Site ColumnsBy Michelle
September 15, 2004 - 3:11 PM
This is my week for confessional columns. I saw Vanity Fair this weekend, and wanted to talk about how much I liked it, but in order to do so I must first admit that I never managed to finish the book, despite having nearly finished a Ph.D. in English literature. I did Renaissance drama and modern fiction; the pleasures of the English novel have largely eluded me, though I'm a great enthusiast for Dickens and I enjoyed what Hardy I read. But I've never been able to stay awake through Austen, I'm a terrible feminist in that I don't enjoy the Brontes, and Thackeray just frustrated me. In fact my favorite pre-20th century novel is that French epistolary tome Les Liaisons Dangereuses.
So it is in profound ignorance of what might have been that I say I really loved Vanity Fair. It's a beautifully constructed movie, with lovely detail in the costumes and set decorations, and the casting couldn't have been better as far as I'm concerned. I've liked Reese Witherspoon in everything I've ever seen her in, which does not include her big hits Legally Blonde and Sweet Home Alabama (in fact she first came to my attention in a modern adaptation of Les Liaisons Dangereuses, Cruel Intentions). She strikes a very nice balance as Becky, tough and cutting without being unsympathetic, and the film rather does the same in its somewhat muddled parallels between the conditions of the working class and the parts of the world colonized by Britain. James Purefoy and Gabriel Byrne are quite entertaining as well.
I've already had friends moan at me for liking a movie that so shamelessly alters both the tone and details of the novel, but I can't bring myself to get distressed. The film of The Great Gatsby is a thoroughly unsuccessful adaptation of Fitzgerald as far as I'm concerned, but it's an interesting and enjoyable movie in its own right. I've thought two of the three Harry Potter movies improved on the storytelling of the books -- I don't tend to think of the books as deep and profound, sorry -- and if I may blaspheme, I prefer Peter Jackson's interpretation of Tolkien's characters to what's on the page. So Vanity Fair may be an English classic and the film may not fulfill its potential, but what production of Hamlet has ever incorporated every possible interpretation and nuance? For the first time I actually want to finish reading the novel, and that has to count for something.
Trek BBS Today
Below are some of the topics currently being discussed at the Trek BBS:
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Trek Two Years Ago
These were some of the major news items from September 2002:
- 'Enterprise' Wins Two Creative Emmys
Enterprise became the only UPN show to take home any Emmy awards at the Creative Arts ceremony, winning for visual effects and hairstyling.
- First 'Shockwave, Part II' Review Online
The first posted review of "Shockwave, Part II" said that the episode suffered from a common problem with two-part Star Trek episodes: the conclusion didn't live up to the setup, with a simple "by-the-numbers resolution" to the cliffhanger.
- First 'Minefield' Image Revealed
Dominic Keating appeared to be floundering in space as Malcolm Reed in this story, where the armory officer got stuck on the hull whilst attempting to detach a mine. The episode was the first contributed to the series by former X-Files writer John Shiban.
More news can be found in the archives.
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This Week's Television Listings
Friday night at 8:00 p.m. Eastern Time, UPN will show a rerun of Star Trek: Enterprise's "Zero Hour". Here's the official synopsis of the episode:
With Earth in sight, Archer, Hoshi, Reed and a small team race to intercept the charging superweapon, sneak past the Xindi Reptilian onboard and disarm it from within, but while the gambit could save humanity, it may cost Archer his life. Back in the Delphic Expanse, T'Pol and Enterprise attempt to obliterate a key Sphere in the region before the furious Sphere Builders tear the ship apart and the region's degenerative effects kill the crew.