Monday, March 07, 2011

A pleasent enough diversion.

Pride and Prejudice: A Latter-day Comedy.

I finally saw the Mormon version of Pride and Prejudice. Overall, I enjoyed it. It’s hardly the best movie I’ve seen, or the best Mormon comedy film, or even in the top five of Pride and Prejudice adaptations, but I enjoyed it nonetheless.
I had a few weak points, mostly from the film editing, which was so obviously a novice job that it distracted from the movie at times (most jarring were the odd pauses in conversation created by the film editor not splicing various takes together very well). There were a few odd plot points as well – the Wickham character is, for comedy reasons, made a bit too dorky – so it’s hard to see why the Jane character fell in love with him.
However, I think the adaptation was mostly successful. I laughed often enough, so it’s clear I enjoyed myself while watching the movie. I think the part where Darcy explained why he told Wickham that Jane was engaged to another man worked very well, and the sacrament meeting talk was hilarious, mostly because it was too true (as a single guy at BYU, I heard way too many passive-aggressive sacrament meeting talks like that).
A lot of critics said this movie did not require an understanding of Mormon/BYU culture to enjoy. That is true – to an extent. The movie never explicitly states any of the characters are LDS, but frankly, it seems to me the movie requires some knowledge of Mormon/BYU culture to truly understand. The LDS references are not overt, yes – but they are used the way Mormons use them with each other. The movie is a lot like a conversation at a Ward Potluck. You’re talking with a fellow Mormon, and you rarely ever explicitly tell each other you are LDS. Instead, you make a lot of references to “The Ensign” (as this movie does) and other shared concepts. That’s the way this film works. Viewers could understand the broad strokes and about half the humor without any knowledge of the culture behind it all, but I find it difficult to think they could actually enjoy it to any real extent.
But if you are Mormon, this is a fun movie that’s worth your time. Not great, but there are a lot worse movies out there, and this one is a pleasant enough diversion.

1 comment:

John W. Morehead said...

Sorry for sending a message via comments but I couldn't track down your email. I read your chapter today in Battlestar Galactica and Philosophy. I work and write in religion and pop culture in places like my blog, TheoFantastique ( I'm wondering if you'd be interested in an interview on my blog to discuss Mormonism in BG and the broader realm of Mormon science fiction.