Posted by Kathy F. on August 29, 1997 at 19:02:52:
Well, I did it. I said I would, so I did: I finally rented Emma2 again. (I took notes, so please bear with me.) ;-)
Those of you who know me, already know that I am a definite Emma3er, but the object of this post is not to start the Emma wars again, merely to give my opinion, and to share how my opinion has changed from the first viewing to the second.
It hasn't changed all that much. I'll attempt to not remark on all of the ways that the movie was different from the book, and even was exactly the opposite (e.g. HS was a redhead, but in the book she was blond, etc). I will agree that the two directors and screenwriters had two totally different viewpoints in going into the movie, and produced two totally different movies, each with some merit. I will also give Emma2 credit for trying to squeeze in as much as possible, of what the screenwriter wanted, although imho it seemed to make the movie kind of disjointed.
Some good things I noticed on this time through to Emma2's credit: after Mr. and Mrs. Weston get married, Emma does alternate between tears and smiles, as the book says. Mr. Elton is almost as perfect as he could be (true perfection not possible for anybody, except JA, of course), and he had a lot more screen time than in Emma3, so you really see his full development. (I still prefer the things emphasized in Emma3, though, as more indicative of what the broad scope of the novel comprehended.) JF (Polly Walker?) is gorgeous, though I always imagined her as somewhat slightly more frail, because that was part of the reason for her returning to Highbury--her slightly poor constitution, and her propensity to take colds. Miss Bates is funny, I admit, but I think her character was altered quite a bit from the book. Ditto for Mrs. E. Emma was not quite as faultless as I remembered the first viewing portraying her, which is good, but she seemed almost too childish at parts.
General faults include that everyone seemed to be hunched over slightly; JF crosses her legs!!!!!--very un-Regency; HS's portrait??; Mr. Woodhouse is too hale and hearty to be a valetudinarian; Emma LIED (visiting the old, sick woman)--I absolutely hate that!--and she made HS lie as well in that scene; FC put the JF/Mr. Dixon idea into Emma's head, when in all actuality, it was the other way around, and FC speaks too smoothly to Emma when he is taking his leave (and almost telling her of his engagement to JF)--too rehearsed; why does Mrs. E. snoop through Hartfield?--that's what it looks like to me--she looks minutely into everything; and must she always speak with her mouth full?--she was snobbish, not vulgar; Why was HS not in the slightest upset over her brush with the gypsies? She was perfectly composed when speaking to FC afterwards.
(I'm ducking as I type this, because I know it is inflammatory, but....) JN is too young, and too cute (that's no new ground, in the Emma discussion, I know); he's definitely droolworthy, but not as Mr. Knightley. I'm sorry, but there it is. That's my most unhumble opinion. More particularly, his hair is too big--did they have gel and mousse back in the early 1800s??; he almost sneers at Emma when he says "Triumph!" concerning her match-making of Mr. and Mrs. Weston; he smiles too much--he seems to have a smile on his face all the time, even when discussing poor Mr. Martin (for whom Mr. Knightley truly was angry at Emma), also he is smiling in the proposal scene when he speaks of the "torture" of being at the Knightley's house in London--if it's such torture why is he smirking??; also, did he have nothing better to do than lurk over Emma's shoulder constantly? If I were her, I'd want to shoo him away like a pesky fly. Just too confining (that's not JN's fault, of course, it was the screenwriter's decision on what scenes to include). Other screenplay faults (imo--for I know this is not humble ;-)) for Mr. Knightley include that he seems to be begging for Emma's forgiveness at the Christmas scene in Highbury--his whole manner is so different from the book; and he walked out rudely in the middle of conversation (tea after archery). Ungentlemanly.
I do not like the Box Hill/strawberry-picking scene, especially since it was quite different from the book; ditto for when Emma comes back after visiting Miss Bates--she merely looked her disagreeing with her father's appraisal of her kindness to Mrs. and Miss Bates in the book; ditto for Mr. Knightley's saying there was a "delicate and perplexing matter" to discuss with his brother--in the book it was all Emma's imagination that he was doing that. From that point on, I can only watch Emma2 while pretending that it no longer relies on the book (excepting where Emma and HS discuss FC/JF).
I absolutely hate, detest, and despise the whole proposal scene if I compare it to the book. Can you say Hollywood? It pales in comparison (again, imo). However, as just a sort of general proposal scene, forgetting the book on which it is supposed to be based, I don't mind it that much.
Emma2ers, I have read all of your opinions over the past few months, and took them into this re-viewing, but we simply must agree to disagree. You will most likely never change your opinion of either movie, and I doubt that I will significantly alter mine, either. I appreciate Emma2 as a light, airy sort of movie, understand that its focus was completely different from Emma3's, and can even enjoy it as a movie, but not as the most accurate portrayal of JA's novel. I know that some Emma2ers don't like Mrs. Elton's addressing the camera at the end, but I kinda liked it--just the sort of thing she'd do.
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