Sunday, September 12, 2004

Not even the pretty could save this.

How appropriate is it that the last shot of Vanity Fair is an elephant's ass? OK, I know I'm being totally mean, but this wasn't that great of a flick. It was kind of an assy film.

I'll admit the following -- I wasn't seeing this movie for the writing or the acting. I wanted pretty, pretty costumes and pretty, pretty sets. But not even the pretty could save this movie.

I wanted to slap around every single person in this movie. The sympathetic portrayal of Becky Sharp -- who's supposed to be a gold-digging, social climbing bitch -- was a bit annoying. An interview with director Mira Nair indicated that she wanted Reese Witherspoon because of the American pluck that she represented. Bullshit. That's not what we want. We wanted someone who wasn't kind or nice or lurved her husband -- even though she married him for money.

I wanted someone who knew that the Marquess was a skeevy bastard and was smart enough to know how to get what she wanted from him. I wanted someone who knew how to use her money, beauty and wits better than what was seen on the screen.

I didn't get that. I didn't get a nice satire or commentary on how anal the English were in the social scene. I got a scrappy outsider claws her way to the top, realizes that's not what she wanted, loses it all and then rebounds to happiness in the end. Boooorrrrriiiinnnnggg. That's pretty much every single sports movie ever made. Only in this case, it was with empire dresses.

I did however learn one important thing from this movie: Never trust a man with a punk-rocker haircut in a period flick. He will betray you and be a bastard in the end.

Edited to add: Oh and Rhys Ifans was hot to me. Especially with the longer hair and beard. Why Amelia Sedley chose the poncy punk-rocker git over him I'll never figure out. If I was Amelia, I'd have been all over him in a second.


K. said...

Yeah, Vanity Fair wasn't great. But I dunno, "assy's" a bit harsh to me (which is surprising, cause i hate everything!). I'm just saying that because (and I hate to bring up Moll Flanders *again*) but when they brough that to the big screen they watered that down too. In the case of MF, they couldn't handle a story where the hero is a whore who abandons her several children, and marries (I believe) her half brother because he's "titled." Producers insist that women prefer romance to satire and that audiences can't handle amoral characters, particularly female ones, and even more so when they are a perky A-lister like Reese. One day a director will put out a movie that will prove them wrong. Just not Mira Nair/Vanity Fair.

Viv said...

It wasn't that bad. I mean, it wasn't The Doom Generation or anything, but these kind of movies don't work for me. I don't get why her friend was such a mild person. I do like that she stood by Becky, but dammit, she wasted her time of a fucktard with over-gelled hair. Admittedly, I also blame the studio system for taking the claws out of the cat, but in any case, I watched it and was annoyed by it. I expect more out of my movies -- or something smarter at least.

K. said...

I hear ya on that. I guess my expectations were kind of low in the first place. Not "Anchorman" low, but I kinda figured that the BBC version, if there was one (and there is!) would be better. And it's hard to do those kind of sprawling novels well anyway. In a way, if they weren't gonna do it right, I'm glad they took the fluffy costume drama route instead. I'm gonna rent the BBC version, I think.

Rhys Ifans was kinda good-looking in this, but his character annoyed me as much as Amelia. Those simpering bitches deserved each other.

Amanda said...

I think if I had known the novel well, I, too, would have probably been more dissappointed.

But news of the "Pride and Prejudice" remake has already pinged my crap radar (Keira Knightly as Lizzy?!?! NOOO!!! She's JANE at best!).

Viv said...

OK, you're talking to me here. I don't do simpering well. I'd have him on that piano in a heartbeat if I was Amelia. But this is why I don't do proper society well at all.