Goodness. It seems like this blog has become a movie/book review blog and nothing else. But I like writing reviews, and Return To Cranford was an excellent period drama, and this blog is all about period drama (well, mostly) so here's my review. To begin, nothing can be better than the first movie. Sequels usually aren't better than the first book/movie, you know, and Return To Cranford was no exception. However, it was a charming film (I can't really call is a miniseries, especially as there were only two episodes) and I thoroughly enjoyed it. One thing that made RTC feel different from Cranford, was the absence of some characters that were there throughout the whole first miniseries. Mr Carter, of course, as well as Lady Ludlow, Martha, and Jem (I know the last three were in RTC, but they weren't there for most of it). Not to mention Dr Harrison and Sophy.
I did like it that none of the cast members had changed from the original. One of my theories about Martha and Lady Ludlow dying so quickly was that they had pressing engagements elsewhere, but the film directors wanted them in for continuity purposes. But since they couldn't stay for long, they just killed them off. Typical BBC (oh, that reminds me of something...when we all thought that Harry had died, and then he 'came back to life', my five year old brother said "But he's a main character", as if giving a reason that he couldn't really die and my mom said "That doesn't make any difference". Ah, yes, we know BBC far too well). But it was really fun to see all the old cast (as well as some new faces, which I'll get to in a moment). And although two years may not have made a difference with most of the cast, it definitely did with the guy who plays Harry. He shot up about a foot or more, I think, and his voice was a lot deeper. It was actually a bit hard to understand him at times.
So...about the characters. Pretty much all the old cast had the same personality traits, with the exception of Harry and Mary (hehehehe...I'm a bit of a poet...). Now, from what I'd gathered from reading Amy's review of RTC, I thought Harry would be a foolish, disobedient boy who totally disregarded Mr Carter's instructions and just did his own thing. However, he wasn't like that at all. Sure, he let Septimus have the estate, but he thought he was doing the right thing. And he ran away from school/refused to go back, but I think he was justified, at least a little. I mean, the stuff he went through at that school...*shudders* I'd refuse to go back. As for Mary, well, I'm not sure about her character. Having very recently seen a friend go through a similar situation as she did, I can't really decide whether or not she was in the right. I guess breaking off an engagement just because you want to write more doesn't seem a really good motive. Anyway...
I really liked the new characters. William Buxton, Peggy Bell, Lady Glenmire/Mrs Brown. I agree with pretty much every other fan of Cranford in saying that I liked William just a wee bit better than Frank. His and Peggy's relationship was so sweet and adorable and full of obstacles (which made me root for them harder). I liked how he got a job working for the railway, even though it was such hard work, so that he could support Peggy. Peggy herself was great. A good replacement for both Sophy and Mary. I never quite figured out her relationship to Edward/Mrs Bell. They treat her like a servant, at times, so I'm thinking she's their stepdaughter? I'm not sure. And I really liked Lady Glenmire. I just knew she was going to marry Captain Brown.
I loved, loved, loved the ending. I had this huge grin on my face during the dance - the music was so pretty. It was really sweet. Everything got wrapped up nicely, and everyone was happy. The perfect ending to the entire Cranford story. On a completely unrelated sidenote, it was, shall we say, interesting to finally see Septimus. To tell the truth, I thought his manservant was Septimus himself, at first. But I quickly figured out how everything went. And wasn't Miss Galindo great when she gave him what-for? I was mentally cheering her on in that scene.
Have you watched Return To Cranford? Who is your favorite character?