Love Story: Review of Jane Eyre Miniseries (1983)
By Christy Box, Grade 10

Anyone who loves romance, mystery, and epic adventures is sure to love this. Don’t get scared off by the fact that it’s a Victorian novel. Jane Eyre isn’t about society or strictly romance. It’s a romance, yes, but it is also shrouded in secrets, lies, and the mysterious Mr. Rochester. Since I loved the book so much, I had to check out the miniseries when I ran across it, just to see if it lived up to my imagination.

Jane Eyre is a miniseries from 1983 starring Zelah Clarke as Jane Eyre and Timothy Dalton as Mr. Rochester. The story begins with a young Jane Eyre being neglected and mistreated by her uncaring aunt, and then by the teachers at the charity school she is sent to. However, she overcomes this and goes on to become a teacher. When she leaves the school, she is hired to be a governess at the mysterious Thornfield Hall. Strange things begin to happen that Jane cannot explain. It really get interesting when the owner of Thornfield, Mr. Rochester, shows up. Stranger and stranger occurrences happen as Jane tries to figure out her interesting, complex employer. A romance begins to ensue, but this strange secret stands in their way.

First of all, I’d like to point out that the actors in this movie are some of the most spectacular I’ve ever seen. Timothy Dalton acts exactly like I have always imagined Mr. Rochester acting, right down to the mannerisms and expressions, and Zelah Clarke fits everything about Jane Eyre. She even looks like the Jane described in the book. Admittedly, Timothy Dalton is much too handsome to be the literary Mr. Rochester, who was sometimes described as “ugly” or “not handsome,” even by Jane herself, but that was the only discrepancy I could think of about his portrayal. I will now always imagine Jane and Mr. Rochester as these actors because of how perfect they were in their roles.
I have to commend this miniseries for staying so close to the book. There were a few parts that were cut, but most of the best parts are still there. The dialogue was taken directly from the book, and the plot never strayed. I consider the book to be one of the most perfect pieces of literature ever created, so I was very glad to see there was no “creative license” taken with anything. This is great for anyone who loved the book exactly the way it was.

I do have one side note. If you want to see this miniseries, read the book first. This miniseries has just part of the effect of the actual book, and you do not want to spoil the book by knowing the ending already. If you’ve read the book and love it, pick up a copy or watch it on Nexflix. It really is worth every minute.

Source:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0085037/
A Complicated Man: A Review of "Lawrence of Arabia"
By Christy Box, Grade 10

It was World War I, and T. E. Lawrence was stationed with the British Army in Cairo, Egypt. In 1916, he was sent to help the Arab Revolt stay alive to fight the Turks. During the course of the war, he led many very successful attacks with the Arabs. That's not even the most interesting part of the movie. What is interesting is that all of that is historical fact.

"Lawrence of Arabia" was a film released in 1962 starring Peter O'Toole, Omar Sharif, Alec Guinness (before he played Obi-Wan in "Star Wars"), and Anthony Quinn. The setting is Arabia during World War I. The genre is a combination of a war story, a biography, and an action/adventure tale. Thomas Lawrence (Peter O'Toole) is a somewhat out-of-place soldier in the British military stationed in Cairo. He is sent to investigate the Arab Revolt under Prince Feisal (Alec Guinness). Along the way, his guide is killed. He ends up being led by the mysterious Sharif Ali (Omar Sharif). He soon befriends Sharif Ali and Prince Feisal as they are tied together by their adventure. While he is with the Arabs, he leads them on to many victories against the Turks. All of his notoriety draws attention, and he is soon named leader of the Arab Army. However, Lawrence must now battle with the fame he has achieved and his own self-image, besides dodging the Turkish army that now has a price on his head.

This movie really captures the attention. However, you should be warned. This movie is three and a half hours long, some of which includes slowly crossing the desert and several-minute-long openings to the two parts where there is a black screen and music playing (which, believe it or not, was intended). This is why we have that magical fast-forward feature. After you fast-forward, it should be three hours even. But don’t get scared off yet! Those remaining three hours are filled with complex characters, epic battles, and more sand than you can possibly imagine. T.E. Lawrence is a very interesting and complicated character that draws you in, even in slower parts. Besides Lawrence, most of the other character are also based off real people, such as Prince Feisal and Auda Abu Tayeh.

The actors and writers deserve a lot of credit, as well, for such an awesome movie and the seven Academy Awards that followed. Peter O’Toole does a really great Lawrence. I actually believed he was Lawrence for a while. Of course, I am so fond of Alec Guinness that I would love him in any part, but his portrayal of Prince Feisal was really amazing (and reminded me a lot of Obi-Wan Kenobi). Omar Sharif might have just done the best job of all.

I recommend this movie to anyone who wants to pass three hours with a great cast of characters and a riveting true story. Granted, it’s long, but you just might find it’s a great way to spend those hours.

Sources:
http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0056172/
http://www.pbs.org/lawrenceofarabia/players/lawrence.html

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