Tuesday, April 15, 2008

A view, yes, but of what?

I used to think that there was always room in the world for one more adaptation of a classic, beloved novel. I myself have seen three different versions of Jane Eyre, and I love all of them for different reasons.

Unfortunately, I was forced to change my mind last night after watching A Room With a View on Masterpiece Theatre. My disappointment was probably enhanced by the fact that I had really been looking forward to it. I even sacrificed Miriam's bedtime routine to be able to watch it (she fell asleep right after bath time, not even in her jammies, wrapped in a towel sitting with me on the papa-san).

That's right - it just wasn't that good. In fact, it was kind of bad. I don't know that it made a lot of sense to people who either hadn't read the book or hadn't seen the original 1985 version with Helena Bonham Carter. I know I was drawing heavily on my memories of that version to fill in the background of the movie. It may have just been a case of trying to fit too much into 90 minutes - the tables having been turned with the Hollywood movies usually getting short shrift compared to television miniseries.

But if it was a case of "not enough time," then what's with a) the semi-sex scene near the end, and b) the new tacked-on ending?

Dear Masterpiece Theatre: Just FYI, high up on the list of "Things I Never Needed to See" was "a sex scene in A Room With a View." This from someone who tries not to complain about the skinny-dipping scene in the original version because it really is quite funny, especially if you avert your eyes from the screen.

And who ever took a novel, adapted it for PBS, and then thought, "This ending is a little too happy. Let's make it sad and depressing"?

I suppose that's what I get for trying to branch out from LOST being the only show on TV that I watch. Now Masterpiece Theatre, of all things, is on notice. We'll see how they do next week with "My Boy Jack." Maybe.


Suzanne Bubnash said...

Help me out w/ Room With A View--is there a part 2? Cause if last night's broadcast is all there is, then I don't get the story. A post-Victorian gal turns into a liberated woman, sheds her predictable, boring life, allows an over-sexed cad to take over her life. And he was a good man, she says. So what?

Lark said...

Ok, when I first read your post I thought, "oh man, I missed it!" But when I finished your post I was really glad that I did miss it!
I also loved loved loved the Helena Bohnam Carter version - all the characters were fabulous! Don't you just love Daniel Day Lewis and Helena BC had such great facial expressions - her interpretation of Lucy was so good. Anyway, loved the book and original show (even the bathing scene too!).
Thanks for the review - now I know I didn't miss out :)


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