Okay everybody. I just watched the first half hour of the BBC production again and I have to be honest with you all: it sucks.
The acting is terrible. Everyone recites their lines, like they’re quoting Bible verses, instead of actually acting.
Mrs Bennet is obviously a stage actress because she simply screams all her lines, and she tries too hard to be irritating instead of physically incarnating irritation and superficiality as Brenda Blethyn does in the new one.
Most importantly, Jennifer Ehle is disgustingly sweet. Constantly squinting her eyes and doing her little cutsie face quickly becomes intolerable for the viewer. After a half hour I wanted to stab her in the face but I couldn’t so I just turned it off.
Darcy has to state (to Bingley’s sister) fairly early on his admiration for Lizzy because otherwise we would never know he likes her. And when he says so, it’s a complete shock and we have to take his word for it because there’s literally no evidence till then in the movie to support it.
This is also one of many scenes in the BBC version not witnessed firsthand by Lizzy — one of the best things in the new version is that it is shown totally from Lizzy’s point of view, which contributes greatly to its coherence as a film.
Finally, and maybe this is too harsh for a made-for-TV series, but the camera is 100% static. Everything is a stationary shot. There are also a lot of unnecessary shots. No reason for it to be 5 hours long with this many useless shots.
Quite simply, these two versions of Pride and Prejudice can hardly be compared. The BBC might be enjoyable as an audiobook or as a CD instead of a DVD, but in terms of direction it is a waste of filmstock. Perhaps fun to listen to, even despite some of the bad acting, but torture to watch.