P&P 200: Lost In Austen Review
Continuing the 200th anniversary celebration (even after its special day, the celebration doesn't have to end...we can celebrate it here all year long!) of Jane Austen's classic Pride and Prejudice novel, with my thoughts, opinions, and review of Lost In Austen (2008) starring Elliot Cowan and Gemma Arterton
Here's my Lost In Austen review below...
Watch the trailer for Lost In Austen
Lost In Austen Synopsis
Amanda, an ardent Jane Austen fan, lives in present day London with her boyfriend Michael, until she finds she's swapped places with Austen's fictional creation Elizabeth Bennet.I thought Lost In Austen had a nice concept of its premise with its tagline: "Same Story. Different Centuries." With a modern heroine in Amanda Price (played by Jemimah Rooper), an Austen/P&P fanatic, unexpectedly meet with her favorite Pride and Prejudice heroine Elizabeth Bennet (played by Gemma Arterton) where they traded places and centuries. It kinda reminded me a bit of one of my favorite romantic-comedy films Holiday (starring Kate Winslet and Cameron Diaz). This was an interesting adaptation or rather quite a different take on Austen's Pride and Prejudice. The opening scene in episode one in the present and modern setting in London was pretty good and I loved the part where Amanda was reading the Pride and Prejudice novel's most popular first sentence (but was changed for what Amanda was really thinking and imagining herself into as she escaped and got lost in the pages of P&P in a different time/era...I thought that was brilliant and funny):
“It is a truth generally acknowledged that we are all longing to escape. I escape always to my favourite book Pride and Prejudice. I’ve read it so many times now the words just say themselves in my head and it’s like a window opening, it’s like I’m actually there. It’s become a place I know so intimately I can see that world, I can touch it. I can see Darcy. Whoa, Amanda. Now, where was I?” (Amanda Price)Then, one night, Amanda was startled as she came face to face with the novel's protagonist, Elizabeth Bennet. A small door in her apartment mysteriously links their worlds. As they traded places, Amanda becomes trapped on the other side, while Elizabeth remains in the modern world. As Amanda entered Elizabeth's world, the events of her favorite book unfolded in all the wrong ways. Amanda tried desperately to set things straight, but inevitably makes things worse. And that's when Amanda became an unlikable and unbearable character to watch in this mini-series...she had good intentions when she first arrived at the Bennet family's home, while Elizabeth swapped places with her in the modern world. Wished they had shown Elizabeth more and how she was living in the modern world at the same time as Amanda was in her world. She was barely seen after they switched places...not until later in episode 4 did we see Elizabeth again.
I didn't care much for Amanda (she was barely tolerable and not interesting enough for me to watch or root for her here, lol), so I'm going to skipped episode 2 and 3 and jumped right through episode 4 when Darcy followed her back to her modern world. Loved the first time Elizabeth & Mr. Darcy (played by Elliot Cowan...is it just me or doesn't he looked like Zack Morris from Saved By The Bell?) meet in modern London in episode 4 and the scene where she was telling him that she was his wife and she went to her boss' laptop computer to google search Darcy (and he came over to see it with her as she found a link to Colin Firth - Mr. Darcy...lol...a homage to CF's Darcy, indeed!) and I love what she said to him...
Elizabeth Bennet: "Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy of Pemberley? I am your wife."I thought that was funny...and kind of a foreshadowing of them as an actual couple from the original P&P novel and every P&P adaptations...unfortunately, they were not on this one...and I was let down when they did not end up together...
Mr. Darcy: "I do not recall marrying you, Madam. I think I would have noticed if I had."
Elizabeth Bennet: "We have been married nearly 200 years."
Overall, I thought Lost In Austen was good. It had a great scenery/locations, cool opening credits, interesting cast, and cinematography. The first two episodes started of so good, if only Amanda Price was not so annoying and ruin things (for the worse) along the way for the P&P characters of this mini-series...I would've liked the rest of the episodes more. Though I did enjoy seeing Hugh Bonneville (aka Lord Grantham in Downton Abbey) as Mr. Bennet and the lil' brief Elizabeth & Darcy moments. Even in their briefest scenes together, they were still a much better couple than Darcy and Amanda were or will ever be...it's ashamed they made Elizabeth Bennet an unimportant character in this version, when she was and had always been the main protagonist of P&P. Though it was interesting that even how very little her scenes here, Arterton's EB was still enjoyable to watch much more so than Amanda. I don't think there would be Darcy without Elizabeth (and vice versa...these two are Austen's iconic literary couple and to change their pairing as none existence in this version, just ruined my viewing for this series especially when Elizabeth was traded for an annoying and unlikable protagonist in this version like Amanda Price, who does not deserved to end up with Darcy when she ruined the events for every character in P&P as soon as she entered their world.
I would've liked Rooper's Amanda Price's character if 1) she wasn't so irritatingly annoying and rude 2) she was likable and 3) didn't take Elizabeth Bennet's place as Mr. Darcy's love interest. Wished Elizabeth Bennet wasn't reduced to a small role and I didn't like how they changed the original P&P ending for Elizabeth & Darcy to fulfill fangirl, Amanda's fantasies of ending up with Darcy...I think Jane Austen would be spinning in her grave for this change of her original creation (like the familiar saying "if it ain't broke, don't fix it." or rather if it's already great, don't change it)...lol. Even Amanda herself said something like "That's Jane Austen spinning in her grave." I guess they wanted to make it some kind of a twist or rather untypical, not what you expected kind of "happily ever after" ending. But still, that's messing up with the canon...as in you can't have Romeo without Juliet or Clark Kent/Superman without Lois Lane. Also, I didn't like that they made poor Jane marry the idiot Mr. Collins...that's a big no-no...she belongs to Bingley (and he shouldn't be attracted to Amanda...). Other than my issues with Amanda Price's character...this mini-series was still good. Just not something I would love watching multiple times (even though I own a DVD copy for this)...but that's just me and my own opinion, of course. You might like this more than I did...so see it for yourself, if you haven't already and are interested in seeing it.