?

Log in

Previous Entry | Next Entry

Persuasion...

Good morning and welcome to the Infinitemonkeys 2.0 journal, where we will no longer be talking about music which is not quite obscure enough to be fashionable and making sad jokes about Paris Hilton flashing her over-pruned ladygarden at the perverted paps outside some trendier-than-thou Hollywood nightspot.
(And the fact that we read about it and say "my goodness, isn't this perverted. She really should put on some knickers. It must be draughty. Let me just buy this magazine so I can be censorious and smug in the comfort of my own home.")

Wait, April 1 was yesterday. Oh well, on with the show.

I begin with some very sad news. The new adaptation of Persuasion, Jane Austen's loveliest book and starring the smouldering goodness that is Rupert Penry-Jones and Anthony Stewart Head, is just *shite*. I mean seriously dreadful. Just when you've decided that the worst thing about it is the hackery of the script, the direction falls apart into a mass of overhead shots, pointless closeups and nausea-inducing handheld camerawork; just when you've decided that the problem is the direction, the acting hits a new twitching low.

It was always going to struggle to emerge from the shadow of the 1995 movie, which may be the best Austen adaptation ever. But it's as though the producers went into a meeting and said to the writer: "how can we make it different from the last adaptation?" And he replied: "I know, I'll add scenes that weren't in the book, move the brilliant Anne Elliot speech to completely the wrong place and make it so the hero CAN'T HEAR IT, ignore any commentary on the importance of class and money or social comedy and generally turn it into half-arsed Barbara Cartland." Producers: "Brilliant. Give that boy a Bafta"

You know you're in trouble from the first scene where Alice Krige, playing Lady Russell, waltzes into the dust-sheeted parlour at Kellynch and delivers the world's most obvious infodump
LADY RUSSELL: "so your impecunious father and sister, who have been spending money like water since the death of your poor, dear mother, are going to Bath and you're going to have to rent out your home to the rich relatives of your rather *foxy* former boyfriend, who has now returned from sea with a fortune, even though I warned you he might not amount to anything?"
ANNE ELLIOT: Yes.


I exaggerate but only slightly.

The performance from ASH was an interesting take on Sir Walter: instead of the dismissive fop of the 1995 version, you get a man furiously protective of his own status and angry at a world where that status is changing and it may be the one part of this production that actually works. Julia Davis was drafted in as a sneery Elizabeth Elliot and tossed a pointless, ill worked-through subplot. The woman who played Mary Musgrove swallowed all her lines and was permanently twitchy, like a masterclass in bad acting. The men in the production, aside from ASH and RPJ, were indistinguishable from each other. The other women weren't much better. Sally Hawkins as Anne Elliot started out wetter than an incontinent haddock and never improved. What was with all the stuttery, fluttery, flapping arms BULLSHIT? God knows what Wentworth saw in her.

It's hard to pick out the most gratuitous piece of utter, utter bollocks. Was it the scene where the screenwriter put Wentworth and Harville out in a force 10 gale on the Cobb at Lyme for no apparent bloody reason and made them talk about their FEELINGS?

Was it the bit where the writer, Simon Burke, left out all the stuff about Admiral Croft and Mrs Croft going to sea together, thus making it clear that all women can expect to do is look pretty in skirts? Or where he left out all the funny lines?

Was it the part where Burke shifted Anne Elliot's pivotal speech about constancy of feelings and the differences between men and women away from being a conversation with Harville which is overheard by Wentworth and persuades him to write that heart-stopping letter which is the culmination of all that happens in the book, and makes her give it to Benwick, while no one else is listening?

Or is it the giant trail of wank that is the last 15 minutes where Anne Elliot meets someone or other who *infodumps* the whole of the William Elliot subplot onto Anne like 15-year-old vomits after a pint of cider and black, again for no apparent reason and with no apparent regard for propriety. Then Anne goes off for a 10-minute jog round the streets of Bath looking for Captain Wentworth, much of it shot on handheld camera so shaky that you'd be forgiven for assuming the cameraman was recovering from a fortnight-long bender. Meanwhile Wentworth has just written the aforementioned heart-stopping letter a propos of absolutely fuck all, and is wandering about with a look of anguish that did not so much reflect "half-agony, half-hope" as "buggeration, I'm constipated and my trousers are too tight".

Why would you dismantle a plot that works and replace it with incoherent bollocks? Why would you do that? Why? Why? On the plus side, I quite enjoyed hating it. It was such shite.

1) Lately I have been mostly offline. Three parental visits in four weeks, work going a bit nuts, the fact that the front of my car rusted away and needed new stuff welded onto it in a manner likely to empty my bank account. Also a prevailing sense of meh. I think the word "meh" came into existence because some of us needed it but were too conscious of being pretentious to use the word weltschmerz and too aware that we are no longer seventeen-year-old goths to use the word angst. Still, I don't know why the young should have a monopoly on existential dread or aesthetic lifestyles.

I just can't be arsed with life at the moment

2) Sometimes I lament that I am no longer a part of any fandom. It's a good feeling, being part of that wave of love and enthusiasm. And then this weekend, when the ambient Shrill Stupidity Level hit radioactive orange on three fronts, I decided that outside fandom was a pretty nice place to be. I used to get rather caught up in the febrile convulsions of the Scandal o' the Day whereas now I blink and try to decide whether I want to waste more time trying to work out how to personalise and assign the ringtones on my new phone, rather than debating the racial semiotics of cats*.

(I am switching between Debaser by The Pixies and Mer Du Japon by Air for my ringtones, depending on how I am feeling. And I am not sure there's a song called "Oh God, What Have I Done Wrong Now?", so my mum doesn't yet have a tone assigned to her number)

*Disclaimer: This is not to say there were not valuable and interesting discussions going on. It's just that in any fannish discussion these days you're going to hit the wall of Stupid Self-Righteousness; Me-Too-Style Jumping Up And Down On The Corpse Of The Argument; You Have No Right To Be Offended About This Offensive Thing Because I Didn't Mean Any Offence, You Touchy Bitch and/or The Mean Girls Drive Me Out Of Fandom within two pages of comments

3) Last night, after a long day of trying to think of entertaining things to do on a Sunday in London with my aunt and mum, I watched Doctor Who on BBC3. It gave me a pure hit of joy such that all critical faculties immediately departed the area. I love this show.

I am completely beside myself with happiness that they're going to adapt this for two episodes late on in the series. Firstly because I love the story and secondly because the level of dramatic angst required to provide the motivation to get to the point where this plot would work will make the previous few episodes amazing. Hopefully. With a bit of luck.

And now it's a beautiful day, so I am going to take my mum's advice and go play outside. The garden needs digging and radio documentaries about poisons don't just listen to themselves you know.

Comments

( 21 comments — Leave a comment )
ropo
Apr. 2nd, 2007 02:31 pm (UTC)
radio documentaries about poisons don't just listen to themselves you know

You totally saved the best part for the end.

Don't poison me, mkay?
infinitemonkeys
Apr. 3rd, 2007 11:21 pm (UTC)
I promise you are safe from the poisoning. You I would never poison.
muridae_x
Apr. 2nd, 2007 02:55 pm (UTC)
Or is it the giant trail of wank that is the last 15 minutes where Anne Elliot meets someone or other who *infodumps* the whole of the William Elliot subplot onto Anne like 15-year-old vomits after a pint of cider and black

That would be her old schoolfriend Mrs Smith, who looked surprisingly sprightly for someone who's supposed to be housebound.

If they'd saved the 10 minutes of Anne running around, they could have done that bit properly and fitted in Wentworth eavesdropping on the conversation and covertly writing his letter. But maybe it was for the overseas viewers - sort of the Bath equivalent of seeing all the London sights as they whizz past you on a double decker bus? Or maybe the author thought that all this Regency nonsense was a bit dull, and could be livened up considerably with a nice chase scene?

Alas, poor Persuasion. I started off thinking that they were making a halfway-decent job of it, because the opening was reasonably good as a scene-setter for the Elliots' reduced circumstances and closing up the house to let it to tenants, but it committed too many sins as it went on, and the runaround at the end was just inexplicable. I wanted to slap Elizabeth every time she opened her mouth and revealed that she'd received another one of Anne's letters (and answered it on her behalf too), and sadly even ASH and Rupert Penry-Jones couldn't save it.

As for the look of anguish on Wentworth's face... he'd read the script, hadn't he?
infinitemonkeys
Apr. 3rd, 2007 11:22 pm (UTC)
I think that was what confused me. Wasn't Mrs Smith bedridden? And why was she called Harriet? He also gave Harville a first name. Poor old ASH and RPJ, I want them to have projects worthy of their hotness talent.
nestra
Apr. 2nd, 2007 03:09 pm (UTC)
Oh, blah. I am sad about Persuasion.

As for the rest, wank has melted my brain. I passed the point where I should have stopped about two days ago, but I'm only realizing that now, so it's no help.
infinitemonkeys
Apr. 3rd, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
I don't think you should blame yourself for being dragged into the whirlpool of wank like some innocent piece of flotsam. These things suck in all senses
snacky
Apr. 2nd, 2007 03:13 pm (UTC)
Sometimes I lament that I am no longer a part of any fandom. It's a good feeling, being part of that wave of love and enthusiasm. And then this weekend, when the ambient Shrill Stupidity Level hit radioactive orange on three fronts, I decided that outside fandom was a pretty nice place to be.

Ugh. I'm still wearing my protective jumpsuit to ward off contamination. Lime green is not a good color on me, damn it!

radio documentaries about poisons don't just listen to themselves you know.

If you put anything you learn to good use, be sure and share! :-D
infinitemonkeys
Apr. 3rd, 2007 11:25 pm (UTC)
I should have tips on curare and aflatoxin. I love my Radio 4
cofax7
Apr. 2nd, 2007 03:14 pm (UTC)
Oh, dear. I had such hopes--ASH and RPJ! I'm saddened.

I'm very sorry to hear about your car. What's the word on the house renovation, anyway?

Getting outdoors is a good thing when the online world is overtaken by wank. I would have done well to go running this morning and clear my head (I was noticeably cranky last night); but at least I brought my gym togs to work so I could go sweat and lift weights during the afternoon...

Cats. I ask you.

(My cousin's family is in town visiting and I lent them my car for the next two days, which is fine except I forgot to clear out the cds, and I left the Just Sideways cds in there. They may be confused. *g*)
sophia_helix
Apr. 2nd, 2007 03:32 pm (UTC)
Rats. I was hoping it would be good... although that's also sort of a lie, since I love the old Persuasion so much and was worried about it being replaced. *g*

In other news, I just wanted to share that Spaced is now officially mine, thanks to Amazon.co.uk, a brother-in-law living in London, and an all-region DVD player which may or may not have been purchased solely for this purpose.
thehornedgod
Apr. 2nd, 2007 03:46 pm (UTC)
Eh, I like Persuasion but watched Louis Theroux instead. If I'd known ASH and RPJ were in it I might not have been so lucky.

Yeah, I'm looking forward to Human Nature too.

It's a good feeling, being part of that wave of love and enthusiasm.

*hollow laugh*
laurashapiro
Apr. 2nd, 2007 04:02 pm (UTC)
I am overjoyed to hear that you are feeling the Doctor Who love, even if fandom in general isn't turning you on. It was certainly a banner week for wank. Oy.

Doctor Who affects me the same way it does you. Critical faculties? What are those? Analysis? Who needs it? Give me more of the silly aliens, running down corridors holding hands, mile-a-minute dialogue, and UST please, kthxbye.

In conclusion: DW squee OMG!
sinsense
Apr. 2nd, 2007 04:03 pm (UTC)
On the plus side, I quite enjoyed hating it. It was such shite.
That may be the only reason why I will ever see this adaptation. Anne giving the speech to Benville when no one is listening is my particular favorite; I can't even imagine the adaptation that would do this. But apparently it exists! Such things boggle my mind.
loligo
Apr. 2nd, 2007 04:29 pm (UTC)
I think the word "meh" came into existence because some of us needed it but were too conscious of being pretentious to use the word weltschmerz and too aware that we are no longer seventeen-year-old goths to use the word angst.

Once upon a time, I was complaining about that very feeling, and calling it a sense of malaise. And my youngest sister said, "You know, that's French for 'the lames'." Then we all died and were dead from laughter, and ever after we in my family have used the phrase "I've got the lames" when we feel that way.
herself_nyc
Apr. 2nd, 2007 04:34 pm (UTC)
Oh dear, that PERSUASION does indeed sound totally dreadful. Yet I still want to see it. Even more so because apparently I can't find a torrent.
se_parsons
Apr. 2nd, 2007 04:38 pm (UTC)
I DO wish I had been there to mock this thing with you, especially after having gone on the Jane Austen pilgrimage the first time I went over there.

I will have to watch and yell rude things at the television when it comes here.
davidhearne
Apr. 2nd, 2007 05:02 pm (UTC)
Thanks to that evil, evil thing known as YouTube, I saw "Smith and Jones" yesterday. Does it make me a bad person to suspect that Martha will be a better character than Rose? (Or to suspect that Rose owed more to Billie Piper's charm than to the writers?)

But, yeah, it was a good peppy episode. And it had rain teleporting a hospital to the moon, rhino-headed bounty hunters and an old woman drinking blood through a straw.

By the way, did you recognize the guy playing the hospital administrator? Here's a hint -- "Herr Torvalk, if I had a glass in my hand, I would shove it down your throat."
predictivememo
Apr. 2nd, 2007 07:20 pm (UTC)
It was a beautiful day, and I played outside as well.

Oh, and I finally plucked up the courage. Tomorrow ;p
comice
Apr. 2nd, 2007 11:30 pm (UTC)
I know you are outside of fandom these days, but yours was the prevailing opinion on Austen boards I visited today vis a vis Persuasion. How disappointing!

Plz to be passing on the poisoning tips, thnks.
minnow1212
Apr. 3rd, 2007 12:16 am (UTC)
Wah! Don't mess with Austen, people.

Also, argh at the rusty car.
fourteenlines
Apr. 3rd, 2007 06:11 am (UTC)
Erg. That sounds quite a lot like the problems I had with the theatrical release of Pride and Prejudice. I think I'll give this one a miss (or maybe get very drunk and MST it, if only to see ASH.)
( 21 comments — Leave a comment )

Latest Month

January 2017
S M T W T F S
1234567
891011121314
15161718192021
22232425262728
293031    
Powered by LiveJournal.com
Designed by Tiffany Chow