Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Pride and Prejudice: Adaptations

I find adaptations fascinating. The idea of taking a story, whose societal context has eroded with the years, and rewriting in such a way as to preserve the original backbone, but also the make it applicable to modern society? Sounds like a challenge too large for me to ever even conceive of tackling. However, it's a challenge that many authors have thrown themselves at, some to great success, others...not so much.

The Best 

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I wish I had enough time to fully expand upon my love of the use of transmedia in the Lizzie Bennet Diaries. In briefs, transmedia is using multiple platforms to tell one story. It breaths life into characters, making them fully fleshed imitations of real people. Jane Bennet has a Pinterest board. Lizzie tweets about Darcy. Charlotte becomes friends with Collins on Facebook. It's a fascinating use of modern technology in story telling.

But aside from the flashiness of transmedia, The Lizzie Bennet diaries is my favorite adaptation because it is such a solid modern adaptation of the original novel. I find their decisions so interesting and inventive. I don't want give away all the secrets because the fun of an adaptation is seeing exactly how the new author portrays plot staples that we all know are coming.

Perhaps my favorite part of this adaptation is how they treat Lydia's story. Lydia typically doesn't get much love-- even in the original novel. She's portrayed as just an air-head silly-party girl who gets into trouble because she doesn't care enough not to. In the LBD, Lydia has a story arc that is really interesting-- we get a chance to see behind the party-girl who-gives-a-care flashy exterior and get to know the girl underneath.

The Worst

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Since I just wrote a review explaining exactly why I was so disappointed by this book, I won't waste your time reiterating my points. In a nutshell, the characters in this novel were poor sketches, halfway filled in skeletons that acted with no reason and did inexplicable things. Modernization was done in a inconsistent manner with some good decisions and some bad ones.

Something Fun

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About a year ago, I saw this movie with a couple friends and I have to say: I enjoyed it. I wasn't watching with a critical eye, I was just looking for entertainment and I found it. Some parts of it definitely were cringe-worthy (I didn't like their choice of Darby) but some parts were wonderfully feminist. When Darcy does his declaration of love there is an actual fight-- it is fascinating to take these characters who in their original context are tightly bound by societal expectations, and let them express anger in such a physical way. It's a freedom that women in Jane Austen's time would have never been granted.
Suggestions? 

This is obviously such a short list! So tell me-- what are you favorite Pride and Prejudice (or Jane Austen in general) adaptations? Which novels do I need to go check out? 

4 comments:

  1. I quite enjoyed Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. The best imo is the 1995 BBC adaptation, I know I'm boring with that opinion but it was my first and I still love watching it every now and then! I heard that the Poldark creators are making a new adaptation to come out at some point in the next few years and am excited :)

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    1. I don't think I've seen the 1995 BBC adaptation! Ooo a new one? That's exciting!

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  2. I am not a Pride and Prejudice expert by any stretch, so I don't really know ha ha but I do like the 2005 movie version. I know some people don't but it was okay for me. I've never seen the '95 miniseries that seems to be highly regarded?

    The Lizzoe Bennet diaries does sound neat the way the different forms of media are used. And Pride & Prejudice & Zombies just cracks me up, that's not a mash up I EVER would have expected lol

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    1. I think I've seen the 2005 movie version-- it was nice! A miniseries? That's really interesting, I haven't heard of that.

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