny has poor health in Austen's book. If she'd tried to run around like Billie Piper does in this version she'd have probably killed herself! This brings me to Billie Piper who I feel was miscast in the role. Now I do think that Billie Piper is actually a very good actress and she really surprised me in Doctor Who. Even though I never really liked Rose Tyler, I thought Piper did a great job playing her. Piper's acting is decent in Mansfield Park but the problem is that she just looks far too modern for the role with her dark eyebrows and obviously dyed blonde hair. It's really quite distracting. And why oh why did no-one bother to tie her hair up?! I'm hardly an expert on Regency fashion but even I know that women wore their hair tied up when they reached adulthood (except when they were in the privacy of their own bedrooms). Fanny would have been expected to wear her hair up too even if she was the Bertram's poor relation! And why did they give her low-cut dresses?! I can sort of see why they gave the Bertram sisters and Mary Crawford low-cut dresses but why Fanny? Billie Piper's Fanny Price doesn't look remotely like a woman from the Georgian-Regency era, she's just too modern-looking.

Maybe it sounds like I really disliked this version but I honestly didn't. I don't think this version will blow anyone's mind but all things considered I think it's actually quite good. The location was beautiful (even if it did get boring after a while), quite a bit of dialogue was taken from the book, the actors were well-cast, and it sticks to the basic story. Is this version a faithful adaptation of Austen's book? Welllll...not really but it's more faithful than the 1999 film is. Fanny doesn't ever accept Henry Crawford's marriage proposal and the slavery only ever gets a brief mention. Sir Thomas doesn't rape slaves in this version and Tom isn't a tortured soul. Fanny's brother William is in this. Mary Crawford's final conversation with Edmund does not take place in front of Fanny and Sir Thomas either. In the book Mary dismisses Henry and Maria's affair as pure folly (which upsets Edmund) then attempts to put all the blame for the affair on Fanny (which upsets Edmund even more). Then Mary proceeds to put her foot in it even further by implying that she hopes Tom Bertram will die so Edmund can inherit all the family wealth (which makes Edmund very upset indeed). Edmund finally sees Mary's true colours and he wants nothing more to do with her. In the 1999 film Fanny and Sir Thomas are also there and they start arguing with Mary as well! Now this is just silly! Mary wouldn't have said all these things if there'd been a bigger audience!

Anyway, this particular version is certainly a lot more enjoyable than the 1999 film. Some scenes in this version are actually quite entertaining. I especially love a scene at Fanny's picnic. The characters are playing blindman's bluff and Fanny is the one wearing a blindfold. She's walking around, not being able to see, when Henry Crawford stands right in front of her. You get the sense that he's hoping she'll feel him up. But then Fanny shifts to the left and she touches someone else. The "what the hell?!" look that you then see on Henry Crawford's face is sooo funny! : ) The final 30 minutes or so of this version are also pretty enjoyable and even quite romantic. I really liked the scene when Edmund suddenly realises that he's in love with Fanny and the scene where he goes into her bedroom (no, it's not a dirty scene! ;)

Like I've said the acting is good in this version too. The 1999 film featured some good acting too but the acting is of a better standard here and most of the cast are really well-chosen. Piper is decent but the supporting cast are better. Blake Ritson makes for a very fit Edmund and - even though I dislike Edmund in Austen's book - Ritson's Edmund didn't irritate me nearly as much. I do think that Ritson gives a better performance at playing Mr Elton in the BBC's Emma (2009) though. Hey! This makes two actors who have been in Mansfield Park and Emma adaptations! Jonny Lee Miller played Edmund in the 1999 film of Mansfield Park and Knightley in the 2009 version of Emma. Blake Ritson played Edmund in the 2007 version of Mansfield Park and Mr Elton in the 2009 version of Emma. I really liked Hayley Atwell as Mary Crawford in this too. Atwell is a beautiful woman and you can actually understand why Edmund is initially drawn to her rather than Fanny. In the 1999 film Frances O'Connor is actually better looking than Embeth Davidtz so that really didn't work! Atwell also plays the character really well and comes across as suitably charming and intelligent. I also really liked the actors playing Sir Thomas (Douglas Hodge), Tom (James D'Arcy), Maria (the underrated Michelle Ryan) and Henry (James Beattie).

Blake Ritson as Edmund Betram
Hayley Atwell as Mary Crawford

Rating: (as long as your expectations aren't too high) 3/5

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Mansfield Park (1999)

This film is the worst Austen adaptation that I've ever seen and is just a massive Epic Fail. What especially angers me is that this film shouldn't have even been made in the first place. In the mid 90s there had been a renewed interest in Jane Austen and several of her novels were re-adapted. In 1995 a film adaptation of Sense and Sensibility came out and the BBC produced adaptations of Pride and Prejudice and Persuasion. Then in 1996 two adaptations of Emma came out - a movie version starring Gwyneth Paltrow and an ITV adaptation starring Kate Beckinsale. This particular film was a late addition to the party. However when the director/screenwriter Patricia Rozema was approached to make a Mansfield Park movie she rejected the offer - on the grounds that she hated the book and its heroine Fanny Price. But she then changed her mind when the producers agreed to let her make changes to the novel and "improve" Austen's story and characters. Now I usually don't mind it much when film adaptations leave out things from the books they're based from. I do understand that films have a limited running time. What really annoys me is when film adaptations make changes to books, especially when the changes are made for no good reason. This film makes a lot of changes for no good reason! It's unfaithful and inaccurate to the book and is quite rightly very unpopular with Austen fans.

The main reason why this film is so unpopular with Austen fans is that many of the characters are almost completely unrecognisable from their book counterparts. This is especially true of Fanny Price. Fanny is no longer a shy, timid girl who's so used to mistreatment from her relatives that she's actually moved to tears when her uncle allows her to keep a fire in the room where she spends most of her day. No. In this film Fanny is now a bold, lively, feisty, self-confident, early feminist sort of character who never shys away from speaking her mind. In the rare moments of the film when Fanny says or does something that actually happens in the book it seems really out of character! Fanny has been changed to a combination of Elizabeth Bennet and a quasi-Jane Austen herself. Fanny writes stories and letters in this film that Austen actually wrote and sends them to her sister Susan (her brother William has been completely removed from this film). In the book Fanny doesn't even become close to Susan until she visits her family in Portsmouth. Fanny also gets drunk at a family party and another change from the book is that Fanny actually kisses Henry Crawford and accepts his marriage proposal! WHAT?! Presumably Rozema did this to echo Austen accepting the unfortunate Harris Bigg-Wither's marriage proposal only to change her mind and break off the engagement the next day. But seriously it's just plain wrong! In the book Fanny disliked and distrusted Henry Crawford. Yes, her feelings towards him did soften when Henry used his influence to get William promoted in the navy but she never wavered or backed down in her belief that she and Henry would make for a disastrous marriage. Despite her timidity Fanny stood up for herself when her uncle was putting enormous pressure on her to accept Henry's proposal. Yes, Fanny stood up for herself with much tears and trembling but she still showed strength of character nonetheless. By having Fanny accept Henry Crawford's proposal it gets rid of one of the best things about Fanny's character. Also, the scene where Fanny breaks off the engagement turns Henry Crawford into a victim and makes him too sympathetic. You feel really sorry for him. Perhaps Rozema was trying to make Fanny's character a little more palatable to a modern audience but I liked Fanny more the way Austen wrote her! I know that Book Fanny isn't everyone's cup of tea and that she may seem passive, overly self-deprecating and insipid but it's only natural that she should be like that. Austen knew what she was doing when she wrote the character. In the book Fanny leaves her family at the age of 9 or 10 to go and live with her wealthy relatives in their huge and imposing manor house. She is then bullied, neglected and treated like a slave by virtually all of her relations to the point where she feels almost worthless. She is never encouraged to hold or voice her own opinions. She never sees her family and most of them don't give a damn about her anyway. Therefore this film's attempt to make Fanny as witty, lively and outgoing as some of Austen's other heroines doesn't make the least bit of sense and isn't at all believable!

Fanny isn't the only character to be messed about in this film either. Sir Thomas is another example. In the film he's portrayed as far worse than he is in the book. In the book Sir Thomas is just a cold, stern, overbearing father. But in this film he's also an evil, dirty old man who rapes the slaves on his plantation! Additionally, Tom Bertram knows about his dad's evil activities and is deeply troubled. It's then implied that his irresponsible, immature behaviour is just a way of rebelling against his dad and coping with his depression. Mrs Bertram is an opium addict in this film which is ridiculous. Why can't she just be lazy and uninvolved like she is in the book? Oh and the Grants aren't even in this film either so we have no idea why the Crawfords are even hanging around Mansfield Park in the first place. And I know I've already mentioned that Fanny's brother William isn't in this film but it is a shame that he wasn't included. He was one of the few genuinely likeable characters in the book.

Another issue that I have with this film is that it's sexed-up. Henry is actually caught having sex with Maria at Mansfield Park in this film. And Rozema even includes lesbian undertones at one point in a scene between Fanny and Mary Crawford! (see left) This is a very bizarre scene that comes completely out of nowhere and is never touched on again. And you thought Andrew Davies was bad!

Yet another issue that I have with this film is that slavery is made a main focus of the story. Austen strongly disapproved of slavery herself but in the book I think there's only one explicit reference to slavery when Fanny asks her uncle a question about it. But slavery is mentioned far more prominently in this film which is a big mistake. Slavery was (and is) a terrible and evil thing but it wasn't a major part of Austen's novel. If you want to make an original historical romance that features slavery then I think that's all well and good. But slavery is just too important a subject to throw in haphazardly into an Austen novel in which slavery is barely mentioned at all just to create some dramatic tension! Not only is it disrespectful to Austen's novel it's actually pretty darn insulting to the people who had to endure slavery!

I can handle a few liberties being taken with books but this film is just too much. As an Austen fan I hate this film! It doesn't even succeed in being an unfaithful-but-entertaining film in its own right like the 1940 adaptation of Pride and PrejudiceMansfield Park may well be my least favourite Austen novel but it still deserves a much better adaptation than this. The only thing that I will praise it for is that the majority of the actors give good performances and do the best they can with the crappy material that they've been given to work with. Because of the actors this film may have actually been decent if it had had a different script and a different director. Frances O'Connor acts quite well in this for example and I suspect that she would have been able to pull off an Austen faithful portrayal of Fanny. Jonny Lee Miller gives a good performance as Edmund Bertram as well but I think he'll always be Knightley to me. The only actor that I wasn't so keen on was Embeth Davidtz. Her acting isn't bad but she looks far too old to play Mary Crawford and (although I don't want to sound harsh) she isn't attractive enough to play the character either. I'll finish this review with the film's trailer. Just look at it! Look at how unfaithful it is!

Rating: 1/5