My first introduction to Emma was watching 1997 A&E production. I wasn't very impressed (I was quite young so I didn't 'get' the plot anyway). I hadn't really been introduced to Jane Austen yet, so it left no impression on me.
I probably watched the 1997 Emma a couple more times before I felt any urge to read the book. I couldn't get 'into' it and found it, for the most part dull. I didn't even finish it. Little did I know what I was missing. :)
I had seen the Paltrow adaption at the library several times, but I didn't think it was something I'd be interested in because on the back cover they presented it as a comedy and I'm not big on comedies. However, after reading some good reviews about it, I decided to watch it. Again, I wasn't really impressed though I did think Jeremy Northam was a big improvement over Mark Strong.
About this time I was getting more interested in Jane Austen and decided to try the book again. I was surprised because I actually enjoyed it.
Fast forward one year. I was really into Jane Austen, loved the book Emma, found the 1996 Emma diverting and occasionally watched the 1997 adaption. I wasn't aware that something was missing - Emma 2009. The library had a copy so one day I asked my mom if I could check it out. She was fine with it so I put it on hold and finally took it out of the library, eager to get home and watch it.
Now let me explain that I had seen promotional photos for Emma 2009 and I wasn't at all impressed with Mr Knightley. He didn't look like Mr Knightley, I thought. I. Was. Wrong. I watched Emma, fell in love all over again with Mr Knightley, switched from Gwenyth to Romola, and have watched it about three times since AND just borrowed it from the library this evening.
Emma is now one of my favorite books and Emma Woodhouse is my favorite heroine. And don't get me started on Mr Knightley.