Part of owning a video store is that you a) you have to watch the movies and b) you get to listen to the trailers running over and over and over again while you work. A well put together trailer will draw you and in make you want to rent the movies.
Which, of course, is good marketing and in this case it worked a little too well. As you all are aware, I’m a big fan of these types of films. So after listening repeatedly to the new Jane Eyre trailer for the past for weeks, well I was intrigued to watch this new version.
You see, it promised a “bold new vision” and focused the trailer on the spookier aspects of the film. Cool. But it was not to be. What I watched was not particularly good. It was choppy and missed a lot of what I felt to be key elements of the film. It was like they took a scene and then omitted 50% of the dialogue. You got no sense of how this relationship developed between Mr. Rochester and Jane, how he tried to make her jealous by courting Blanche Ingram. Oh Blanche was in the film but it was almost a passing thing.
Same as for Mrs. Rochester. They couldn’t omit the famous fire in the bed scene but did they focus on any of the eerie laughter Jane occasionally would hear and the “remember orders, Grace” by Mrs. Fairfax. Not a bit of it.
They glossed over her relations with St. John, you got no idea of his domineering personality and how he almost broke her down, they didn’t even mention that they were cousins. Sure there were some good acting scenes, Mia Wasikowska who played Jane did a superb job in the scene where she says “do you think that just because I am poor, little and obscure that I am soulless and heartless?”
I get that a lot of the cutting down has to do with screen time and costs etc but really, I wish these filmmakers would realize that you can’t take epic novels like this and condense it all down into 90 minutes. Can you imagine what it would have been like if they had of done that to the Lord of the Rings?
One of our employees thought this version was fantastic. Although I seriously doubt she’s ever read the book. Anyways, this got me thinking about past versions of Jane Eyre.
My favourite version to date has to be the tv mini series with Timothy Dalton and Zelah Clarke. Perhaps I like this version the best is because as it was a mini series they actually took more time with it.
Sure it was a little cheesy and Timothy Dalton comes across as far too handsome for the role he is playing but the script is true to the book as is the dialogue.
I see that there has been another mini tv series with Toby Stephens as Mr. Rochester (I loved him in a Tenant of Wildfell Hall)so I am going to have to check it out.
Even this 1996 version of Jane Eyre with John Hurt and Charlotte Gainsbourg was better than the one I watched this week. The main reason I couldn’t get into this one was that the relationship between Jane and Mr. Rochester didn’t seem believable. Of course a lot got cut out and paraphrased in this version too.
There is even another one with Ciaran Hinds (another favourite actor of mine) and Samantha Morton but I can’t remember if I’ve watched it or not. Apparently it didn’t get great reviews and a lot of the dialogue was re-written which is always a shame when they do that.
Do you have a favourite?