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Jane Austen: The Fanvid Madness

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I’ll admit it: I’m a Janeite. One of those fans obsessed with Jane Austen to the point of being hyper-critical of anything to dowith our beloved author. I tried to resist the urge to yell at thescreen during Becoming Jane but instead gave my friend a running commentary on all the film’s inaccuracies. I watched the 2005 Pride and Prejudice, groaning every time Keira Knightley pouted (so, basically, the entire movie). And yet, in spite of my rage and wish to throw something heavy at Anne Hathaway and Keira Knightley, I actually liked both movies. They’re not my favorite Jane Austen films — that honor goes to Roger Michell’s Persuasion but I enjoyed them because I have an Austen sickness. I can’t get enough of her: I criticize because I love.

Which leads me to the topic: Jane Austen fanvids. I was innocently searching YouTube for clips from the ITV Jane Austen Season that aired this past spring in the UK (don’t worry, my fellow American Janeites, Masterpiece Theatre is airing The Complete Jane Austen in 2008). when I began stumbling across videos with such titles as “You’re the One That I Want” — Jane Austen and Tom and Elizabeth and Darcy — “How to Save a Life.” Of the ones that I’ve watched, most turn Austen film adaptations into sappy teenage rom-coms complete with angsty music, which gave me the feeling that I was watching Dawson’s Creek or Laguna Beach, but the empire-waist dresses are a dead giveaway for Jane. These are the videos that make me die a little.

Some of the videos are kind-of funny though, like this oft-seen “Maneater” video with clips of the Austen ladies lookin’ fine. Nelly Furtado is an inspired choice to play over the women in their best gowns, but my favorite moment is the clip of Willoughby (Greg Wise) from Sense and Sensibility doing the Regency version of the Harlem Shake. Speaking of the Austen men; they get their own montage tribute set to Christina Aguilera’s “Ain’t No Other Man.” If you have ever argued over which Jane Austen hero is the hottest (and I absolutely have not… well… maybe not) then this is the video for you.

Even better than the music videos are the trailer mashups. How about the famous one combining Harry Potter and Pride and Prejudice (embedded above)?It’s been circulating for some time now, but it’s a classic anddeserves recognition for being so meticulously planned and executed.Beside, seeing Rupert Grint use Matthew McFadyen’s deep voice is just enormously entertaining. Apparently Harry Potter fits Jane Austen well because there is also a trailer mashup of Potter with Becoming Jane, but this time it’s Harry and Hermione who play the romantic leads.

What’s your verdict on these videos, PopWatchers: amazing, sad, or awesomely bad? Think Jane Austen herself would approve?