At long last, the new film version of Anna Karenina is opening, albeit to mixed reviews. Director Joe Wright and lead actress Kiera Knightly have worked together twice before, on Pride and Prejudice in 2005 and Atonement in 2007. These efforts were both critical and financial successes, so news of a third collaboration on something as grand as Tolstoy was well received.

The stills we’ve seen so far from the film are beautiful, showing lavish costumes and sets that promise to bring 19th century Russia to life. In fact, the costumes have even inspired a fashion line from Banana Republic, as we reported back in July. So, if nothing else, the movie should be a feast for the eyes.

Unfortunately, according to some of the reviews, that may be all it is. With descriptions such as “boldly imaginative miscalculation” and “pristine, polished and admirable, but structurally brittle and completely hollow,” one has to be concerned going in that it will all just be impressive eye candy. Of course, we won’t really know until we see it ourselves.

Now, Anna Karenina is, of course, not a Steampunk story. It is, however, set in the 19th century and therefore includes many of the visual elements that Steampunk has borrowed from that time. Given that the visuals for this version are the one thing not in doubt, it is probably worth seeing for the aesthetic experience alone.

If you do see it, please drop a note here and let us know what you thought.