Saturday, July 23, 2016
Thursday, July 14, 2016
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
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...