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« Two random pedagogical observations | Main | Confession »

February 26, 2006

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Joe Mealyus

Oddly, I was making a connection last night to the Lord of the Rings movies, but for a very different reason.

One reason the LOTR films are so bad is the seemingly endless number of minor alterations - little fiddlings with the plot and characters - that serve to constantly replace something that in Tolkien is strange and different with something that is .... well, not strange and different. Something we've seen a million times before. (Perhaps the most insipid example is the trick Merry and Pippin play on Treebeard, I mean Disneybeard, to get him riled up).

And of course this is what happens in the last part of BH. Endlessly, all of the strangeness is sucked out and replaced with banality. Bucket in the book is all-knowing, all-seeing - he continually sets the scene (yet with a certain modestness of scope or at least affability). The scene in the book where Bucket presents the visiting Smallweed (and the various now-eliminated others) to Sir Leicester was so much better than the cliche (the "trap" for Hortense) it gets replaced with.

There's so many examples of this. Of course I guess once you junk the "Esther's narrative" idea you can't use/show things like Esther figuring things out by seeing them in people's faces (like how Woodcourt feels about her), or Esther's feelings toward Ada. And of course they reduced the gothicity.

But how could they not do the Esther/Bucket chase at the end? That's the best thing in the book. (Not that I'm any sort of real expert).

"Nevertheless, I spent most of the two hours sputtering incoherently at the screen" is apt.

Ophelia Benson

I commented on this (and other solecisms it reminded me of) at B&W, and Mick Hartley didn't hear 'damn poky house.' He thinks she must have said 'damp poky house.' That does sound a good deal more plausible! (Silly screenwriter and/or director should have seen that and changed it to poky damp house then.) Pretty funny if so!

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