Wednesday, November 30, 2005

TIME on Books v. Movies

Here is a portion of a TIME article comparing recent film adaptations to their respective books. The Lion, the Witch, and the Wardrobe is among those featured, and I have copied the related parts here:

-- Winner: Book

CHALLENGES: Right off the bat, the screenwriters had to commit sacrilege by tinkering with a beloved children's classic. They also had to wrestle with a strongly Christian plot that flirts with Sunday-school didacticism and had to keep kids interested despite a noticeable lack of exploding spaceships.

HOW THE BOOK WAS BETTER: Director Andrew Adamson Hollywoodizes Lion with a dreary, rote chase scene and "punches up" C.S. Lewis' dialogue with a pair of tiresome beavers with Cockney accents who engage in sitcom-style banter.

HOW THE MOVIE IS BETTER: Whereas Lewis let World War II stay in the book's background, the movie opens with a stark, scary shot of Luftwaffe bombers pummeling London. It's a daring stroke that brings out the dark strata of loss and violence that lay beneath the story. Lewis also soft-pedaled the book's climactic battle between the forces of good and evil; the movie makes it the set piece readers have always wanted. "It'd be a crime not to show a fight between a centaur and a minotaur," says screenwriter Christopher Markus.

DEFINITIVE VERSION: Nothing will ever touch the subtlety, mystery, power and charm of Lewis' novel. But this Lion is still a noble beast.

I have to admit the bit about the "sitcom-style banter" of the beavers does leave me a bit uneasy. How typically Disney, although supposedly Disney has nothing to do with the making of the movie, just the distribution. I can stomache very few recent Disney cartoons, as recent Disney cartoons are usually driven by humor, not by plot. I prefer some meat myself. I do hope the beaver side-show proves to be miniscule.


zan said...

I agree about the Disney cartoons. What happened to them. They are all SUPPOSED to be funny. No more fairy tales. The last Disney cartoon I enjoyed was Beauty and the Beast' and I was eleven when that came out. Everything since then has been so shallow.

As far as TIME's review. I don't put a lot of faith in reviews. Some of my favorite movies got terrible reviews. There is this one review show, "Ebert and Robert" or something like that. I can always tell if a movie is going to get a good review based on how weird the story is.


Susan said...

Funny, because in the past I also have given Beauty and the Beast as the last of the great Disney movies. There have been a few since then that I have enjoyed - I must admit to liking Finding Nemo and Toy Story - but none have the same quality or timelessness as the old ones. I don't mind humor, just not when it is the lasting impression of a movie. If the best thing I can say about a movie is that it was funny, than I am not apt to watch it again.

I am partial to period dramas myself. Now that is quality entertainment. Give me a good Jane Austen Movie or the like. Wives and Daughters is my current favorite. I could write a lengthy character sketch on Molly Gibson. I'd also love to write a character sketch on Daniel Deronda.

Yes, I am not putting a whole lot of faith in TIME's review, but it does make me a tad uneasy. In LOTR, Gimli was a nice comic relief without becoming annoying. Hopefully the beavers will be similar.

Oh, and I finally responded to your comment to gift certificates, Zan. A little late, yes.

zan said...

I know. I am dying to see the recent Pride and Prejudice. Give me substance. if all you give me is fluff I will scream.

Oh, I love humor but usually a joke is only funnya few times then it is old news.

I saw Wives and Daughters by accident one afternoon on PBS. I loved it. I don't know how I missed that book when I was young. I read just aobut every classic worth reading (atleast I thought I did). 'Jane Eyre' remains my absolute favorite to this day.

I did enjoy Toy Story but I didn't consider them Disney because Pixar was the guys who came up with the idea. Disney isn't even associated with Pixar now. I enjoyed all of the family friendly themes of the Pixar cartoons. However, the beauty and romance of the old Disney cartoons like Sleeping Beauty and Lady and the Tramp are gone. Most of the recent cartoons by Disney are funny but I think they are too adult for children. I really liked, "The Incredibles," but not for little kids, sorry. Sometimes if I put a cartoon on for my son it just looks so flashy. I am afraid he is going to break out in a seizure or something.

Going to see what you said about the gift certificates. I totally forgot that I wrote anything about gift certificates.


une_fille_d'Ève said...

picking random blog post to check to make sure this works... have a good day :-)...