Modesto Jane Con: Opera Modesto Presents Mansfield Park

So I had to take a break from finishing my review of Modesto Jane Con, as we had Valentine’s Day posts and some other things, but now I am ready to finish reviewing Modesto Jane Con.

So if you have been following me on social media, you know I have been super excited about Modesto Jane Con. The past eight years I have seen pictures from different Jane Cons and festivals and wished I could go-but they were not possible for me to attend as it always came down to a problem of time, money, work, etc. Instead I had to be content with seeing pictures on social media.

I’m sad…

But then Modesto Jane Con was created!

From January 10th-12th there were all kinds of workshops, activities, movies, an opera, and even a fashion show!

Your $30 ticket allowed you to attend the workshops (BOTH DAYS) and see one showing of Mansfield Park Opera (your choice of Saturday or Sunday).

That was it, I was going! And I convinced my book club + my sister to join me. I scrounged around for a costume (I’ll post on that later) and made sure to bring a notebook to take copious notes on the workshop and opera to-of course post on them later (as I am now).

So the first workshop of the day was Gowns & GroansAfter that you had your choice of The Definitive Darcy and Lizzie or Start You Own Book Club. The third workshop was your choice of Dressing the Regency Lady or Are You a Long-Lost Austen? Searching Your Family Tree.

So after Dressing the Regency Lady, we had about an hour and fifteen mins before the Mansfield Park Opera pre-show talk by Hillari DeSchane. We checked out a few things and had lunch, and then headed to the Opera.

The building was really cool as it was a classic theater showing old, foreign, & independent films that also hosts concerts & events. It has a snack bar that serves popcorn, wine, soft drinks, and espresso. I really wanted tea, but it didn’t serve any. Oh, well…

So quick review of the book, for those of you who might not have read it. Mansfield Park is the story of Fanny Price, a sweet kind girl-niece to the Bertram family, who was sent to stay with the Bertrams. Instead of being treated as family, she is seen as “lesser” because of the “bad blood” inherited from her father who her mother “married down” to.

She is particularly mistreated by her evil aunt, Mrs. Norris, and two cousins; all of which take pride in bossing her around and being as cruel as can be. Fanny is the essence of sweetness, taking this injustice in stride and trying to remain optimistic in a bad situation.

The life of the Bertrams are interrupted when a Mr. Henry Crawford and Miss Mary Crawford come to visit their half-sister Mrs. Grant. Mary is set on winning the eldest Bertram, but finds her interest captured by the younger brother, Edmund,-even though he is intent on being a minister and Mary finds religion hypocritical. Fanny has loved Edmund since she was young, but he has never thought of her in such a way and he is now completely captivated by Mary. Henry Crawford’s sole interest is to upset the apple cart by going after the Bertram sisters for sport, having no intent of being serious or facing any consequences. Will the Bertrams and Fanny survive this?

That is not good,

The Mansfield Park Opera was a part of the Story into Song Literacy Initiative and worked with a lot of literacy advocacy organizations, (such as the Becoming Jane Austen Book Club, Modesto Library, Modesto Friends of the Library, and more) and half of the cast are making their solo professional debuts. Pretty amazing!

So like when I did my Psycho (1960) review, I brought my notebook and took notes in the dark of my thoughts of the performance. Hopefully I can still read them.

So we attended the preshow with Hillari DeSchane:

Hillari DeSchane is a JASNA life member and a board member of Opera Modesto. Her pre-show opera talks have become audience favorites. DeSchane’s first Regency pet cozy: A Christmas Tail: A Regency Holiday Mystery received a Certificate of Merit from the Cat Writers Association hillarideschane.com

So the program gave a copy of the full talk, but I’m not going to write it word for word. I’ll just write my notes and paraphrase a bit.

So taking a book as long and complex as Mansfield Park and cutting it down to a two-hour opera is no easy feat. Mansfield Park is a “tapestry of human emotion and psychology.” (Deschane).

In the opera they strip the book down to the central theme and a small number of characters. The story is told as a chamber opera, more intimate-like a theater in the round. The opera itself is group centered, with no arias or being solo based.

The opera also focus on the theme of “The Fall of Man” and the “Expulsion from Eden.” Mansfield Park is Eden, a paradise, and each character is tempted by their own personal snakes, with many falling victim to their pleasures and “biting the apple”.

As seen with the recent TV show Sandition, there are many who think Austen needs to be sexier and steamier but truth is-they just need to remake Mansfield Park as it has it all: gambling, drinking, seduction, adultery-just full of thse vices without modern additions.

We really see the focus of this motiff in Scene 5: Chapter Five. In the Wilderness. Here they explore Mr. Rushworth’s home in Sotherton, where they walk a “serpentine path”. Henry offers to explore with Maria Bertram while her fiance is gone, tempting her with the two being alone together, even singing “how tempting those pathways that lie hidden-how much sweeter are the joys we are forbidden.” Edmund is given the choice to wait with Fanny while she rests from the walk, or to go off with Mary alone-and he walks off with Mary forgetting all about Fanny on her own.

The ending was changed to be more happily ever after for all, (in the novel people have to face the consequences of their actions), but I didn’t mind too much.

So the ten characters we have are:

  1. Fanny Price (Alexandra Jernic)
  2. Edmund Bertram (Andrew Pardini)
  3. Mary Crawford (Angela Yam)- Professional Opera debut
  4. Henry Crawford (Emmanuel Mercado)
  5. Maria Bertram (Darby Schmidt)-Professional Opera debut
  6. Julia Bertram (Brylan Finley)- Professional Opera debut
  7. Mr. Rushworth (Luca Mitchell)- Professional Opera debut
  8. Aunt Norris (Alison Collins)
  9. Lady Bertram (Anakira Gabriella-Graça)
  10. Sir Thomas Bertram (Brad Reed)- Professional Opera debut

From The Modesto Bee. Left to Right: Lady Bertram, Sir Thomas Bertram, Fanny Price, Henry Crawford, Mary Crawford, and Edmund Bertram.

There is no Tom, although he is mentioned, and sadly no William Price who I love. Oh, well.

Sad really.

So the opera was AMAZING! As I mentioned in an earlier post the group of us who came varied in our knowledge of Mansfield Park. One book club member had never read or seen a film version of Mansfield Park (or any Jane Austen beside The Darcy Monologues), one book club member had seen the 2007 film version, my sister had seen the 2007 version and the 1999 version years ago, and I had read the book and seen the 1999 film, 2007 film, & the 1983 miniseries. However, all were able to follow the storyline and completely comprehend and bcome fully involved in the story.

We all loved the music and found everyone to be entertaining, talented, amazing, and that they completely captured the characters they were portraying.

Fanny was perfect! She had an amazing voice; along with perfect facial expressions. I’m not a big opera fan (as in I don’t watch them all the time), and this was my first time attending one, but one thing I have noticed when I’ve seen the films or clips of Operas is that they don’t always focus on the acting-more on the singing. Alexandra Jernic was spot on. The way she looked at Edward when singing, as if they were the only ones in the room. The incredible sorrow when seeing Edward and Mary together and knowing his preference for Mary over Fanny. Or the ball scene when all are happy and excited for what the night will bring, but Fanny who all this is supposed to be for her, but she is sad and alone as her love is excited to dance with another.

Mrs. Norris was just as perfect. You hated her as immediately-every time she sang and the way she acted toward Fanny, I don’t know if there has been a better one.

Mr. Rushworth was wonderful. He was kind caring, goofy, hilarious. It amazed me that he was only 18 when he was so talented.

Another thing I really enjoyed about the performance is that  each character had their own distinctive music, tone, and speed. For instance Mr. Rushworth’s was fast and quick, just like how his character spoke in the book and sang-while Henry’s music was slower, softer, more seductive.

We also loved seeing the costumes and how they looked on the performers, as in an earlier workshop we saw the swatches. We also kept an eye out for Kristine Doiel’s favorite dress of the production, the gray number that Mary Crawford wears in Scene 5: Chapter Five. In the Wilderness. It was originally worn by Anne de Bourgh in the Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. I tried to get a good picture, but this was all I got:

But the one who stole the show for me was Angela Yam, Mary Crawford.

Every time she entered the stage all my attention went to her. She had an amazing voice and was equally amazing in her acting. One of the best scenes was when she and Edward first see each other, the way she doesn’t sing anything other than hello, but her whole body language is changed. The rest of the scene continues in the way she acts and looks. It was fantastic. That continued throughout the whole Opera as she was able to convey sooo much in her tone, a look, a motion. I was surprised this was her debut as she just blew me away. I stopped taking notes as I just wanted to enjoy her performance.

We had to leave after the opera and head home, but we did all the way humming, singing, and talking about how much we enjoyed it.

It was a wonderful experience and I am so happy to have been able to watch it. If I could have, I would have stayed the next day and watched it again.

For more on Modesto Jane Con, go to Modesto Jane Con: Looking Around the Library, Lunch, and a Crazy Random Happenstance

For more Mansfield Park, go to Rational Creatures: Fanny Price & Mary Crawford

For more Mansfield Park adaptions, go to Little Literary Classics Mansfield Park Cloth Book

For more Hillari DeSchane, go to Modesto Jane Con: Gowns & Groans, A Costumer Looks at Regency Costumes on Film and Stage

For more Opera, go to Desire & Decorum: Chapter 8, Ill Repute

Modesto Jane Con: Gowns & Groans, A Costumer Looks at Regency Costumes on Film and Stage

So Modesto Jane Con was this past weekend. From January 10th-12th there were all kinds of workshops, activities, movies, an opera, and even a fashion show!

I, unfortunately, could only go on Saturday, but I had so much fun and I can’t wait until the next one! If there is a next one…

So your $30 ticket allowed you to attend the workshops (BOTH DAYS) and see one showing of Mansfield Park Opera (your choice of Saturday or Sunday).

I dressed up for the event (I’ll post on that later) and brought a reticule my sister made. Reticules are tiny, so I couldn’t pack everything in my bag-just the essentials. Debit card, credit card, ID, fan, gloves, pens, glasses (as I was wearing contacts) and a handkerchief. I wasn’t too worried about the size of the reticule though, as I had planned on purchasing one of their cute tote bags.

I also brought my notebook, as I planned on taking notes and later posting them (as I am now).

Our group was traveling from 1.5-2 hours away (depending on that CA traffic) and left around seven and arrived a little after 8:30. We actually headed to the theater as I was looking at the wrong event. You know me and navigating, I always get lost!

I then redirected our group, and we went to the library. We easily checked in and finished just as they announced the first workshop: Gowns & Groans

So of course, we were excited about this workshop. We wanted to learn more about the Regency gowns and who can resist the chance to snark about costumes?

Let the snark begin!

This workshop was run by Kristine Doiel and Hillari DeSchane

“Costumes have a coded language all their own. They can transport us back to Austen’s time and speak volumes about the characters, or they can be a constant distraction and prevent us from losing ourselves in the unfolding drama. Join veteran costumer Kristine Doiel on a lively, and likely to be controversial, stroll through this Regency costume Hall of Fame and Shame.”

Kristine Doiel is a costume designer and theater educator with over 50 theater and dance productions to her credit. A lecturer at Fresno State since 2017, she has taught costume and theater classes and mentored student designers. Awards include the UC Davis Provost’s Fellowship in Arts, the Princess Grace Foundation Theater Grant and a Dramalogue Award for costume design for The Rivals in Santa Barbara.

Hillari DeSchane is a JASNA life member and a board member of Opera Modesto. Her pre-show opera talks have become audience favorites. DeSchane’s first Regency pet cozy: A Christmas Tail: A Regency Holiday Mystery received a Certificate of Merit from the Cat Writers Association hillarideschane.com

Picture by Arnold Chavez

So Doiel started off the workshop talking about her background; moved onto the judging of the film depictions, finished with her experiences in costuming the Mansfield Park Opera, and concluded with a Q&A.

Part I: Doiel’s Background

Doiel shared that didn’t have a background in Regency wear, and had to do research on it-being an archeologist, literary analyst, and art historian all in one. I enjoyed this aspect of her talk as you don’t really think about that when watching a film or performance, that not only do the clothes have to be accurate-but they have to reflect the action of the scene, the context of the characters, and the literature of the piece.

That’s a lot

It reminded me of when I studied art history and how you looked at the art and what it was saying, but at the same time also looked into what was happening at the time and how that influenced it. There are many layers you have to work through-such as a self portrait of an artist wearing red, blue, and white takes on a different meaning when it was created post-French revolution, such as to show liberty, fraternity, that is one of the new citizens, etc.

Part II: Gowns & Groans

The next part of the discussion was Doiel reviewing the clothing choices in Mansfield Park (1999), Mansfield Park (2007), and Pride and Prejudice (1940).

So to start with, I do not like Mainsfield Park (1999). 

Not for me..

Eventually I will review it, but as for now-we will get back to the clothes.

Gowns:

Doiel felt that quite a bit of the costumes in here were accurate. Lady Bertram wore flimsy, lacy gowns that looked like something the wealthy class would wear, but older-late 1700s and post-French Revolution. It fits as Lady Bertram wouldn’t be at the height of fashion, but wearing something more her time. Maria, Julia, and the men were all accurate.

Groans:

So here is the good part, let’s start talking trash! J/K, Doiel was very kind in her remarks, trying to not be too judgmental and try to reason why a certain outfit would have been picked.

The first offender: Fanny Price played by Frances O’Conner

So in this Fanny wears a lot of what looks like a jumper or vest over a shirt. This is not accurate at all. Instead the film, which is one reason why I can’t stand it, doesn’t follow the book at all when it comes to Fanny’s character. Instead, they turn Fanny into Jane Austen, and emphasize the writing aspect, dressing her in this more masculine, “writing type” outfit. I call it a “writing type” outfit as when I saw this the first time it made me think of Jo in the 1933 version and she was a writer. It also is similar to what Jo wears in the 2019 version of Little Women.

The other offender: Mary Crawford.

All of Mary’s clothes were too contemporary. I mean look at the dress above, it is something that we were wearing at the start of the millennium, rather than 185 years earlier. remember wearing sleeves like that on my clothes.

She also has an outfit with a giant collar, that is just what? Doiel pointed out that the person in charge of wardrobe would have the resources and done the research on what was accurate and somebody (whether them, the studio, actor, or the director) picked this for a purpose. Doiel didn’t know why, but guessed that either the director or actor wanted something more modern to relate to audiences.

Mary’s outfits definitely were the worst.

So Mansfield Park (2007) is not the most accurate of films, as they cut a lot out to keep it at standard movie time length-however I am apparently one of the few that actually enjoys it.

Gowns: 

She didn’t talk about any she liked as it was time to move onto the next section.

Groans:

The offender here was Billie Piper as Fanny Price.

So Doil noticed that Piper wore a wide range of styles and thought maybe it was so varied as the production wanted her to be wearing hand-me-down gowns. There is a diamond dress that she wears that is completely inaccurate to the time period. Also her hair is one hundred percent wrong, as it is too modern, and she would have had it pinned up as she isn’t a young child. I think that is an interesting comment in light of the Emma Vogue photo shoot. 

The other outfit that Doiel pointed out as wrong was the white wedding dress Fanny wears at the end of the film. White wedding dresses only became popular after Queen Victoria, prior to that they were colored dresses. I disagreed with this as I thought the white dress was more a comment on Fanny’s innocence, sweetness, and morality versus being white to be in with what is in fashion today. I mean, after all this takes place after an affair, a love proved false, and all the manipulations by the Crawfords. Plus, it is a foil to Maria’s dress who had opulence (check out that hat) and color, Fanny’s being plain not because of what she was forced to wear (as I am sure Sir Thomas would have bought her a different dress), but a testament to her character. But that’s just my thoughts…

The last one we looked at was Pride and Prejudice (1940) a film I love, but apparently a lot do not.

Gowns:

Nothing was accurate.

Groans:

The film was set in the 1830s instead of the Regency period and no one quite knows why. Some say it was because Gone With the Wind was so popular and they wanted to use costumes like that. Others say it was because the Regency gowns seemed too plain. Others believe it was more cost effective to use these gowns than create new ones. Doiel thought that they might have picked such extravagant costumes as England was having to o with sparse materials, “mend and make do” as the slogan goes, and seeing such fun fabric and opulence would raise spirits. I don’t know if we will ever know…

Hmmm

Doiel said that she felt that this style works for Mrs. Bennet, Kitty, and Lydia as it is extravagant, frivolous, oversized, and fits their characters.

However, with Elizabeth, it works against her.

*Sigh* Laurence Olivier looks great, but he is wearing pants instead of breeches (as are the other men (see below on the view of pants) and Colonel Fitzwilliam wears a kilt (?).

That’s where we ended, although I wished they had discussed Mansfield Park (1983) as that one has some doozies in choices. I mean look at their hair.

From left to right: Edmund Bertram, Mary Crawford, and Mr. Yates

Part III: Costuming Mansfield Park, the Opera

So Doiel said that when costuming something that takes place in the past, buying the right type of fabric can be a problem. You need something that looks right on stage, fits together as a whole (in color and style), and needs to be accurate as to something they would wear.

Doiel did say that she was fortunate in this Opera to be able to reuse costumes from an earlier production, Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley that had been done in December 2019.

She brought swatches in of the different fabrics for each characters costumes, and me and my group really liked that. We all enjoyed the closeup look and when we watched the performance later in the day, looked at the costumes and remembered what we had seen earlier in the workshop. We also loved that her mom, who helped her sew and cut things out, was there. It was so sweet how she helped hand out the swatches and supported her. I had tried to take a picture of the one for Fanny, but the people in my row wanted me to pass it along and the pic came out blurry.

But Lynne Marcus, one of the organizers from Modesto Jane Con, sent me a pic a friend of hers took.

Doiel’s favorite dress of the production was the gray number that Mary Crawford wears in Scene 5: Chapter Five. In the Wilderness. It was originally worn by Anne de Bourgh in the Miss Bennet: Christmas at Pemberley. I tried to get a good picture, but this was all I got.

She also loved the Navy suit that Edmund wears as she made it.

Part IV: Q & A

Doiel ended the session by answering questions and talking about Regency wear. Breeches were standard menswear. Pants, or pantaloons as they were called, were not to be worn by the upperclass. They were said to cause a scandal because they showed everything too well-even though in reality breeches showed more. But you know how I feel about that!

This should say breeches instead of pants, but I didn’t write this so it gets a pass. It was an instagram answer from a question I asked my followers.

She said that pants were worn only by the lower class workers, so wearing them was seen as trashy.

Someone asked about the muslin we have today versus then, and she said it is different. The muslin sold in stores today is mostly white and work wear, instead of dress wear. Back in the Regency period it would be block printed, decorated, different colors, and came from India. The muslin was semi-sheer and lightweight, like cotton. Of course whenever I think of Muslin I think of:

India greatly influenced what people wore-in colors, patterns, and of course ladies adopting the use of a pashmina. I had noticed that when I was trying to find something to wear to Jane Con.

From Emma (1996)

Women and men always wore gloves when going out of the house. Doiel mentioned how they weren’t doing that in the Opera as it was too difficult with all the clothing changes. That means that that hand clench scene in the 2005 Pride and Prejudice never should have happened as both Darcy and Elizabeth should have been wearing gloves.

One woman asked about lace, and lace was very in fashion. It came from India or France (probably not as much from France at this time as England and France had been fighting) and was used on hemlines and sleeves.

My book club + sister really enjoyed this discussion. We wished that Doiel had judged the costumes a bit more, (as who doesn’t like a good rip ?), but understood that she was trying to be fair.

We loved that she stayed on topic-discussing only the clothes instead of the actual films. We would have liked to hear her thoughts on more films or more on costuming the show, but understood we only had an hour and had to be a bit limited to have enough time to cover everything.

DeSchane did a great job moderating the workshop, with her interesting questions and keeping an eye on how much time we had.

We loved it and learned a lot. In fact, later we watched the 1983 Mansfield Park and discussed what we learned in this when we looked at the costumes.

This workshop.

For more on Regency clothes, go to Muslin: The Fabric of Jane’s Life

For more Mansfield Park, go to Rational Creatures: Fanny Price & Mary Crawford

For more on Jane Austen, go to Praying With Jane: 31 Days Through the Prayers of Jane Austen

Rational Creatures: Fanny Price & Mary Crawford

Rational Creatures edited by Christina Boyd

For those of you who might have missed the last post, Rational Creatures is an anthology of short stories on the different women of Jane Austen:

But just not the main heroines-there are a few other side characters like Miss Bates-and of course a couple of bad girls like Mary Crawford and Mrs. Clay. Each story gives us a look at these rational creatures.

So far we have reviewed Elinor and Marianne Dashwood from Sense and Sensibility with Self-Composed by Christina Morland and Every Past Affliction by Nicole Clarkston & Elizabeth Bennet and Charlotte Lucas from Pride and Prejudice in Happiness in Marriage by Amy D’Orazio and Charlotte’s Comfort by Joana Starnes & Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, and Harriet Smith from Emma in Knightley Discourses by Anngela Schroeder,The Simple Things by J. Marie Croft and In Good Hands by Caitlin Williams And what have I thought of it so far?

This one is on Mansfield Park:

If Northanger Abbey and Persuasion are often forgotten or ignored Mansfield Park is just plain hated on. Mostly because people think Fanny is “boring” and “spineless”.

But Fanny isn’t boring or spineless. Mansfield Park is a great book and Fanny is a fantastic character! Fanny is a sweet kind girl-niece to the Bertram family, and was sent to stay with them. Instead of being treated as family, she is seen as “less” because of the “bad blood” inherited from the low class, wastrel father her mother married down to.

She is particularly mistreated by her evil aunt and two cousins; all of which take pride in bossing her around and being as cruel as can be. Fanny is the essence of sweetness, taking this injustice in stride and trying to remain optimistic in a bad situation.

The life of the Bertrams are interrupted when a Mr. Henry Crawford and Miss Mary Crawford come to visit their half-sister Mrs. Grant. Mary is set on winning the eldest Bertram, but finds her being struck by the younger. Henry’s sole purpose is to upset the apple cart by going after the Bertram sisters for fun, but having no intent of follow through. Will the Bertrams survive this?

That is not good,

So Mansfield Park is in a unique position. I believe (not quite sure as I’d have to count them) Mansfield Park has the least amount of adaptations. Besides Dangerous to Know the only one I’ve looked at are the films. And I know a lot of people like it, but I could not stand the Mansfield Park (1999) film as they had no concept of Fanny.

Did you even READ the book?!

Fanny is a hard character as society today doesn’t seem to like or encourage this type of character, but want them to be more aggressive, flashy, or loud. So I was a bit anxious, would this go well or would they fall into the same trap?

The Meaning of Wife by Brooke West

We pick up in this story at the end of Mansfield Park. Fanny turned down Henry Crawford’s proposal and was sent home to live with her family as punishment. Then Tom became sick and almost almost died. Fanny was brought back to Mansfield Park. Henry ran off with Maria Bertram-Rushworth. Mary Crawford wished Tom would have died and didn’t see the scandal of Maria and Henry as a big deal so Edmund ended everything.

A lot of people think Mansfield Park is boring but it has quite a bit of action in it. Look at that summary.

Anyways, so Fanny and the Bertrams are hanging out one morning when Tom reads a letter about a friend’s sister who is going to Europe to study philosophy. He makes a snide comment and then Edmund chimes in with a compliment to Fanny, that actually insults her. WOW!

Dude just pulled a Barney Stinson:

“The backhanded compliment is truly an art form – the best will lower the intended target’s self esteem thus making them more susceptible to the power of suggestion.”

Fanny has been crushing on Edmund for years, although I honestly don’t know why. If I had to rank my favorite Austen men, Edmund is on the bottom. I am joyful that Fanny gets her true love, but I think she could have done better.

Nope!

Anyways, Edmund looks at her with ardor and Fanny should be happy, but he completely just insulted her, again. Ugh.

Seriously stop!

Fanny shares how she would enjoy such a trip that they discussed and then Edmund says:

“The journey alone would be well beyond your capabilities.”

Ouch! This dude.

The conversation at the table made Fanny think and wonder and she takes a look at the book they were skewering, A Vindication of the Rights of Woman and enjoys it.

As Fanny finishes reading, Edmund comes to talk to her. He tries to console her over her heart being broken by Henry. Ugh, men. He won’t listen that she isn’t heartbroken.

But ugh, he won’t listen. He goes on for a while, talks about Mary who he has been mooning over, and then proposes.

He’s been my least favorite and West made him even more so.

Ugh!

So then the story takes a twist. Fanny refuses him!

But I wasn’t upset with this twist. West did this really well as Fanny considers whether or not this will be the best choice as does Edmund really know her? Does he really care about her? Or is she his rebound from Mary. I love how she has Fanny wanting to say yes, the thing she has wished for her whole life is in her grasp, but is it what she really wants?

Hmm…

This is where I was hooked in. I LOVED it. We have Fanny considering is this is what she wants? Will this lead to happiness or a marriage like her mother and aunts have? Could she be happy with Edmund? Should she search for happiness in another person? What does she want to do with her life?

West has set the standard really high for any Mansfield Park adaptations. She really captured the character of Fanny, put her own twist on it, showed how she was the powerful character she is without ripping off Elizabeth or changing her complete personality.

And the ending was so cute. You’ve got to read it. I actually liked Edmund and Fanny together and this whole story made me like him more. We don’t really see Edmund romantically in love with Fanny:

“I purposely abstain from dates on this occasion, that every one may be at liberty to fix their own, aware that the cure of unconquerable passions, and the transfer of unchanging attachments, must vary much as to time in different people. I only entreat everybody to believe that exactly at the time when it was quite natural that it should be so, and not a week earlier, Edmund did cease to care about Miss Crawford, and became as anxious to marry Fanny as Fanny herself could desire.”

-Jane Austen, Mansfield Park

So it was cute to see him actually romantic. So adorable.

“If an idea takes root in your mind and you find merit in it, then I am persuaded that idea too, is moral and right. Your endorsement is all I need.’ He [Edmund] set his book aside and took her hands in his. ‘You are all I need.”

Brooke West, The Meaning of Wife

For more by Brooke West, go to “Last Letter to Mansfield” from Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MATURE

For more on Fanny Price, go to Austen Avengers Assemble!

What Strange Creatures by Jenetta James

Mary is living with her uncle, the Admiral. He is a cruel, horrid man and it has become more unbearable living with him since her aunt passed away. Anyways, it seems to be an ordinary day, until a magistrate from Bow Street, Mr. James Hunter, comes calling about her missing friend, Miss Verity Stanhope.

Gone Girl

Mary just laughs it off thinking that she probably ran off with some guy. She thinks they eloped and will be back, or took off and now have to elope. But Mr. Hunter assures her that this isn’t a “normal” disappearance. She is the third in a serial kidnapping.

What? A mystery? And a Jane Austen mystery?? You know me…

Mystery, you say?

So where will this story take us? Is she going to become a super sleuth? Will she solve the mystery? Could it be someone she knows? Henry? Her uncle, the admiral? A new character? I’m invested.

Ready for any case

He questions her, but there is no new information regarding her missing friend. Although Henry did leave early. And Verity always liked him. Hmmm….

Hmmm…

No, he has an alibi. It is clearly not him.

Mary keeps trying to shrug it off as an elopement as Verity was having a fortune coming her way, but Mr Hunter is not convinced. The two share a brief flirtation, and he is gone. A brief flirtation is all it could be as Mr. Hunter isn’t the type of man Mary is after.

The next morning Mary is at home with the Admiral, ugh. Things are harder with him now that her aunt has passed and Henry is away. She tells him about an invite they received, but he declines as he will be out. He always does that sort of thing, could he be up to something nefarious? Such as…kidnapping?

Hmmm

The admiral doesn’t care about her or what she does, she can go to the party by herself. And he doesn’t care about this Verity business, as he sees her as just a dumb female.

This guy!

Mary tries to stay away from the idea that it is more than just an elopement, but Mr. Hunter’s words keep coming back. She goes shopping and is enjoying herself, but then thinks how can she be happy and go out when something horrible could be happening to her friend?

“The loss of a person one loves, however so occasioned, can draw a line through happiness as surely as any of life’s misfortunes.”

She continues on her way and then she notices a carriage, it seems that wherever she goes the carriage follows. She goes, it goes. She stops, it stops.

She starts to become alarmed and wants to go into a shop when someone comes out…Mr. Hunter?

Huh?

He followed her?! Is he the kidnapper?

Yes, he followed her, but just because he was worried maybe she could be next. He wasn’t going to say anything, but she was about to go into the shop of Madam Villechamp, a place where all the women who disappeared went into before they vanished.

Mary never would have gone in there, (except she was being followed), as her aunt always forbid her. Her aunt didn’t like the shop. But Mary must know what is going on and so she makes an appointment. She goes to check it out and when the assistant is out of the room she starts investigating.

She goes through the correspondence and writings There she finds a letter from her uncle! Her uncle’s mistress is Madame Villechamp! And he wants her to move in with him.

She runs to Bow Street and talks to Mr. Hunter, and finds out that Verity was found, it was an elopement. Mary talks with him and leaves to start a new life, going to visit Mrs. Grant and entering the Bertram’s lives.

So…what about the missing women? Their disappearances? Serial kidnapper? What happened? I wanted to solve the mystery.

But that aside, I think Mary was very well-written and I liked how they showed her character. And I enjoyed the view into her dysfunctional family as it really does give a great view into their dynamic.

For more by Jenetta James, go to “The Lost Chapter in the Life of William Elliot” from Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

For more on Mary Crawford, go to Anna Karenina Made Me View Maria Bertram-Rushworth and Mary Crawford Differently

These stories were really great, even though I didn’t get to fully utilize my detecting skills.

Next time…it has been a while since a Bebris mystery.

 So we have had nine incredible stories. Will the next ones be just as good? I guess I’ll just have to wait and see! 🙂

For more reviews of Rational Creatures, go to Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

For more by Christina Boyd, go to Rational Creatures: Emma Woodhouse, Miss Bates, & Harriet Smith

For more Mansfield Park, go to Once Upon a Time There Were Three Sisters…

For more Austen book reviews, go to Little Literary Classics Mansfield Park Cloth Book

Once Upon a Time There Were Three Sisters…

So I was trying to figure out how to review the beginning of Mansfield Park as it is a little different from her other books. It is more like Sense and Sensibility with a bit of a backstory on the three sisters, Fanny’s mom and aunts.

Hmm…

The more I thought of it, the more it made me think of a fairy tale opening, I mean you have three sisters that only one marries well-it kind of made me think of the folktale The Three Sisters, Cinderella, One Eyes, Two Eyes, and Three Eyes, etc. So that is how I am going to treat this-like a fairy tale.

Our story starts many years ago (thirty to be exact): Once upon a time there were three beautiful girls: a Miss Ward, a Miss Maria Ward, and a Miss Frances Ward. These ladies were lovely, but unfortunately:

The second sister married first, and had the extreme luck to catch the eye of a Baronet, Sir Thomas Bertram, of Mansfield Park. The two married and she became Lady Maria Bertram.

Lady Bertram exalted in her success, a lady! Such an elevated status was a beautiful thing to behold!

Her family were in sweet felicitations over the event as well, especially her older and younger sister who hoped that such a marriage would also give them their own happily ever after. Unfortunately, this is not that type of story.

The other two of these sisters were so unlucky that nothing ever succeeded with them, the eldest, Miss Ward, after six years was finally able to win a husband, a Reverend Norris. He was friend of her brother-in-law, Sir Thomas Bertram, and having no fortune, Sir Thomas kindly bestowed the living and parsonage of Mansfield-so that this sister was cared for all her life.

The youngest sister, no less pretty, had the worse luck of all. She married a “lieutenant of marines, without education, fortune, or connexions[sic],” and became Mrs. Price.

Sir Thomas would have easily done all he could to have helped his brother-in-law (as pride made him wish all in connection to him were of an upstanding position), although his profession was something that he had no easy hand involved in.

But alas, before any such things could have been put into motion, a terrible and destructive row was set up betwixt the sisters. The eldest sister had a thorny heart and her temper was not easily assuaged. She immediately sent forth the most powerful soldier in her arsenal-an angry letter. Lady Bertram thought no longer of her sister-out of sight out of mind-except that Mrs. Price was spurned on by the missile and fired off one of her own.

And as it goes, the sisters were locked in bitterness and the bonds broken betwixt them.

Eleven years passed by and the Prices went further and further into poverty. The Prices had fallen into such poverty that Mrs. Price was faced with the decision of whether to swallow her pride or continue the separation.

Mrs. Price had lived a disheartening and dark life. “A large and still increasing family, an[sic] husband disabled for active service, but not the less equal to company and good liquor, and a very small income to supply their wants…” With every passing day she grew more unsure what to do next, how to survive.

She became pregnant with her ninth child, and with this child was born a renewed hope, and she sent a missive to Sir Thomas and Lady Bertram, full of “contrition and despondence, such a superfluity of children, and such a want of almost everything else, as could not but dispose them all to a reconciliation.”

Mrs. Price hoped and prayed they would take one of her sons, any of them and raise them in a wonderful fashion. But instead the choose the eldest girl?

The eldest girl, Fanny, was a lovely and sweet-natured girl. Kind, humble, quiet. Mrs. Price was puzzled at first as why they choose her, but eagerly sent the child on her way.

The new child was quiet, scared, unsure. She would often tuck herself away in the chimney corner to sit quietly.

Her two eldest cousins, Tom and Edmund, were seventeen and sixteen. Tom, the eldest, ignored her, while Edmund looked upon her kindly as any sixteen year-old would look upon a ten year old. The two younger, female cousins were a different story. Maria, thirteen, and Julia, twelve, did everything that they could to make her unhappy. The poor girl, Fanny, bore everything patiently and dared not complain to any.

For more Fanny Price, go to Little Literary Classics Mansfield Park Cloth Book

Little Literary Classics Mansfield Park Cloth Book

So first of all:

I meant to post this over a month ago, but life got on the way…

So before I start my review let me say this is 100% how I feel and I was not compensated for anything. It would have been nice if I had been, and it wouldn’t have changed my review either way, but I just thought you all would like to know.

So one day I was on Instagram, and the Etsy store, Little Literary Classics, popped up in my feed.

They have adorable shirts, patches, paperback books, dolls, and cut/sew cloth books. The books are what interested me as you know me-get kids interested in classics even as children.

They are so cute, The Wizard of Oz, Paul Bunyan, Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Mansfield Park, etc. And what a great idea, the babies can chew on them, throw them, and just mess around with them with no fear of destroying them.

Yay!!!

And you know me and Jane Austen stuff:

So I started following the store, and when my second favorite cousin’s (my favorite being my other cousin’s little five-year-old girl) wife got pregnant, I had to get them something special.

Hmmm

I looked online at the baby registry, but there were no books on the list!

WHAT!!!!!!

Huh?

I know, I had to rectify this immediately. So first I bought Anna Karenina from Jennifer Adams and Babylit. They have the best books! I have bought Emma, Pride and Prejudice, Sense and Sensibility, The Wizard of Oz, The Jungle Book, A Little Princess, Secret Garden, Anne of Green Gables, and Alice in Wonderland. I have loved each and every one of them and highly recommend any of her books with their beautiful illustrations.

Little Literary Classics kept popping up in my feed and I thought, why not? I liked Pride and Prejudice but I didn’t want a boy doll for the baby girl. I really liked the Sense and Sensibility, but they didn’t have it available in cloth book (only paper) and I didn’t have the time to wait.

Now! Or in 4-6 weeks.

Then I saw Mansfield Park, and thought-why not. I like Mansfield Park and feel it is an under appreciated Jane Austen work. I liked that the doll was darker skinned, as I and that side of the family is Mexican, and decided to buy it.

It came with the option of having a message in it, which I thought was cute and asked for a short one. I ordered it on March 31st and waited.

I started to get worried it might not be here in time…the shower was April 27th and looming closer!

Please, please, please…

And it finally arrived on April 21st!

So I opened it out and saw the fabric:

So I was so excited, until I looked at the top and SAW THE INSTRUCTIONS WERE MISSING!!!! How was I going to put it together???!!!

What am I going to do???

But then I saw they had thoughtfully included a paper with the instructions.

They included the note with it, which I didn’t really like as I thought it was going to be separate, like Amazon does. However, if I was giving it to a friend who could sew, I could see them being put together like this.

So the book’s pages were super cute! They are numbered so you know how to put them together, number 8 was my favorite-I can just imagine Henry Crawford throwing a temper tantrum.

Here are a few squares:

So I do not sew at all:

And I was suffering from a sinus infection…

So my mom went to work:

And we ran into a couple of problems, first the needle in the sewing machine broke!

My mom replaced it, but the canvas was pretty strong-just so you know. The second problem is that a part of Fanny’s dress came off!

So my mom embroidered a flower over the spot.

She had me stuff it as that is something I know how to do.

The finished product:

So what did I think?

Hmmm…

I loved it!

There may have been some hiccups, (and if I were to do it again I think I would pay extra to have them put it together for me), but it was beautiful, fun, adorable, and I LOVED it.

I really want all of them:

And I am trying to think of who should I buy the next one for?

Hmm…

And I can’t wait to see what baby thinks of it when she comes!!!

Moreland APPROVED!

To purchase your own, click here.

For more on Mansfield Park, go to Anna Karenina Made Me View Maria Bertram-Rushworth and Mary Crawford Differently

For more Mansfield Park variations, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MATURE

For more children’s books, go to Baby Jane Austen

For more based on Jane Austen, go to The Smart One and the Pretty One

For more sewing, go to The Conscripted Seamstress

The Heartbreak Kid

So I wrote this post years ago, but didn’t post it as I don’t like to write about my friends on my blog-only me. However, as I was going through them I came through this and looked it over again.

Hmmm….

Now it has been years since Eliot and I have talked. He stopped responding to any of my texts, or cards, or etc. I think the last time we had a conversation was in 2013. So I don’t feel too bad about sharing this now, especially as I have changed the name. Hopefully if we become friends again he won’t be mad about this. We’ll see…

I haven’t changed anything, but kept it all the same.

Edmund Bertram:

Scenario One

Edmund Bertram (1999)

1) Edmund and Mary

-Eliot and Carrie

-Eliot and Liz

-Eliot and Chastity

Why is it that really nice people are always attracted to the wrong kinds of people?

The one thing that always bugged me about Edmund Bertram’s character in Mansfield Park is how stupid he acts with Mary. Why is he so dumb and naive around her? Many of my friends feel I am too hard on Edmund, but when all of Jane Austen’s other heroes are so perfect, it can be hard to adore one who has such an achilles heel.

However, I am getting too far ahead of myself.

In Mansfield Park, Edmund is the younger brother. He is very smart and responsible. His older brother Tom, is supposed to inherit everything, and run the household in his father’s absence, but instead takes off to London to “enjoy” the “good times” that go on there; and Edmund steps up to the plate. At this time, Henry and Mary Crawford come to visit the family; Mary having set her sights on the eldest son to ensure a title and money; and Henry to play around with the Bertram girls. With Tom gone, Mary spends a lot of time with Edmund. She likes things about him and Edmund falls for her.

There is only one problem; Mary hates church, clergyman, and says she will never marry one. She tries to convince Edmund to change his profession, and he is stupidly convinced that she will come around and became a minister’s wife. Edmund sees more in her than is really there. Mary cares only for material goods and being high in society while Edmund has a higher consciousness. Edmund only realizes how wrong he is when:

  1. Mary tells Edmund how great it would be if Tom died (at this point in the story Tom had grown quite ill and was at death’s door), and he could inherit everything, and not become a minister
  2. She doesn’t care that her brother and Edmund’s sister Maria committed adultery, but that they were caught. She feels there was nothing wrong with it as long as no one found out.
  3. Her biggest regret about Maria and Henry is that is ruins her chances in moving up in society

It is then that Edmund finally realizes they have a completely different set of morals and values and could never be together.

Seriously

The thing that bugs me about Edmund is how long it took him to realize this! I mean she tells you point blank that she will not marry a clergyman. Why can’t you believe that? Why must you torture yourself believing that you can fix her! Why, why, why? Unfortunately this often happens in the real world. We care for people so we become blind to their faults.

I have a friend Eliot, who is one of the nicest guys you could ever meet. He is sweet, gentle, patient, understanding, etc. He is the type of guy who has no enemies. He has the worst luck with women. It’s REALLY bad! You think someone that nice, would be able to find a worthwhile person, especially since they have so much to offer, but alas he doesn’t.

So first Eliot started dating this girl Carrie. I hated Carrie! She and I were enemies!

She had made it her personal vendetta to be rude and snide to me. And, if one is mean to me I usually reciprocate the same attitude back.

She was an awful person, and completely wrong for Eliot! She started dating Eliot and really yanked him around. He really cared about her, but she just busted him in two. She cheated on him with another guy and left him heartbroken.

Now like Fanny tries to warn Edmund, I tried to warn Eliot. I let him know that Carrie was not the right person for him, but like Fanny, I was dissed and dismissed. Instead, he was convinced that she would change. But like Mary, she didn’t.

Seriously

Then there was Liz. I told Eliot that Liz wasn’t a great girl. She too liked having boyfriends, she just had trouble staying faithful to them. You think he would have listened this time right? But nooooo….instead they date, they become boyfriend and girlfriend. Then one day they are out on a date and bam Liz picks up a guy and starts making out right in front of Eliot. And not just a simple kiss, but full complete action going on there.

I mean seriously, what were you thinking?

They broke up.

Then came Chastity. Now Chastity I disliked more than Carrie. Chastity would ALWAYS cheat on her boyfriends. She hurt another one of my friends that way.

Oh no you don’t!

He too was a really sweet, great guy; and she just mangled him. Now once again I tried to tell Eliot about her. I warned him that she had a tendency to cheat on her boyfriends and that it was best to just stay away from her. You think after Heartbreaker One and Two he would have listened to me finally…right?

Majorly

He was convinced that I was “mistaken”, in fact I had to watch what I said about Chastity as he fell really hard for her, so hard that if I made any more comments, our friendship would have been over. Everyone else really liked her. All of his friends liked her. His parents liked her. Her parents liked him. Her friends liked him. Everything was going great…..until it wasn’t.

One day at school I was TAing a class making copies, when another TA, my friend Susan, came into the office room to talk to me. She told me she really liked Eliot and hated the way Chastity treated her boyfriends, and she had something she wanted to tell me. Before the words came out of her mouth I knew that Chastity was cheating again.

This is one of those situations where you know no good will come out. If you tell the person they will hate you, but if you don’t you hate yourself for keeping them in this situation. I knew that he wouldn’t believe me, and even though it was extremely painful I didn’t tell him. I waited and eventually she told him and broke up with him.

Ouch!

It amazes me how he has gone through this and more but doesn’t give up. He still is trying to find a girl that won’t cause him any pain.

At least he was the last time I spoke to him. I don’t know if he still is. It amazes me the people who can be just decimated by something like that, but continue to search for love.

For more Edmund Bertram, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

For more Mansfield Park, go to Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

Jane Austen Chinese Zodiac

So today marks the last day of the Chinese New Year! Every year I do a Chinese New Year post, and this year as I was starting to write it I was wondering what if the Jane Austen characters celebrated the Chinese New Year? What would they be?

Hmm…

Of course when that idea came I had to write a post! Now how I did it may not be one hundred percent accurate as I don’t know the exact year they would have been born. Basically I took the age they were and misused it back from the the year the book was published-so even though some books may have been written earlier than their publishing date, I figured it would be easier to just go with that. Without further ado, here we go!

Colonel Brandon, Born 1776- Year of the Monkey

I’m a Monkey too!! Cool!

Monkeys are intelligent and can be lighthearted pranksters or slightly mischievous. They are logical thinkers and do well in any field where they can apply that type of thinking. They tend to be competitive and their fault can be arrogance. They are also very forgiving and tolerant of others.

Because of his year, Colonel Brandon is a fire monkey which means that they have big dreams, are family orientated, and set goals-achieving them. They also can have a hot temper.

Monkeys do best with a Rat, Snake, or Dragon. They should romantically avoid Pigs & Tigers.

For more Colonel Brandon, go to The Austen Series: Reason and Romance

Mr. Knightley, Born 1777-Year of the Rooster

Roosters are serious, straightforward, logical, organized, and good at managing things. They criticize things they see are unfit and can be perfectionists. They are also planners and problem solvers. They enjoy family as they are their refuge.

Because of his year, Mr. Knightley is a Fire Rooster. They are great at time management and very trustworthy.

Romantically they are best with Dragons, Snakes, and Oxen. They don’t do well with Rabbits, Dogs, or other Roosters.

For more on Mr. Knightley, go to Always Let Your Conscience Be Your Guide

Mr. Darcy, Born 1785-Year of the Snake

People born in the year of the snake are sophisticated, hold their own ground, calm in the midst of chaos, alert, and observant. They are humorous and great in social situations. They are romantic and empathetic. They are not good with small talk but crave to be the center of attention.

Because of the year, Mr. Darcy is a Wood Snake-easygoing, good at making friends and tend to be more on the perfectionist side.

Snakes should be romantically involved with a Monkey, Rooster, or Ox. They should avoid Tigers and Pigs.

For more on Mr. Darcy, go to Darcy’s ’80’s Power Song

Captain Fredrick Wentworth, Born 1787- Year of the Goat/Sheep

Goats are strong, resilient, and able to persevere through anything. They are quiet observers and analyze everything before making a decision. They love animals, children, and nature. They are friendly, empathetic, forgiving, generous with time and money, and very good at organization. They are genuine, helpful, but at times can be very pessimistic.

With the year he was born in, Wentworth is a Fire Goat. They are straightforward, loyal, and tend to worry over small details.

They are best romantically with Horses, Pigs, or Rabbits. They should avoid Oxen, Rats, and Dogs.

For more on Captain Wentworthgo to I’m On a Boat

Edward Ferrars, Born 1788-Year of the Monkey

As stated above: Monkeys are intelligent and can be lighthearted pranksters or slightly mischievous. They are logical thinkers and do well in any field where they can apply that type of thinking. They tend to be competitive and their fault can be arrogance. They also are very forgiving and tolerant of others.

Unlike Colonel Brandon, Edward is an Earth Monkey. Earth Monkeys are cheerful and very optimistic. They tend to not have a lot of support but are able to overcome those difficulties and through hard work to achieve a happy life.

Monkeys do best with a Rat, Snake, or Dragon. They should romantically avoid Pigs & Tigers.

For more on Edward Ferrars, go to Lambie-Pie

Edmund Bertram, Born 1789-Year of the Rooster

As stated above- roosters are serious, straightforward, logical, organized, and good at managing things. They criticize things they see are unfit and can be perfectionists. They are also planners and problem solvers. They enjoy family as they are their refuge.

Because of his year, Edmund is an Earth Rooster. They love going on outings with friends and are patient and reliable. They work hard and this rewards them in their career.

Romantically they are best with Dragons, Snakes, and Oxen. They don’t do well with Rabbits, Dogs, or other Roosters.

For more on Edmund Bertram, go to You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce 

Anne Elliot, Born 1791-Pig

Hey girl, this is your year!

Pigs are realistic, treat themselves well (they are a bit materialistic), hard workers, energetic, and enthusiastic. They are friendly and easily gain trust from others. They are very organized and blessed with good fortune and wealth.

Anne is a Metal Pig, which mind their own business, are lazy, and do bad with budgeting/saving. (So not her!)

Pigs are most compatible with Tigers, Rabbits, and Goats. They should avoid Snakes and Monkeys.

For more on Anne Elliot, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

Elinor Dashwood, Born 1792-Rat

Rats are sensitive to others’ emotions, kind, and likable to all. They like to save and are considered stingy by others. They are responsible, organized, and place importance on family.

Elinor is a Water Rat. Water Rats encounter hardships in their early years, but their middle ages things can settle down to a happy family. However, their relatives and friends can bring them down.

Rats are most compatible with Oxen, Dragons, and Monkeys. They should avoid Horses, Goats, and Rabbits.

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

Elizabeth Bennet, Born 1793-Ox

Oxen are honest and earnest, low-key, and don’t like to be the center of attention. They tend to hide their talent as they pride themselves in hard work. They are kind, logical, and never lose their temper. They are calm, gentle, stubborn as heck, and will walk their path and do what they will no matter what.

Because of her year, Elizabeth is a Water Ox. Water Oxen are comfortable, respected, have a loving family, but it is recommend they marry late.

Oxen should be with a Rat, Snake, or Rooster. They should avoid Goats, Horses, and Dogs.

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to Pride & Prejudice: A Latter Day Comedy

Emma Woodhouse, Born 1794-Tiger

Tigers are kind, benevolent, and have rich emotions (which can be hard to control). They have a lot of imagination and persevere through disappointments. Tigers are mesmerizing, love their freedom, and express themselves through fashion and their work. They love children, are friendly, intelligent, and patient. But don’t let that fool you, they have claws and will unsheathe them when needed.

Because of her year, Emma is a Wood Tiger, honest and doesn’t have much to worry about.

Tigers do well with Pigs, Horses, and Dogs. They do not do well with Monkeys and Snakes.

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to You Cannot Think That I Will Leave Off Match-Making

Henry Tilney, born 1794-Tiger

As stated above, Tigers are kind, benevolent, and have rich emotions (which can be hard to control). They have a lot of imagination and persevere through disappointments. Men who are tigers are confident, adventurous, and are willing to risk everything.

Because of his year, Henry is a Wood Tiger, honest and doesn’t have much to worry about.

Tigers do well with Pigs, Horses, and Dogs. They do not do well with Monkeys (NO!) and Snakes.

For more on Mr. Tilney, go to Why is Northanger Abbey Always Ignored?

Marianne Dashwood, Born 1795-Rabbit

Rabbits may seem weak and soft, but they are strong and confident. They will move toward their goal, no matter what negativity they face. They have great attention to detail and are great at socializing. In love they are very extreme! They love someone or they don’t care for them, there is a very clear line. When they love someone they put themselves and everything into that-but the deeper they go, the more they will get hurt if things go wrong.

Because of her year, Marianne is a Wood Rabbit. Wood Rabbits are not sly but do have tricks up their sleeves. They tend to be successful and do well career-wise.

Rabbits do best with Dogs, Pigs, and Goats. They should not be with Roosters, Dragons, or Rats.

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to Candy Girls

Fanny Price, Born 1796-Dragon

Dragons are mesmerizing and strong. If you underestimate them, they will destroy you. They are serious in what they do and have high self-esteem. Even though dragons are strong and independent they still desire love and support.

Because of her year, Fanny is a Fire Dragon. Fire Dragons are intelligent and social.

Dragons should be with Roosters, Monkeys, or Rats. They should not be with Dogs, Rabbits, or other Dragons.

For more on Fanny Price, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

Catherine Morland, Born 1801-Year of the Rooster

Roosters are serious, straightforward, logical, organized, and good at managing things. They criticize things they see are unfit and can be perfectionists. For women they are down to earth, responsible, and love to help others in any way they can.

Because of her year, Catherine is a Metal Rooster. They are decisive, set on plans, logical, and popular.

Romantically they are best with Dragons, Snakes, and Oxen. They don’t do well with Rabbits, Dogs, or other Roosters.

For more on Catherine Morland, go to No One Would Have Ever Guessed

According to the zodiac:

  • Colonel Brandon & Marianne 80% match
  • Edward & Elinor 100% match
  • Mr. Darcy & Elizabeth 100% match
  • Mr. Knightley and Emma 80% match
  • Edmund and Fanny 100% match
  • Henry and Catherine 80% match
  • Captain Fredrick Wentworth and Anne 100% match

So what do you all think? I thought it was interesting how the characters matched up pretty well according to the zodiac. I thought some people matched up with their description well, while others did not.

Hmm…

Jane Austen, Born 1775-Goat/Sheep

As said before, goats are strong, resilient, and able to presevere through anything. They are quiet observers and analyze everything before making a decision. They love animals, children, and nature. They are friendly, empathetic, forgiving, generous with time and money, and very good at organization.

For women-they are reliable and attentive, constantly observing so nothing escapes their attention. They are kind, motivated, and perform their tasks well.

With the year she was born, Jane Austen is a Wood Goat/Sheep. They are friendly and polite. They are also very sympathetic and always there to aid others. They love to be alone, even if they are married.

They are best romantically with Horses, Pigs, or Rabbits. They should avoid Oxen, Rats, and Dogs.

For more on Jane Austen, go to Jane Austen’s Royal Fanboy

For more Chinese New Year posts, go to Here Piggy, Piggy: Chinese New Year

For more Sense and Sensibility, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MODERATE

For more Pride & Prejudice, go to Why Do People Love Bridget Jones’ Diary?

For more Emma, go to Victoria and the Rogue

For more Mansfield Park, go to Dangerous to Know, Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues: MATURE

For more Northanger Abbey, go to Dangerous to Know: Jane Austen’s Rakes & Gentlemen Rogues

For more Persuasion, go to Right Away I Know I Won’t Like You

Desire & Decorum: Chapter 1, The Journey Ahead

So do you all remember the film Big? Tom Hanks is a preteen that wishes to be “big” and becomes a 30-year old man?

He tries to find a Zoltar machine to change him back, but meanwhile works for a toy company to make money. Because of his childlike understanding, he moves straight to the top of the company.

Now his idea for a new toy is a computer game/book that you read but get to make choices as to what will happen next. Well Choices is that.

What?

So a while back they had a preview for an Austenlike game Desire & Decorum

You know me and anything Austenlike or Austen related:

So as soon as it was avliable I decided to play:

You have the choice of being male or female and name. You can also customize your avatar and purchase extras if you want.

So the story is set in 1816 in the country village of Grovershire, England. You have enjoyed your life there but your mother is very ill, and on her deathbed reveals a secret. You have never known your father, but your mother reveals that he is the Earl of Edgewater, a very wealthy and powerful man. The two were in love, but his family drove them apart-and she went to Grovershire. How do you feel? You make the choice.

With the death of your mother you head to Edgewater and to meet your father and his family. Now this is an interesting concept to go with, being born out of wedlock in 1816-not the best way to be treated.

It was very hard when you were considered an “illegetimate” child. You had no legal right to any inheritance unless “an explicit, specific, uncontested written bequest, and inheriting a title from a parent was rare indeed, though not, as we’ve seen, quite impossible.

Ouch

So you are taken to Edgewater and meet your paternal grandmother the Dowager Countess who is quite spunky. Is she an ally? Or will she try and remove you like your mother was removed?

Hmm…

You also meet Mr. Ernest Sinclaire, master of the nearby Ledford Park. He’s handsome, rich, and also the rude man that almost ran you down on his horse a couple days ago. Yes, you have met him before.

I wonder which Austen hero he will be like? Romantic and wise like Colonel Brandon? Idealistic and does the right thing like Edward Ferrars? Broody and serious Darcy? Playful and stern like Mr. Knightley? Serious like Edmund Bertram? Playful like Mr. Tilney? Passionate like Captain Wentworth?

Hmm…

Or will he be a rogue? Sacrifices love for money like Mr. Willoughby? Selfish and narcissistic like Mr. Wickham? An annoying brown-noser like Mr. Collins? A  cruel social climber like Mr. Elton? Only thinks of himself like Frank Churchill? Manipulative like John Thorpe or Captain Tilney? Plotting and cunning like Mr. Elliot?

Hmm…

But more importantly, what about your father. Will he accept you or reject you?

For more Jane Austen games, go to Jane Austen Manors

For more based on Jane Austen, go to Jane Austen’s Guide to Dating

For more Jane Austen stuff, go to Read Jane Austen, Wear Jane Austen

You Put the Jedi in Pride & PreJEDIce

So today is the 40th anniversary of Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope. As you all know how I feel about the film:

I couldn’t let the day pass by without doing something special:

Besides that, (which you know I am going to try to do.) So how to honor something that has had a huge impact on film, the science-fiction/fantasy genre, and my own personal life as Princess Leia was my hero and who I wanted to be.

I mean one of my mottos are WWPLD: What Would Princess Leia Do? So as I was trying to decide what to do, it hit me:

Jane Austen Star Wars Mashup!

Yay!

So unlike my Disney film Jane Austen Mash Upam not going to follow gender, relationships, etc. I am just going to choose whatever characters from Star Wars I-VI that I best think fits the personalities of the Austen characters. I am not doing the newer movies as I was disappointed in The Force Awakens.

But thats another story and you can read more why here, and argue, debate, or agree with me there.

I also started with the Austen heroines and then filled in those I thought were important with the Austen male characters. Yes, some people I didn’t include but maybe I’ll focus on them next year, or later on.

Hmm…

So yes, just stating again- I am matching personalities not storylines. There are lots of people who won’t be paired up exactly right, but oh well. You can’t be perfect.

So here we go!

And fair warning

***Contains Spoilers***

So I am going to start with Sense and Sensibility and work my way to Persuasion

Anakin Skywalker-Marianne Dashwood

Anakin has a pretty sad background- never knew his father, was a slave, etc. His life is changed when he meets the Jedi Knights who later free him from slavery, taking him to train at the Jedi academy. He had to adapt to a new culture, be in a place where he knows zero people, and had to adjust to this sudden change of life. While Marianne didn’t go through such a painful upbringing – she does experience a loss of a father and moves from the only home she has ever known to a new place where she knows no one, and has to adjust to a whole new way of life.

Both have problems in adapting to their new environments as Anakin is headstrong and stubborn-something Marianne can relate to. Anakin keeps breaking the rules as he can’t settle his strong will as he doesn’t understand the purpose of these restrictions. Marianne is the same as she feels her behavior toward Willoughby, seen as not proper courting, is no issue as it “feels right”.

Both have no control over their emotions and see no reason to have said control-although Obi Wan Kenobi (Anakin’s mentor and instructor) and Elinor (Marianne’s sister) keep urging them to. For Anakin, this causes him to fall victim to the dark side as he can’t reign in his anger, bitterness, and fear. For Marianne, this causes her to give too much of her heart, and when it is broken she is too.

Both are extremely talented- for Anakin it is mechanical while Marianne musical. They also choose significant others that are much older than them, cooler headed, and logical.

For more on Anakin Skywalker, go to Anger Management

For more on Marianne Dashwood, go to Candy Girls

Darth Vader- Elinor Dashwood

While Anakin is wild, emotional, and reacts instantly based on what he feels, rather than thinking it through-Darth Vader is the opposite of his younger self. Darth Vader is more mature, in control of his feelings, and has mastered his talents. Elinor is also the opposite of her sister, and never reacts on her emotions, but thinks things through logically. While Elinor is not that much older than Marianne, she is much more mature in spirit, taking control of their new situation and heading up the household.

Both are commanding people and step into taking control when the time calls for it. Their experience, intelligence, and analytical minds enable them to help those they care about and step around disaster (maybe not for others but for themselves).

While they seem to be people who at first glance are “what you see is what you get” both are very secretive with much more under the surface. For Darth Vader his whole background and twin children-one of the best scenes is when he reveals he is Luke’s father. For Elinor, she holds a whole mess of them from secret engagements, lost loves, runaway wards, etc.

While they seem to be stoic, sometimes called stone hearted, they still do feel as seen at the end of both their stories. For Darth Vader we have his redemption in saving his son and destroying the empire, for Elinor her cries of happiness when she discovers that Edward is not married but loves her.

For more on Darth Vader, go to Black is Best

For more on Elinor Dashwood, go to The Dashwood Sisters Tell All: A Modern Day Novel of Jane Austen

His Royal Highness, General Bail Organa – Colonel Brandon

So I have to admit I don’t know everything about Bail Organa, but the little I do made me decide that he and Colonel Brandon are very much alike.

Bail Organa comes from an old respectable family, (after all he is a prince), as does Colonel Brandon. Both are extremely intelligent, great at planning battles, excellent leaders, and of course have lead successful military maneuvers.

However, what really made them the most alike would be their kindness, compassion, and choice to raise a child that is not their own. After Padme died and left her twins, Bail Organa and his wife adopt Leia-loving her like she is their own and being encouraging and supportive. Colonel Brandon is the same way, adopting his childhood sweetheart’s baby, and raising it as if it was his own flesh and blood; giving her every advantage he could.

While both men weren’t able to spend as much time with their daughters as they would have liked, they were always there if they were needed. When both girls are whisked away (Leia kidnapped [prior to episode IV] and Colonel Brandon’s daughter with Willoughby) theses dads do everything they can to try and save them.

For more on Colonel Brandon, go to A World of Teas

Obi-Wan Kenobi (Episodes I, II, & III) – Elizabeth Bennet

I know a lot of people are going to get mad that I didn’t say that Elizabeth was Princess Leia. I know everyone puts them as being the same, but while I can see that I thought that she was a better fit with the young Obi Wan Kenobi.

Obi Wan Kenobi was trained to be a Jedi soldier, and while he is good at what he does and a great instructor; he is also headstrong, stubborn, and doesn’t always listen to the wisdom of others. When Yoda or other Jedi knights try to counsel him about Anakin, he refuses their advice-something that he regrets later on. For Elizabeth, she has her own way of doing things and too falls victim to believing her way is best. Charlotte gives her and her sister advice regarding men, and Caroline warns her against Wickhim, in fact even Bingley gives Jane information against Wickham- but Elizabeth will not see anything but the choices she has already decided.

Both are also kind and caring- Elizabeth with her sister and Obi Wan becoming a brother/uncle figure to Anakin. They are also talented, intelligent, eloquent, and know when to speak kindly and when to put someone in their place.

Both are very honest, but also loyal to a fault; Obi Wan keeping the secret of Anakin’s marriage and child after he discovers it and Elizabeth keeping the secret of Georgina; to protect them.

For more on Obi-Wan Kenobi, go to A Hidden Wonder

For more on Elizabeth Bennet, go to Prom & Prejudice

Queen Padme Amidala – Mr. Darcy

Again, I know a lot of people want Mr. Darcy to be Han Solo, but to be honest-I just don’t see it. He isn’t as relaxed as Han is.

So Padme Amidala was choosen as a young woman to be Queen and rule her people. Since she was given such responsibilities at such a young age it can at times make her more reserved and formal as she always has to put others first and must serve her planet’s needs. Mr. Darcy is the same way. Taught at a young age the responsibilities that would fall his way, they changed him as he had to take on a lot very early-from the household, to the renters, and even raising a younger sister (more a daughter to him). Darcy too always thinks above all what is best for the family and his land, and tries to make sure his name remains respectful, as he is not the only one riding on it-just like Amidala.

But while that is part of their personality, there is more hidden underneath their “political” or “formal facade”. For Padme, if you get her out of her makeup and fancy hairstyles she can be more relaxed and open. For Darcy, it is removing him from a certain setting; and that facade drops.

Both ended up with people they never dreamed they would fall for. For Padme, she never thought about Anakin being the man she married when she first met him; but later on she grew to love him. Even though everything about that relationship was not what she should do as a Queen- he’s younger and a Jedi, she still gave into her heart. For Darcy, he never thought that Elizabeth would strike a chord in him as she does, and even though she isn’t the same station, her family isn’t all a delight, and her brother-in-law is his dreaded enemy-he too succumbs to the heart.

Both are also very powerful people who refuse to give in to other’s demands if they aren’t what they believe in. Queen Padme faces all kinds of power struggles as people try to silence her, assassinate her, or force her to come along with what they want-her always refusing. While Darcy doesn’t face the same level of attack, he is constantly having to fight against Mr. Wickham, who is always trying to force money out of him or destroy him. But Darcy too will not give in to bullying.

For more on Queen Padme Amidala go to How Can This Be?

For more on Mr. Darcy, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part II, Other Eras

Jar Jar Binks – Mr. Collins

I just look at their faces and already feel annoyed. Yes, these two are so close in personality. All they do is talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk, talk; never shutting up. You just roll your eyes when they enter the screen and want them to exit.

At least with Mr. Collins, I understand why he is in the book, his character does bring some important plot points. But Jar Jar? Who dreamed up that CGI nightmare and WHY?

For more on Mr. Collins, go to Worst Proposal Ever

Obi Wan Kenobi (Episode IV) – Fanny Price

Fanny was the hardest character for me to try and find a Star Wars character to connect with. Who is someone who appears weak, but has a lot of strength, a strong moral code, and is not one to bend to the wills of others? I finally settled on Obi-Wan, the later years.

Obi Wan was an incredible Jedi Knight, who had a strong moral code and followed what was right. Since things fell apart and the Empire gained control, he has been living as a hermit, not too far from Luke, to aid him if he should ever need it.

Fanny was born into a lower class family and sent to live with wealthy relatives, but like Obi Won, she has always tried to live her life right. She is always there to help her cousins or aunts, whatever the need be.

Both know when to fight and when to bide their time; with Obi-Wan he deals with all the crazy things people say about him to protect himself and Luke from the Emperor’s grasp. With Fanny she too has a servant’s heart although hers is to her family.

While both seem to be what some call “weak”, they actually have wills of iron. When the time comes for them to stand up and fight they recognize it and will not be pushed from their objective. No one can tell them what to do or break them once their minds are made up.

For more on Fanny Price, go to It’s Always Tea Time

Owen Lars – Edmund Bertram

Owen Lars has been raised a certain way and believes his way is the best. He took over taking care of his nephew Luke and does all he can to try and change his way of thinking and keep him on the farm-away from Jedis, piloting, and Siths. He means well, but he doesn’t really understand his nephew-never clearly hearing the desires of his heart.

For Edmund he has decided to become a minister, following a strong moral code. He meets Mary Crawford and falls in love with her, but the problems arise in their relationship when he doesn’t listen to what she wants in a man-rich, political, etc- or understand her inner character and how it could never fit with his.

For more on Edmund Bertram, go to Clear Eyes. Full Hearts. Can’t Lose: Superbowl 50

Princess Leia Organa – Emma Woodhouse

I know everyone always says Leia and Elizabeth are a lot alike, but I see more in common with Emma.

Leia was raised as a Princess on Alderaan being given an excellent education, the best of everything, and had a loving family. Emma too was born wealthy and was given the best by her father-who dotes on her. As they were both in higher classes they were also given skills that average people wouldn’t have time to learn-for Leia defense and Emma archery.

While both could easily have just lived a life of luxury, they use their talents to help others. Princess Leia helps mobilize attacks against the Empire and try to bring freedom and justice. Emma uses her talents to help the less fortunate- caring for those in her community who are in need of food, clothing, and companionship. While Emma’s plans do not always go well, her heart is in the right place.

Both are young women but confident in themselves and able to have conversations and friendships with people who are older. For Leia she also commands them, but for Emma it was very rare to have a best friend be an older man.

What I really see them having in common is that even though they were born in a certain lifestyle, they break labels and live their life the way they want. Princess Leia with her war efforts and Emma in deciding to go her own path-be mistress of her father’s home and remain single. I like that they choose to be their own person and don’t care what others say and unlike Darcy, they don’t feel confined by their background, but powerful.

Both women also fall for men they never would have dreamed they’d be interested in. For Leia, she falls for an older man and smuggler turned freedom fighter. For Emma, she too falls for an older man; her father’s family friend and brother-in-law.

For more on Princess Leia, go to Why the Princess Leia Crown Hairdo is Awesome

For more on Emma Woodhouse, go to The Austen Series: Amanda

Yoda – Mr. Knightley

Yoda is very intelligent, wise, and in tune with everything happening around him. He can sense which way things are going and knows when to help and when to stand back. He has great advice, but unfortunately people don’t always listen to him. He tries to help Anakin, Obi-Wan, and Luke-sometimes it works and other times people choose to ignore his words.

Mr. Knightley is just as wise and in tune to what is going on in the world. He can pick up on what people are feeling better than anyone else-knowing Mr. Elliot is after Emma and suspecting that Jane and Frank Churchill are more than just acquaintances. He constantly tries to help Emma, pointing her the right direction, but she continuously chooses to ignore him.

As Yoda has to really push his training into Luke, someone who thinks he knows the answers and doesn’t always want instruction-Mr. Knightley also faces some walls when trying to help Emma. However, both Luke and Emma (while not always listening at first) appreciate the wise counsel, remember it forever, and usually in the end follow it.

For more on Mr. Knightley, go to Credit Where Credit is Due

Luke Skywalker – Catherine Morland

When I first thought of comparing the two-Austen and Star Wars; the first thing that popped out to me was Luke and Catherine.

Luke grew up on a sandy planet, the Star Wars version of the middle of nowhere, but had a dream of more. He had a regular and good childhood with his aunt and uncle, but the romance of  fighting against the Empire, Jedis, etc all pull on him. Catherine feels the same way as she had the average life of a Vicar’s daughter.  She was raised with interest in sports and nature, but as she grew older began to devour books-especially romances. This causes her to have an active imagination as she too dreams for a life like in her stories.

Both have their lives change into becoming one of the stories they have dreamed/read about. For Luke it is when an old family friend takes him on a quest and for Catherine it is when an old family friend decides to take her along on a trip. As their lives go off on these paths they get involved in all kinds of adventures.

For more on Luke Skywalker, go to The FANtom Menance

For more on Catherine Morland, go to Waiter, There’s Some Disney in My Jane Austen

Han Solo – Mr. Henry Tilney

So Han Solo is a complex character. At first he seems to be a sarcastic smuggler who only cares for himself and to get rich. He shoots first, doesn’t mind piking up his prices, etc. Yet, he grows to show that he does have a kind and compassionate heart, he’s willing to put the needs of others before himself, and that he is intelligent as he is cunning. Because if his complexity, I argued who he should be compared to and finally settled on Mr. Tilney.

Mr. Tilney has that sarcastic side of Han Solo, and a much more toned down devil-may-care attitude as he is his own person and not afraid to break some rules of society. He, like Han, also has a more familiar relationship with his female lead. Han treats Leia not as a princess, above him, but talks to her in the way he would any girl. Tilney treats Catherine the same-relaxed, familiar, and talks to her as if he knew her, even before they are introduce. Both Han and Tilney think they know what their future holds, but everything changes when the right woman crosses their path.

Both men are also fiercely loyal-Han to Luke, always protecting him like a little brother; and Tilney to his sister Eleanor.

For more on Han Solo, go to You Don’t Have to Say the Words, I Already Know: Episode V, The Empire Strikes Back (1980)

For more on Mr. Tilney, go to The Cambridge Companion to Jane Austen

Lando Calrissian – Anne Elliot

Anne is an interesting character. She is young, unsure, and easily persuaded to turn down the man she loves-to protect herself, if something should happen to him, from poverty and an uncertain future.

Lando is the same. He is persuaded into making a deal with Darth Vader to protect his people, but after betraying Han, Leia, and Chewbacca; seeing what they did to Han; and after they renege on their deal- he decides to change his life. He stands up for his people and warns them, leaving it behind and joining the rebels.

For more on Anne Elliot, go to Fall For You

Hope you enjoyed that. Do you agree? Disagree? Comment and let me know. And remember:

For more on Star Wars, go to Dinner at Dad’s

For more on Sense and Sensibility, go to Suspense & Sensibility (Or First Impressions Revisited)

For more on Pride & Prejudice, go to The Darcy Monologues: Part I, The Regency

For more on Mansfield Park, go to What Would Jane Do?: Quips and Wisdom from Jane Austen

For more in Emma, go to Should We Pity Miss Bates or Strive to Be Her?

For more on Northanger Abbey, go to Midnight in Austenland

For more on Persuasion, go to For Darkness Shows the Stars

For more Jane Austen Mashups, go to A Bit Pottery About Jane Austen

 

Dracula. Not Myth, Nor Ravings of a Mad Irish Novelist, Oh No, He’s Real: Dracula 2000 (2000)

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Dracula. Dracula: not myth, nor ravings of a mad Irish novelist, oh no. He’s real, I assure you.

A long time ago, AMC used to do Fear Fridays. Every friday night at 8 they would show a horror film, and not stop until early Saturday morning. But then they pushed it back to 9, then 10, then 11, then 12, then 1 am, then 2 am; still calling it Fear Friday although it was actually Saturday morning. And then they just stopped doing it, which deeply saddened me as I saw many a good, creepy film those Friday nights.

Why did it end?

Why did it end?

This however, wasn’t one of those good movies.

Hate YOu

My sister and I saw this on one of those Friday nights and I hated this film. I thought it was dumb, stupid, boring, made no sense and couldn’t hold a candle to Bela Lugosi in Dracula (1931). And I vowed to never see it ever again.

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Last week, my friend and I were having a horror film marathon. We saw Once Bitten and then were in the mood for a more serious film. She was going through the list and wanted to see Dracula 2000 as she has never seen it before. I was like

No thank youhowaboutno

She then asked me what the film was about, if I could give her a summary, and I tried to tell her…

Uhhhhhhh

Uhhhhhhh

But I couldn’t remember. The only thing I could think of was that it had Johnny Lee Miller (who played Mr. Knightley in Emma (2009) and Edmund Bertram in Mansfield Park (1999) as the regular person thrust in the adventure (the only character I liked); Gerald Butler as Dracula (the reason I watched it the first time) but he was so young that it didn’t even look like him and I hated his character; a weird scene in the record store; and that I hated it. Why did I hate it, I couldn’t remember. The movie must have been so horrible I just wiped it from my memory banks.

Where

Since I couldn’t remember it, and thought maybe I was too harsh a judge, we decided to watch it and see if it was different this go round.

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I HATED IT!

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I thought it was horrible and stupid. So you know what that means! A countdown!!! Yes, let’s go over everything I liked (barely anything) to everything I hated (practically everything!)

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Synopsis:

The film is supposed to be Dracula set in modern times rather than 1831, so the year is 2000. In London, Matthew Van Helsing (Abraham’s descendent) has an antique store in which he is training Simon (Johnny Lee Miller). That night everyone but Matthew goes home, and unbeknownst to him his secretary Solina is part of a ring of thieves that breaks into his vault. They find nothing in there but crosses and a coffin, taking it as it must be valuable.

But something terrible lurks inside.

But something terrible lurks inside.

When Matthew discovers the theft, he goes after them, leaving Simon to watch over the business. However, Simon is worried about his mentor and follows him instead.

The thieves open the coffin and reveal that it is Dracula (Gerald Butler) who turns them all into vampires.

Renfield: He came and stood below my window in the moonlight. And he promised me things, not in words, but by doing them. Van Helsing: Doing them? Renfield: By making them happen. A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire! And then he parted it, and I could see that there were thousands of rats, with their eyes blazing red,l ike his, only smaller. Then he held up his hand, and they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: "Rats! Rats! Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red-blood! All these will I give you! If you will obey me!" Van Helsing: What did he want you to do? Renfield: That which has already been done! [giggles sinisterly]

Renfield: He came and stood below my window in the moonlight. And he promised me things, not in words, but by doing them.
Van Helsing: Doing them?
Renfield: By making them happen. A red mist spread over the lawn, coming on like a flame of fire! And then he parted it, and I could see that there were thousands of rats, with their eyes blazing red,l ike his, only smaller. Then he held up his hand, and they all stopped, and I thought he seemed to be saying: “Rats! Rats! Rats! Thousands! Millions of them! All red-blood! All these will I give you! If you will obey me!”
Van Helsing: What did he want you to do?
Renfield: That which has already been done!
[giggles sinisterly]

He then heads to New Orleans, LA. There lives Mary Heller, a devout Catholic, who has had strange dreams/visions her whole life but they seem worse now than ever before. She keeps seeing this man, unsure of who he is, but us viewers know him as Dracula.

Dracula

Simon and Matthew team up and try to destroy the new vampires, Simon originally shocked but after being attacked admits they are real. Matthew then reveals his secret, he is really Abraham Van Helsing, the Van Helsing.

Count Dracula: Van Helsing. [Van Helsing turns to face Count Dracula] Count Dracula: Now that you have learned what you have learned, it would be well for you to return to your own country. Van Helsing: I prefer to remain and protect those whom you would destroy. Count Dracula: You are too late. My blood now flows through her veins. She will live through the centuries to come, as I have lived. Van Helsing: Should you escape us, Dracula. We know how to save Miss Mina's soul if not her life. Count Dracula: If she dies by day. But I shall see that she dies by night. Van Helsing: And I will have Carfax Abbey torn down, stone by stone, excavated a mile around. I will find your earth-box and drive that stake through your heart. Count Dracula: Come here. [Dracula raises his hand to hypnotise Van Helsing] Count Dracula: Come here...Your will is strong, Van Helsing. [Van Helsing reaches out for his crucifix as Dracula looms toward him] Count Dracula: More wolfbane? Van Helsing: More effective than wolfbane, Count. Count Dracula: Indeed. [Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]

[Dracula lunges towards Van Helsing. Van Helsing holds up the crucifix. Dracula snarls and turns away. Van Helsing, in triumph, puts away the crucifix]

When he discovered nothing worked to kill Dracula, he imprisoned him in a coffin and took his blood to keep him young as he continued to try to find a way to destroy him. He was married and they had a daughter Mary, and in her blood is Dracula’s blood. When he told his wife the whole story, she left him and took his daughter to America.

And run fast

Dracula has lost his male vampires, but has three wives: Solina, the secretary; Valerie, a news reporter; and Lucy, Mary’s best friend. Simon and Helsing split up to look for Mary, Helsing being killed by Dracula and the wives at Mary’s house. Simon finds Mary and they escape, only for Mary to be captured later. Simon tries to help her; but is no match for all the vampires.

Dracula

Before Dracula turns Mary into a vampire, he reveals that he is Judas Iscariot and that is why he hates silver and crosses. He tried to hang himself, but the “rope broke” and God turned him into a vampire.

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I know. He turns Mary into a vampire, but I guess her already vampire blood counteracts it as she is not his slave.

You-serious?-Not-happening-babe!

She saves Simon, kills Dracula, and decides to continue the family business (although if she killed Dracula it is over) turning into a female Blade, kinda-sorta.

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So What Was Good?

There was only one thing I liked in this entire film, and that was Johnny Lee Miller’s character, Simon.

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Simon was extremely likable because he was just a regular person thrown into this situation and trying to make sense of it. All his reactions are spot on to when he thinks people are crazy to finally becoming a butt-kicking vampire hunter. He is kind, compassionate, caring, intelligent, and extremely witty.

Marcus: [Simon produces a cross] Sorry sport. I’m an atheist.

Simon Sheppard: [a dagger pops out of the cross’ base] God loves you anyway.

The other thing I like about him was how he represented the everyman or everywoman. Here is a guy who has read old inscriptions, heard stories, studied antique weaponry, etc; but studying and hearing it is much different than having to use it, have the myths be real, and be expected to hunt down vampires. He tries his best as he discovers this new reality, and even though he makes mistakes, all is forgiven as he is us, the viewer, in a sense. I thought he was fun and the best thought out thing in the film.

I like it!

I like it!

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So What Was Bad?

Everything else. Seriously, I mean it. The rest of the film was absolutely horrid.

1) Too Many Stars

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Like Scre4m it is hard to focus on a plot of a film when you are being hit right and left with people who are really famous. In every scene it felt more like a game of “Which Star Will Pop Up Next” rather than watching a film about Dracula. I mean we have Shane West, Christopher Plummer, Johnny Lee Miller, Omar Epps, Nathan Fillion, Vitamin C, etc. When casting you really have to be careful and not have too many recognizable people, or else your audience will be going bug-eyed.

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2) For a Dracula film there isn’t a lot of Dracula in it.

Dracula

Dracula is supposed to be about Dracula; but Dracula actually has a small role in this film. And unlike previous films, Dracula wasn’t even played by a big star with top billing; instead they choose Gerald Butler who had very little on his acting resume at the time this film was made. To me that is incredibly strange as he is the main character, THE TITLE CHARACTER. He should be the star, the biggest personality. Instead Dracula has very little dialogue and spends most of his time just creepily staring at people.

He's creepin' in your windows. He's starin' at your people.

He’s creepin’ in your windows. He’s starin’ at your people.

I didn’t like that, not one bit. As much as I disliked Bram Stoker’s Dracula, and I did a lot, at least that one knew what to focus on, DRACULA! It was a weird decision made by the writers, and a bad one.

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3) Mary, Mary Quite Boring

Bones David Bored I;m bored boring

Mary was so boring! I mean it what a yawnfest. All she did was cower, snivel, and act as if she was going to have a breakdown. Her character was bland and completely underdeveloped other than “good”, “Catholic”, and “British”. Now don’t get me wrong, the breakdown character can work but only in films where it is about psychological damage, like Rebecca, Gaslight or Under Capricorn, not a monster movie. In this type of film that kind of behavior is boring!

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4) Taking Blood to Live Longer, Yet He Doesn’t Become a Vampire

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In the book Dracula, the way to have someone become a vampire is to give them vampire blood. In this film Van Helsing keeps transfusing vampire blood into his body to live longer, but doesn’t become a vampire. That makes zero sense! If you ingest vampire blood you are a vampire. Pure and simple.

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5) Dracula is Judas

The Last Supper - Da Vinci 1495-98

Yes. It turns out the reason Dracula hates silver, crosses, bibles, Christianity, etc…is because he is Judas.

stupidestThingeverheard

Why would God turn him into a vampire? Why would God create a being that cannot be killed but kill his people making their souls unable to move on? That is just unbelievably dumb.

I mean if the devil was the one who did it, it would still be really dumb, but make a lil’ more sense.

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So yes it was dumb, incredibly dumb. Just stupid and horribly boring. My advice? Just skip it.

And after we finished the film, I asked my friend “What do you think of it?” Her response:

You as in the film

You as in the film

So there you go, not just me.

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dracula2024

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To start Horrorfest V from the beginning, go to Who You Gonna Call?: Ghostbusters (1984)

For the previous post, go to I’m…a Werewolf: Teen Wolf (1985)

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For more Dracula, go to We’ve Seen Dracula, the Wolf Man, and Frankenstein’s Monster: Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948)

For more vampire films, go to I Don’t Want to Be a Vampire. I’m a Day Person: Once Bitten (1985)

For more on Judas Iscariot, go to The Arrest

For more modern remakes, go to Heroes are Not Born, They’re Created: Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles (2014)

For more sucky remakes, go to Every Three Thousand Years, the Stars Align. Unleashing an Army of Monsters: TMNT (2007)

For more Gerald Butler, go to Pot o’ Gold: 17 Irish Heroes