25 September 2006

Supercali-what's the spelling?

I have no idea what that title means. I hate coming up with titles, so in things like this I tend to use the first thing that comes into my head.

In defense of myself (sorry Liz!), people have a different definition of what constitutes as 'busy', or 'too busy' or whatever. And for me, when it's been a long night and a boring class, doing anything outside of reading a book that I want to read or taking a nap is too busy. So for those of you (two! That's exciting) who bothered to read my last post, sorry for the tirade. Every once in a while all of us have fits of pessimism, and my last post was one of mine. And, like Ben said in the comments, sometimes it helps. For me anyway, sending out my frustration into a "void" (so to speak) helps me feel like I've at least done something with my frustration. I've turned it into something productive. Now, however, you'll be pleased to hear that I'm better. I'm not so depressed. I'm still exhausted (who isn't), but I'm feeling better about life in general.

I've got two things to discuss today. Ahem. The first one involves something important and the second one is probably only important to people like me and Liz who obsess over that marvelous book series (you know the one!)-Harry Potter.

I didn't have room in my schedule to take a religion class this semester (well, I did, but I'd be even more insane if I tried to manage school, work, play, and social life along with an extra two credit hours). So I've been doing a self guided study the past few weeks with CS Lewis as my guide. I've got a couple of books on the list to read in the next couple of months, starting with Screwtape Letters. Can I start by stating the obvious? Ok. The man is a genius. How can anyone so brilliant not have found the gospel? It's hard to find a page in my book right now where I haven't starred or underlined or made references to. His insight on temptation is incredible. I've found myself walking around in thought (something more people should do) thinking about where I am with my life and what it is that makes me tick. What about me is vulnerable to temptation? I'd say one thing would probably be my tendency to be a bit too serious with myself. I have issues relaxing. Anyway, if you haven't read CS Lewis (outside of Narnia), do it. He's on the top of my list of 'people I can't wait to talk to after I die'.

I have a theory about book to movie translations that I think should be commented on. I have a pretty good selection of DVD's. Ask my roommates. They fall into two categories (for the most part) : Book-movie, chick flick (and a few classics). Let's just say that if I didn't like my books made into movie films, my DVD collection would be pretty shallow. That being said, I think that people are too harsh on book-movie translations. And I'm sick of it. Let me explain how you should watch those movies...

1. Go in with the attitude that you're going to have a good time and be entertained. That's what movies are for, right? Why would we pay $8 to see something we thought we were going to hate? Just because all of your friends are going to see it, doesn't mean you have to. And if you do go, don't be negative the whole time.

2. Keep in mind that books and movies are entirely different genres. There are some things that just cannot work in a book that work in movies (and vice versa). For example: a good portion of most novels that have a narrator centered around the point of view of one character have a good deal of thinking. Inner monologues are a great way for an author to relay information to a reader either about a character, or about another character (that can be either honest or a kind of red herring). Inner monologues simply do not work in films. Then there is the issue of length: movies have about two-three (if you're Lord of the Rings) hours to present material to an audience. If everything from a book was translated directly into film, then we'd be there forever. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to see everything from Harry Potter put to film, but the book on tape for Harry 5, for example, is 27 hours long.

3. This one is very important, so if you're one of the people who complains about book-movie translations, then listen up. I'm going to state the obvious here, but some people miss it. Are you ready? Movies don't erase books. I know! It's amazing. I mean, the text of the missing/'messed up' scenes might be a little faded when you look in the book again, but it will still be there! Isn't that great?! So what if your favorite line of a book isn't in the movie? So what if the lead isn't like you imagined him/her? So what if they've taken away characters or added different scenes/or messed up the scenery/or whatever else they could do? You still, believe it or not, have the book. The book is still there. If you lose it, you can go to your local bookstore (I use Barns and Noble), to buy a new copy. I hate when people complain about how a movie "ruined" the book. That's stupid. Movies can't ruin books. They don't have that kind of power. Furthermore, movies can't kill your imagination, where how you imagined a book can always be there.

4. The purpose of book-movie translations should be to supplement what's already there. It shouldn't take away from the book (see above), it should just add an extra level of entertainment. It's just one person's view of how a book should look on the silver screen. It doesn't necessarily make them right and you wrong, it's just an idea.

5. When you critique book-movie translations, critique the movie. Don't critique the movie in relation to the book unless it's relevant. Don't critique minor things like hair style, or a specific color of red, unless it's crucial to the plot. Or at least don't let it ruin your movie going experience. Using the Harry Potter example, I would like for the movies to use Ron more like the book: Ron in the book is the relayer of information in the wizarding world. In the movie that role is given to Hermione and Ron is reduced to witty sidekick. A comment like that is relevant to the movie because it deals with characterization flaw. Another comment about Harry Potter that I could make is that I don't really like Emma Watson's acting as Hermione. I think the way she is directed is a bit obnoxious at times, and I don't really prefer the way she acts most of the time. Note though: I don't let these flaws ruin the movie for me. And I'm not trying to limit free speech-if you don't like a movie, you don't like a movie, but at least give a valid reason for it other than "it wasn't like the book" because that's stupid. Of course it's not like the book. It's a movie.

So, go into the world, watch movies, and become educated viewers. It makes it better, I promise. And if you still don't agree with me (a few of my roommates *cough*), then don't come whining to me about it any more, because "such and such a movie ruined the book" isn't a valid argument.


Sheila said...

I found your blog while looking up information on the Screwtape Letters for my book club.

I have to agree - I am really getting into the book and find C.S. Lewis BRILLIANT!

Great blog - I too am a big Harry Potter fan.

Lyssa Barton said...

I completely agree with you about C.S. Lewis. LOVE. Fun fact you might be interested in: a professor (Griggs) once told me that Elder Maxwell told him (I know, super hearsay, and I haven't been able to verify it in any way... but still) that Lewis actually did investigate the Church, but had too many issues with the doctrine (WoW, etc.) to join.

Joni said...

Wow, I'd forgotten all about this post. Blast from the many years ago past!

Griggs is a genius. One of the best classes I had at the Y was with him.