1 August 2018 | julia2702
A very satisfying adaptation!
I can't tell you how curious I was to see this. Being both a Russian and a crazy fan of Andrew Davies adaptations. And, in a nutshell, I found W&P series heart-warming and absolutely satisfying. Truth be told - even finally opening up the greatness of this famous book to me. Never mind that it was written by my compatriot : )
A lot of students in Russia find the Leo Tolstoy masterpiece too big and too daunting. But it's a literature landmark, and you have to read it at school, at least skim through it : ) And because of that whopping size, it's hard to perceive the story as a whole - you just get too exhausted waiting for this or another thread to pick up again. However, Mr Davies shone his genius on us one more time - he took the essence of the story and presented it to a modern viewer in a digestible and tasty way. A big applause.
So, the choice of scenes for the script I find marvellous. Our own movie filmed by Sergey Bondarchuk is loved by many, especially by the older generation. But I've always thought it had too much emphasis on the war side of the novel. And what do we, women, watch period dramas for? : ) Of course more for the relationship side, to watch multilayered characters unfold. And Andrew masters this to perfection. It flows easily, one could watch all 6 episodes in a row - except that it's not a light and romantic Pride & Prejudice. This is deeper and more dramatic food for thought, which requires a break somewhere along the way.
The cast is generally very-very-very good. Pierre is portrayed brilliantly. I can't think of a better or a more sincere one. I also loved the choice of actress for Mariya Bolkonskaya, watching her I could forget this is a foreign actress. Can't say the same about Natasha Rostova, though. To me this was the worst casting fiasco. I'm sure Lily James tried her best. But I, personally, found her annoying in this part. I would prefer to enjoy her performance in Downton Abbey.
On the negative side are the erotic scenes. They are soooo off here. Can you imagine Mr Wickham and Lidiya having fun on the dining room table? I doubt the British audiences would approve of it in the adaptation of their beloved classic. So I couldn't understand why it was included here. The production isn't Tudors, so that's something which is expected least of all.
The other day I read a review by a Russian film critic, which said, "This wouldn't be a truly British adaptation if it didn't end with a scene of domestic bliss" : ) Ironic as it may sound, I find it a good thing and something to thank the production team for. Why not? I enjoyed the final scenes, even though in the original book some less satisfying points were highlighted by the author.
All in all, I felt the series was filmed with attention to detail (as best one can), respect for the original material (for the most part), as well as the nation's culture and traditions. After the disastrous "Anna Karenina" and "Onegin", which ruined 2 other all-time classics of the Russian literature, "War and Peace" by Andrew Davies was a pleasant treat. I just wish this outstanding man 200 years of a happy and productive life, so the world could enjoy more of his projects.