Wednesday, 1 January 2014

More thoughts - Book vs Film?

 More Thoughts on the Audio-Visual Media. The Audio-Visual Media - that's film and TV to you and  I, Noble Readers - are often a delight in themselves, but they do play a rather bullying role when it comes to the gentle world of books, and I think it's about time that aspect was commented upon. All it takes is for a well-loved classic novel to be brutally assaulted by film or TV, and the results can be truly horrifying. The insensitive and inept handling of a delicately beautiful and subtly-perfumed narrative often renders it a vile and stinking corpse. This we all know very well, and I shall not sink to identifying specific instances - I'm sure, Noble Reader, that you can supply many of those yourself.
But even when film and TV makes the transformation finely and nicely and there is professionalism and sensitivity oozing from the production, there is still always something important lost, make no mistake about it.

Let me explain. Take for example that widely-approved adaptation of The Lord of the Rings by Peter Jackson. I myself thought the films excellent, and they were rewarded with multiple honours and doubtless many box-office dollars. But it's awful to contemplate and sad to report, Noble Readers, that their very popularity has left the Tolkien world divided into two sorts of people.
There are those who read the trilogy  before seeing the movie, and there are those who read it after seeing the movie. The former group - few now, and growing fewer by the year, I suspect - had to do their own spade-work, by which I mean they had to imagine the appearance of Middle Earth and all that it contained. Each reader imagined it differently. Each vision, so created, was personal. This is the way with books.

The latter group have been denied this important pleasure.  Many of their number would have read a trilogy whose very covers showed Peter Jackson's images, and all of them would have had Peter Jackson's Frodo and Peter Jackson's Gollum fixed immovably in their minds before ever Tolkien's Gandalf the Grey turned up at any birthday party.
On the whole, I'm glad the films appeared. I enjoyed them, and I did marvel at the excellent job Peter Jackson managed, but his creation has diminished Tolkien's books. About that there can be no question at all.

1 comment:

  1. Your thoughts are spot on. Media productions rob a vital asset to all minds: imagination. Individualized and interpretive imagination. We were each given our own minds to journey our own unique path. It should be a requirement to create your vision of the novel/narrative & then compare it to the movie, if one must watch a movie. That's a more self-teaching approach that cradles your original understanding and imagination.