Monday, May 14, 2012

Review: The Mystery of Edwin Drood

I first heard of The Mystery of Edwin Drood in one of my English classes -- that it was Charles Dickens's unfinished novel. I didn't know anything else about it, though, until this adaptation was announced. I finally got to watch it online through Masterpiece's website. Here are my thoughts.

DVD Box Art
John Jasper, a choir director, has been in love with Rosa Bud, the fiancee of his nephew, Edwin Drood. John Jasper is determined to get Rosa Bud, but he has to get Edwin Drood out of the way in order to do so.

Couple of familiar faces are present in The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Tamzin Merchant (Rosa Bud) is also seen in Pride and Prejudice (2005) as Georgiana Darcy. Julia Mckenzie (Mrs. Crisparkle) is also seen in Cranford as Mrs. Forrester. Alun Armstrong (Mr. Grewgious) is also seen in Little Dorrit as Mr. Flintwich.

I didn't like Edwin Drood at first. Spoiler During the first half of the movie, but once he came back at the very end, he was a little more likable. (The fact that he actually came back at the end and was not killed is one of the biggest twists in the whole story). End of Spoiler He was an arrogant, conceited man. Most of the time, you felt that Rosa was too good for him, but after a little while you see that he really loved Rosa, though she did not love him back.

John Jasper watching Rosa Bud with Edwin Drood.
John Jasper is one of the creepiest characters in any period drama I have watched or any book I have read. Seriously, he made Rigaud from Little Dorrit look normal (okay, not quite normal, but you get my point). The story follows him around for a good deal of the time, which isn't necessarily a good thing. Due to his frequent opium usage, we see many of his hallucinations (which are usually creepy and violent).

Twins Neville and Helena Landless play a role in the story and contribute to one of the plot twists. Both of them were likable and they were good friends to Rosa Spoiler Why didn't Neville and Rosa get married?! He cared so much for her, but she only saw him as a friend. Uggh! End of Spoiler

Rosa walking with her guardian, Mr. Grewgious.
The story takes place in the town of Cloisterham. The scenery is very grey and has very few colors, which fits with the story since it is not a happy story. There are scenes that take place within a cathedral; the cathedral is very lovely to look at. Other scenes take place at the school that Rosa lives, around Cloisterham and a little bit near London.

Much of the music of The Mystery of Edwin Drood has a very serious tone to it. Apart from the soundtrack music, we are treated to church choir music, which is very nice to hear (though it would be nicer if John Jasper wasn't conducting them).

John Jasper with Rosa (though she hated being near him).
I do like the lace that she is wearing in this picture.
The costumes were pretty! Rosa and Helena had some very nice dresses. Judging from the look of their dresses, I would say that the story took place either in the 1840s or the early 1850s. I liked how Rosa's necklines were trimmed and filled in with lace: it was a very pretty look. I do question why the costumers left Rosa's hair down for most of the movie. It was during the last couple of scenes her hair was put up as ladies would put up their hair at the time. She was young, so her hair down would have given the impression that she was young, but at 17, she should have had her hair up. Edwin Drood had some fancy jackets on, which would fit with his character.

Overall: 1.5/5
Let me just say this: this was one messed up plot. I'm still trying to absorb what just happened. In ways, the story was interesting, but it had a very creepy tone to it (hence the low rating). There are a lot of twists and turns in the story that keeps you watching however (at some parts my jaw dropped for a good couple of minutes as I said "WHAT?!"); I do have to say that some of those plot twists were pretty bizarre (dare I say unrealistic?). I guess with me, I saw it once and was mildly entertained, but probably wouldn't watch it again (unless someone I knew really, really wanted to see it).
Content... There is violence (no blood, but the same couple of violent scenes are flashed back to). There is also some drug use (John Jasper frequently uses opium and we see the effects of it). That was pretty much it, but those two issues are in the plot frequently. If this was in the theaters, it probably would be rated PG-13.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood is available on DVD. It runs for 120 minutes.

1 comment:

  1. I was also allll about the Neville/Rosa. I feel like I'm falling in love with a lot of not-to-be 'ships lately.

    I assume they left her hair down to really make the "too young to get married"/"now marriage is srsly going to happen" divide more obvious, but I haven't watched it for a while ... for the same reason you gave it a 1.5, it's so creepy.


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