Monday, February 8, 2010

The Conclusion of Emma: Part 3 review

Although I should be working on review of scholarship for a class Wednesday, I've taken a break to review the final part of the new miniseries adaptation of Emma.
Though, it was good to see everything summed up, my overall opinion of the finale was that it was a bit obviously done. It seemed that the BBC was afraid that viewers wouldn't be able to keep up with the ~incredible plot twists~ and ~character revelations~. So, they insisted on showing flash backs recounting every clue that lead to those realizations in the story. It feels like about a third of the last episode was flash back. The point of a surprise ending (which indeed it might have been for those unfamiliar with the story) is that all of a sudden everything comes together and the audience then thinks back to all the hints laced through the tale and it makes sense. In fact, the ability to have that remembrance on one's own can be the most satisfying part of watching a program. Thus, it pains me to have that taken away. If the plot is solid enough in the adaptation, there is no need for such a heavy handed conclusion.
On the bright side, Michael Gambon's portrayal of Mr. Woodhouse moves the character out of the realm of comic and makes him a sympatheitc old man very gracefully. Laura Pyper was also impressive as the long suffering Jane Fairfax. Though Romola Garai and Johnny Lee Miller find their chemistry eventually, they seem too close in age and Garai has moments of awkwardness in her physicality (intentional or not I can't be sure) that almost seem like she's uncomfortable in her costumes.
Still, it contains many solid performances and has incredible visual appeal. It may be a great way to draw people into the characters and encourage them to read the book. I would grade the production a B overall.

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