Tuesday, February 9, 2010

don't let the door hit you on the way out

I just finished watching the new PBS version of Emma. I have to say that although it is by far my favorite adaptation of the book (Clueless doesn't count, right?), I was a little disappointed in the ending.  It was not the ending of the story itself that irked, I am a die hard Austen fan after all, but the way it was portrayed in the mini series.  PBS put together a beautiful four hour mini series which took the time to explore the characters and major plot of the book but also included lesser known snippets that added a charm to the production.  However, of that four hours less than ten minutes was dedicated to resolution and the inevitable Austenian conclusion-almost as if the producers were apologetic for exposing us to something as trite as a happy ending.  The last ten minutes, instead of maintaining the cohesive flow of the story like the rest of the script, were a series of snapshots of the resolution.  It felt more like a photography session at Sears than the end of a movie. 
I enjoyed the mini series, I just wish that after having invested the time and interest in the characters and concern for their well-being, that the PBS crew had allowed us time to enjoy the resolution instead of hastily pushing us out the door.  If you are looking for a good adaptation of Jane Austen's Emma, by all means watch this.  But if you want a real ending, read the book.


Emily and Austin Gray said...

But don't Jane Austen's books all pretty much have the same problem the movie did? I re-read the book (while waiting for PBS to release the rest of the movie!) and I really think she is much better at writing about love unrequited than love fulfilled. Think about the end of Pride & Prejudice. Lame! And the book is perfect in almost every other way!

I admit I'd like to have seen a little more Knightly-Emma romance at the end too. But the thing I really liked about this adaptation was the way the actress portrayed the changes in Emma over time. I actually liked the character by the end of the film, though I've never quite been able to like her in the book.

Steph said...

I loved it although I do agree with you about the ending. It did seem very quick. We didn't get to see the conversation with the father or what's her name (brain lapse) finally deciding to marry Mr. Martin. After reading Emily's comments though, I think it might be time for me to reread the book.

Did you ever watch Little Dorrit? I absolutely loved the movie until the very end, which was very rushed and hard to understand. I guess PBS is making this some kind of pattern.

I definitely look forward to Sunday evenings now!

yamsey said...

Emily I totally agree with you about Emma's character development. Maybe I should rewrite the beginning of this post- it is the first Emma rendition I have liked at all.
You know, since people are rewriting Austen's books with sea creatures and zombies, maybe we could rewrite them with more fulfilling endings.
Steph, let me know how the reread goes. I will have to try it again too once I finish the stack of books by my bed.

Emily and Austin Gray said...

I got the DVD and watched the last episode with Lucy last night. (I'm starting her young.) There are several scenes in the DVD that were left out in the TV version, including a yummy one with Mr. Knightley and Emma sitting on a bench talking about how they figured out that they love each other. Anyway -- it seemed much less truncated at the end.