Monday, October 15, 2012

Review: The Kent Chronicles - Part 3 (1979)

And so we come to the final part of The Kent Chronicles. Well, it was fun watching it, but now I'm done with all three movies in this movie series. But how did Part 3 fare? Did the series end on a high note or did it disappoint? Well, read on and find out!

Note: This review will contain spoilers from Part 1 and Part 2 without any warning (Part 3 spoilers there will be a warning). If you do not want to spoil Part 1 or 2, do not read this review. Read Part 1 and Part 2 Reviews

Phillip Kent, owner of a successful printing shop, now married to Peggy McLean, and has two sons and an adopted daughter, is settled in Boston with his family. Abraham Kent, Phillip's eldest son, falls in love with Elizabeth Fletcher, his stepsister, and they get married and move out west.

While there are some recognizable actors/actresses in Part 3, there aren't as many as the other two parts. Here are some that you might recognize, but there weren't any names I recognized from any other period dramas:

Actor/ActressCharacterAlso in...
Randolph MantoothAbraham KentEmergency as John Gage
Delta BurkeElizabeth Fletcher KentDesigning Women as Suzanne Sugarbaker
George HamiltonLt. Hamilton StovallVarious Movies

As I've said before, Phillip Kent does return in this part of The Kent Chronicles, however I was disappointed that Andrew Stevens, who played Phillip originally, did not reprise his role and instead was replaced by actor Martin Milner. Personally, I didn't care for Martin Milner as Phillip and much preferred Andrew Stevens. Maybe it's because I was more used to Andrew Stevens as Phillip and the fact that major cast changes don't sit well with me. I hate it when any series does that where they replace actors/actresses in the middle of the series (especially when it's main characters). I mean, in the beginning of a series, you can get away with it sometimes, but not in the middle or towards the end. They did the same thing to Peggy where they replaced the original actress, though this might not have been so grievous since she only appeared in Part 2 and we didn't get to see her all that much.

Elizabeth and Abraham Kent
The first part of the story focuses on how Abraham Kent, the son of Phillip Kent, and Elizabeth Fletcher Kent, the daughter of Peggy McLean Kent (Phillip's new wife), fall in love and marry. Elizabeth is constantly at odds with her stepfather and always tries to rebel. Personally, I didn't much care for the way she disliked Phillip and everything he stood for: that part of her personality got old quickly since it seemed like everytime she was in the same room with Phillip she started a fight. Abraham seemed a little more steady at first, but then suddenly he makes the decision to move out west to start up a farm despite the fact that he didn't know anything about farming (save what he read in some articles). After Abraham and Elizabeth got married and once they moved out west and had a son (whom they named Jarod), they become more likable. Spoiler However, things go bad when Elizabeth was killed. Suddenly, Abraham became a very bad character and took part in questionable behavior that ended up killing him in the end, leaving Jarod an orphan. End of Spoiler

Young Amanda and Jarod Kent

The second part of the story focuses on Jarod Kent and how he was brought up by his uncle, Gilbert (Abraham and Elizabeth Kent's half brother) and Gilbert's spiteful wife, Harriet. Gilbert was always kind to Jarod, but Harriet was always cruel to Jarod and disliked him because of Abraham's behavior. Jarod becomes very close friends with Amanda, his cousin and the daughter of Gilbert and Harriet. His relationship with his cousin was a very sweet relationship: Jarod promised Gilbert that he would protect Amanda, and Jarod does was he can to protect her. Spoiler He does fail at this later in the story, however, but the last part of the movie has him searching for her after she was kidnapped. End of Spoiler

The West
In Part 3, we still get to see quite a bit of Boston, but we also get a glimpse of the western United States when Abraham and Elizabeth live there after they got married. There was a lot of farmland and very few buildings, but there wasn't anything spectacular in the scenery. There are also some ocean scenes that we get to see when Jarod joins the navy (probably the best scenery in the film). Again, like the other two parts, the film quality isn't the greatest, but it's better than the film quality of BBC productions of the same time.

Finally! Regency wear! The story starts in 1794 (a year before Regency fashions took off), but nevertheless, we get to see Regency wear. Though I like Regency fashions, it seems a little odd to me to see them since a) Regency fashions didn't take off until 1795, and b) America wouldn't very likely get current fashions that fast... unless there was some French influence that caused them to get there quicker? But hey, it's Regency fashions! The men's outfits are nice, but don't really vary all that much from before. The ladies do have nice Regency fashions, but what bothered me was that their hair was 95% of the time down, even in public! So, we do miss out on some Regency hairstyles.

Now, there was one other thing that bothered me. When Abraham and Elizabeth move out west, Elizabeth and a new friend of hers, Mrs. Clapper, were wearing dresses that looked more like they came out of 1950s Westerns that took place in the 1850s. I didn't think that even work clothes looked like that at that time period. Sure, they're not going to buy the latest fashions out west, but you would think their outfits would look remotely Regency or even Georgian, not Victorian.

Overall: 2.75/5
You know how a series should end on a high note? You know, where you finish watching it and you say "Wow! That was great! I wish there was more!" Well, don't expect that with The Kent Chronicles after watching Part 3. Compared to the other two parts of this movie series, this was definitely the worst (though I've seen worse movies out there). Why wasn't it as good as the other parts? Well, for one thing, they changed the actor that played Phillip! It's very hard to make a movie that is just as good as the others when you change the actor for the main character of the other two movies, no matter how small his role is in the third movie! Same thing with his wife, Peggy, who appeared in Part 2: they had a different actress and it just didn't feel right. Another thing that didn't help this movie was how they changed the main characters half way through the movie (no, I'm not talking about changing actors/actresses halfway through the movie); the first half of the movie focused on Abraham and Elizabeth Kent and when they got married and moved out west, Spoiler but by the intermission half way through, Elizabeth was dead and Abraham was deathly ill End of Spoiler so the focus shifted from them to their son, Jarod. Although Jarod wasn't a bad character, the situation that he was in with Amanda wearied me; nothing seemed to go right for them, which frustrated me. Spoiler And what was with that ending? Kent and Son's fate is up in the air (had they made a fourth film, that wouldn't have been so up in the air from what I've read about the next book in the series), and Jarod just accepts Amanda not coming with him? What is up with that?! End of Spoiler

But anyways, I'm getting a little long-winded here. I would have been happier if Part 3 continued Phillip Kent's story, though that may have been a little hard since he was injured at the end of Part 2. But sadly that wasn't the case and the story wasn't about Phillip Kent. This final part of the story proved to be a bit of a disappointment.

The content in Part 3 is a little more severe than Parts 1 and 2. Overall, it was PG-13, but some scenes and themes nearly bordered on R. There is some violence, but not graphic violence (in fact, some of it was badly acted). There were scenes scattered throughout that were more adult and should be skipped over. There are also some implications, but nothing is graphic about those scenes.

The Kent Chronicles Overall: 3.5/5
Honestly, the first two parts of The Kent Chronicles were the ones most worth watching. If you didn't want to watch this third part, you wouldn't miss too much. I wouldn't recommend this movie series to young children, so I would say that overall it was PG-13. But The Kent Chronicles series is worth watching. Not sure if I would rewatch it again (and if I did, it would only be the first two parts), but it was still good.

All three parts of The Kent Chronicles is available on DVD. Part 3 runs for 240 minutes.

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