Saturday, July 23, 2016

My Favorite Things

My favorite singer did a post like this on his blog once, so I figured I'd try and compile a list of my favorite things. They are not rated from most favorite to least favorite, but I will separate them by category. Here we go: 

1. Watership Down by Richard Adams 
2. Carly's Voice: Breaking Through Autism by Arthur Fleischmann 
3. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak 
4. Flowers for Algernon (novel) by Daniel Keyes 
5. Station Eleven by Emily St. John Mandel 
6. The House of Silk by Anthony Horowitz 
7. The Seven Per-cent Solution by Nicholas Meyer 
8. Frankenstein by Mary Shelley 
9. Richard Bach novels 
10. The Terrorist's Son by Zak Ebrahim 

1. Watership Down (1978)
2. Hugo 
3. Hawking 
4. The Theory of Everything 
5. The Great Mouse Detective 
6. The Blind Side 
7. Dave 

Television Shows 
1. Sherlock 
2. Gravity Falls 
3. Cutthroat Kitchen 

1. Jeff Dunham 
2. Andre and Cirell 
3. Sheldon Cooper 

1. Adam Young Scores 
2. Owl City 
3. Port Blue 
4. Windsor Airlift 

1. Southampton (A. Young Scores)
2. Hot Air Balloon (Owl City) 
3. Bird with a Broken Wing (Owl City)
4. Seagulls (Port Blue) 
5. Wheels Down (A. Young Scores) 
6. Lunar Liftoff (A. Young Scores)
7. Splashdown (A. Young Scores) 
8. Hope (Windsor Airlift) 
9. Viva la Vida (Coldplay) 
10. Bright Eyes (Adam Young's cover) 

1. Adam Young 
2. Carly Fleischmann 
3. Malala Yousafzai 
4. Jeff Dunham 
5. Benedict Cumberbatch 
6. Martin Freeman 
7. Andrew Scott 
8. Stephen Hawking 

*In regard to the "People" category, these people are the ones who I feel are either amazing at something they do or inspire me in some way. Some are great at what they do and inspire me.*

So, yeah. These are my favorite things and they make my life a little brighter or inspire me or both and I love them for that. 

Thursday, July 14, 2016

Watership Down 2017 Remake

So I know I have been tending to talk a lot about Watership Down lately, but I have something I just have to get off my chest.

It's regarding the 2017 remake.

I've been reading a lot on the remake lately and, while most details at this point are vague at best, there's one detail that I cannot get off of my mind and it's that they are planning to tone down the violence in an attempt to make it kid-friendly! 

Whoa, whoa, whoa. Stop right there. This is the idea that has been bothering me for the last hour - and that's just in today's timeframe! I've been mulling over this for a couple of months. Why in God's - um, Frith's - name would you tone down the violence of a war story and deny yourself the opportunity to show the sometimes-brutal realism that made this story great in the first place? Why deny yourself the opportunity to teach today's children that, while nature is cruel, it is beautiful in spite of the cruelty? Notice how I cannot write that sentence without the word "cruel".

Because, yes, some acts committed by characters in this epic are cruel. Some characters suffer terrible pain, but learn from this pain and in the meantime the viewer sees that pain can teach lessons of great value. And the only cost is some bloody violence that, while it may make an impression on a really young mind (say, a five year old) that could be lasting, I think viewers older than ten could see it and the impression not be as strong for them. I could be wrong on the numbers, but my point is that I think people are overreacting to the first film's violence.

Overall, despite a rather melancholy feel that accompanied the 1978 film, Watership Down is a story that is great because it exposes the viewer to a reality that we can't shelter them from forever. I honestly feel that the parents were more traumatized by the film than their children!

After channel five aired the film on Easter Sunday and the complaints started rolling in, I couldn't help but laugh. Why? Because the complaints were all about the impact the movie had on the adults - not their children - as it took to the screen once again. Not one parent complained that their child wept or saw something that they couldn't stomach - no, the complaints were all centered on the older audience, teens being the youngest of the group, being horrified by a story that was never meant to be all fluffy and cute in the first place!

I mean, honestly, toning down the violence of this story would take away a crucial part of the action and in the end not show what the book is really about.

Despite all of this, I'm still planning to watch the new adaptation, but I doubt at this point that I'm going to like it. I really wish it would just air already so I can put my worries to rest and either praise it - or never watch it again. We shall see where this goes.

Friday, July 8, 2016

The Thing with Adapting Stories

So I'm sitting here in a restaurant and thinking about Watership Down and how beautiful its cover is. This is reminding me of the 2011 Lifeline theatre production of the novel. I wish I could have seen it, because I heard it was good. Seeing it on stage is something on my bucket list after seeing a clip from Lifeline. It looks like it is a good adaptation. The clip was of Hazel trying to come to terms with General Woundwort and stop his attack on Watership and it was nearly word-for-word what was actually said during the encounter. Not to mention that the man playing Woundwort was stellar in the scene. I was a little afraid of him by the end of the clip!
Sometimes adaptations of classic stories don't turn out well. I've always wondered about why there may be drastic changes from novel to screen or vice versa....
I know there are usually legitimate reasons in adaptations that clearly work hard to remain faithful. But sometimes I feel that those adapting the original work to another form of media try too hard to put their own twist on things and the original story is lost in translation.
Take the Percy Jackson film series for a second, okay? I read The Lightning Thief when I was twelve and didn't like it much. I won't go into why, but when I'd heard of all the changes they'd made for the film, I was disappointed. As much as I didn't like the book, I hate seeing written work be disrespected. For example, Annabeth not being blonde in the first film is excusable, since it doesn't affect overall plot, but Percy battling Luke instead of Ares? That's a change I can't wrap my head around. Why was that change needed?
Now, getting back to Watership Down, there was a TV series that ran from the late 1990s to the early 2000s. Responding to criticism from the animated film, it was a watered down (pun totally intended) version that took care of the majority of the story from the novel in the first ten episodes. The events were also twisted to meet parental standards (I personally don't care how many parents would have called sexism on the show, Blackberry being a doe was unacceptable). Another twisted event that comes to mind is why was Hyzenthlay's story changed to involve another warren?
Honestly, stuff like this boggles my mind. I'm terrified of how the 2017 Watership remake could turn out. Please, God, have them respect the written word...