Some under the hairdryer thoughts, having finally seen the preview.
So the new version of Brideshead Revisited is out and the promotional material is painting quite a...mood. It looks fuckin trite, is what it looks like. Awful.
Lurid, in the most boring ways. They play up the he/she - Sebastian/Julia - thing hugely, heavily, start to finish. OH MY CHARLES IS (horrible bit in the preview when Michael Gambon - who has to be playing Lord Marchmain - I would have guessed that blindfolded with my arms behind my back - puts his arms around them both and talks about the "temptation") ATTRACTED TO THE BROTHER AND THE SISTER (wonder if they're going to squish the events chronologically?). And they also front and center Lady Marchmain - Emma Thompson - as if it is she Charles will be betraying - really heavily. Rather than...making it "about" Charles. And thus the whole family.
It doesn't pay to revere the 1981 version too much, but one thing it avoided was lurid--which made it all the more sexy, of course. And the book is already a consumerist festival...it doesn't need torquing and tweaking to convey the riches of by-gone twixt the war-ness, which the preview chucks in your face with a bucket.
This version just looks tired. It could be anything - marketing is marketing. But as far as selling it they're clearly trying to make it...Atonement. All sorts of visual assurances that this is a pretty period piece, fleshed out from the underwear to the long shots, but with the naughtiness you crave inside. They cast Charles/Sebastian/Julia really young, too.
The one thing I know about this version--I haven't wanted to know anything--is that Jude Law was originally supposed to be Sebastian. That...I coulda gotten with. I can't think of a single better pairing of actor/part. But if it had been in an awful adaptation that would have been rather excruciating.
And how about this titling? They're practically dropping the "REVISITED" (in aural emphasis too, in the preview). It's supposed to read as if "MANDERLEY" or something, I think (makes the word "Brideshead" feel different - gorier). If there ever were a book about which the second word of the title told you what you needed to know, it's this goddamn book. Not to mention that looks so X-Files. Batman.
I don't want to be a crank for the sake of being a crank. A reactionary on principle. I don't think I am. But bad, gratuitous period adaptations get my hackles up with their casual molestation of great (I'll say it) art. This one looks bad.