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BBC War and Peace [Jan. 4th, 2016|11:53 am]
alley_skywalker
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So, the BBC has premiered it's adaptation of War and Peace. Yes, the one I've mentioned here before.



I'm still pissed about Dolokhov's casting. (He's Tom Burke, the one on very far left.) I know that I should just let it go, but aghhh. This is the one adaptation that people will likely turn to for visualization/making graphics in this fandom and Tom Burk bears zero resemblance to Dolokhov. I also find him extremely unattractive so that doesn't help.

Casting woes aside though, I watched the first ep last night on the BBC One livesterem and then did a re-watch today.

SPOILERS

Two general comments right off:
1. While everything is very pretty, some of the costumes are ridiculously anachronistic. Like, even I can tell and I’m bad at historic fashions.
2. Most of the actors obviously did not bother to practice saying the Russan names in their lines. The patronymics get butchered especially and Callum Turner can’t seem to pronounce “Petrushka” to save his life.

Paul Dano doesn’t disappoint as Pierre. He gives a slightly different portrayal that Alexander Beyer and probably most other actors in this role have but it’s not bad. Actually there’s even something refreshing in this more lively Pierre he comes off as just terribly over-earnest as opposed to borderline stuffy if sweet and well-meaning. Basically, Dano’s Pierre is an utter cinnamon roll.

Odd seeing Anna Pavlovna refer so positively to Vasili's children. Given that she did like Helene but she regarded Anatole badly. (Because Anatole was never a socialite. That wasn’t ever actually his primary social circle.)

Boris saying “Please, Mama, it’s embarrassing” is a nice added touch. It will fall into such wonderful contrast later on when he begins his social climbing career. (But seriously, the way Anna Mikhailovna keeps referring to him as “my poor boy” is pretty awful.)

Prince Vasili is way too brusque with Anna Mikhailovna, it’s not really his way.

Ok, people take the “three kisses” Russian tradition a little too far. It’s nothing something that would be done by a man and woman in a high society salon in the early 1800s lol.

These Pierre and Andrei actually have some chemistry.

On Andrei in general: Well, first off, James Norton is too much of a pretty-boy for this part. But also, this Andrei is very emo where canon Andrei is more…cold-and-distant. I don’t think this is so much Norton’s fault as the writers/directors. I think if Andrei was like this in the book I’d probably like him more. Although, tbh, there are still things that piss me off about how. Like everything to do with Lise <_<

Whaaaat? No windowsill drinking bet? But it’s icon! Every other adaptation has it. *sulk* I mean, I get it. Not the most important thing to keep in, but it’s such a fun scene. At least we get glimpses of the bear in Pierre’s flashbacks.

I do like some of the inclusion choices: Boris and Natasha’s kiss, Catiche and Vasili’s plotting…

Mlle Bourienne is so cute. I love how excited she and Lise are to see each other.

Every adaptation I hope for that scene at the Braunau inspection where Dolokhov stands up to that one general and every adaptation it’s not there. I mean, I get it, it’s not very important in the large scheme of things but it’s such a fantastic, near-defining character moment for Dolokhov…

(And this is where I am grimly, spitefully pleased that Andrei doesn’t get that moment where he rallies the troops with a standard in hand.)

“I was out riding at dawn.” And what, or rather who, exactly were you riding, mon cher? :p

Speaking of the Kuragins. I still think the incest is totally unnecessary and is really just there for cheap shock value. Although watching their scene in bed is certainly a guilty pleasure of mine lol. The actors play very well off each other and have a good amount of chemistry. As a duo, they give off exactly the right vibe (minus the incest). But individually… There’s something just slightly off about both of them. I can’t quite put my finger on it. There hasn’t been a lot of Anatole yet so the jury is still out there. With Helene…there’s something off, especially when she’s flirting. She doesn’t quite have that slight air of self-assured imperiousness that you would expect from a socialite of her quality. Even at this point, where she hasn’t quite come into her own yet, there would be a bit of aloof distance to her. I don’t really know how to describe it but it’s a balance that Violante Placido managed beautifully in the 2007 adaptation and Middleton doesn’t quite catch here. Middleton’s Helene tries too hard, I guess. (But she is bewitching nonetheless.)

“Alright my little bunny rabbit.” HAHAHA. That was the best line of the episode, I swear! (But, more seriously, I think that whole thing with Nikolai was very well done. On the other hand, it did feel like there was less War in this ep than I expected there to be somehow.)

Overall, this adaptation definitely has a somewhat different feel than any of the ones I’ve seen before. It certainly has budget perks over the 2007 adaptation. I can already see that they’re going for a glossier, edgier feel (as they had intended). I’m not sure whether or not I like that yet, but the episode was fun and the fact that I didn’t come away with a whole new list of things to be angry about is a pretty good sign in and of itself. So, we shall see how it goes
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Comments:
[User Picture]From: starcrossed
2016-01-04 08:02 pm (UTC)
so I've never read this book and probably never will but I enjoyed it! It's pretty (in the same way Downton is) and Russia is such a dramatic and romantic setting for everything. I adore Pierre. So the incest thing is part of the book or no?
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[User Picture]From: alley_skywalker
2016-01-05 11:33 am (UTC)
No, the incest isn't really in the book. There is one time that Pierre muses that he once heard a rumor that Helene and Anatole were in love with each other or something like that, but that's all there is on the subject.
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[User Picture]From: evelyn_b
2016-01-05 12:49 am (UTC)
I can't wait to watch this! I am CRUSHED to hear that there was no windowsill drinking scene! But I am still going to watch the hell out of it as soon as I can.

I'm also sad to hear about the butchered pronunciation. Apparently, this is a huge problem in English-language TV and I don't understand why the production team doesn't just hire someone to stand around the set and correct the actors a little. Would it really add that much to the budget? Are Russians so hard to find in the English-speaking world? (the answer to the last question is no).
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[User Picture]From: alley_skywalker
2016-01-05 11:31 am (UTC)
It was definitely fun. I'm very eager to see the next episode.
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