Thursday, June 19, 2008

Brideshead: Revisited

Honestly, i wasn't really all that worried/ aggravated by the new movie off of Brideshead Revisited, but after reading the little bit of an article about it in the July issue of Elle magazine... i kind of had to beat the magazine against the wall. They're ruining it, & it especially irks me how they are sticking Julia everywhere. She's not supposed to be in Venice, or at Brideshead when Sebastian breaks/twists/does whatever to his ankle!

It sounds like they're just completely changing the ideas of the book-- especially when it comes to the religion aspect; Waugh will be turning in his grave-- & it gives the distinct impression that they have very little respect for those. Making Lady Marchmain out to be a monster-- i mean, i didn't really like her, but making her out to be some sort of monster just is wrong. "Poor Mummy" indeed.

And to cut out the whole whatever thing with Charles & Sebastian & just making Sebastian gay... To take out that relationship is just so stupid, & to just come out & decide to make Sebastian gay just takes away the ambiguity of his & Charles' relationship; it cheapens the story somehow, makes it more shallow. It aggravates me that it's just focusing on Charles & Julia's relationship because "Sebastian was the first." It makes me want to hate Julia, & i never really hated Julia. Not my favorite character, but i didn't hate her, & i don't like how drastically they're changing things, especially by making her this central thing, by having her everywhere, by making only her & Charles matter, instead of having both the relationships & keeping it as layered a story as it ought to be.

I mean, at least when PJ made LotR, even with drastic changes (Arwen at the Ford, Frodo showing the Ring (wtf), Frodo & Aragorn's characters being slightly uncanon (read: watered down & kind of wimpy at points)), one could tell there was still care & respect for the original story. But with this, it feels like they're taking Waugh's writing & twisting the story to their own ends, especially (once again) regarding the religion angle. Personally, i don't think Waugh's idea of religion comes across too well-- i think it's more a negative aspect in the book-- but it's wrong to just take a whole different spin on it. It's like they're trying to cater to their audience too much, by changing bits of the story to suit what the audience wants, as opposed to sitting them down & saying, "This is how things are in the story, so deal." I mean, is Cordelia even in there? Are they going to ruin her character, since she was so pious in the book?

It seems like the movie's deviating from the book about as much as Stardust, only this time without any author's blessing (because Gaiman & Vess didn't seem all that upset by the changes).

...And yes, movie Frodo & Aragorn kind of bother me. Frodo, not so much as Aragorn. They could've at least kept in Frodo lunging the Witch-king at Weathertop. Aragorn bothers me, though. In the book, he's more than ready to reclaim the throne of Gondor; he wants to go there. He has Andúril from the beginning, & he names the reforged Narsil that. As opposed to the movie version, who is extremely wishy-washy about going to Gondor, doesn't get the sword till the last movie & Elrond names it. For some reason, that bothered me. It's more significant in the book: the sword is reforged, & the heir from a line thought to be broken takes it up & renames it the Flame of the West. That means something. The way it's done in the movie takes that away. Why should Elrond Half-elven, who will soon be leaving Middle-earth, name the sword of the king?

That whole bit bothers me. The whole "Arwen's-fate-is-tied-to-the-Ring" is absolute BS. There's no reason for her life to be connected to the thing; it's like some story movie Elrond came up with to get movie Aragorn to get his act together. And Elrond's whole behavior throughout the movies towards Aragorn is irksome, because he's so hostile to him, which never happened in the books. And quoting Aragorn's dying mother at him? That's... just... rude, Peredhil. Seriously. Part of it is, "Oh, that's nice, they put in something from the Appendices," but the other part is, "That was kind of low."

I liked how he acted more when he was in a kind of very Aragorn mode in the movies: when he was out doing things, & especially at the Paths of the Dead, he seemed more like Aragorn. It's not like Aragorn never had moments, but they upped it far too much in the movies. When he, Legolas, & Gimli finally decide to set off after Merry & Pippin, he looks back towards Gondor once they reach Rohan, & essentially sings a song about his longing to go there. He's not sitting around feeling angsty & unsure, at least not openly. He sees his own task in front of him; he knows what he has to do, & is eager to do it. Maybe they thought it would make him more relatable, or give his character more of a "journey" (like they said they wanted to do when they changed Faramir), but he just comes across as... not very Aragorn. It's like it's not really until he goes to the Paths of the Dead in the movie that he starts acting like Aragorn. Granted, i really liked how Viggo Mortenson played Aragorn; i thought he was brilliant & fit him extremely well. It's just how the script was.

....And the whole "set aside the ranger" thing? Whatever happened to that little bit at Isengard, when Merry says "look, Strider the Ranger is back" when Aragorn sits back & smokes & replies with something like, "He never left"? That also bugged me, because it was the whole "make a choice" thing when there really wasn't much of a choice to be made. (At least to me.) The Palantir (& the "i" needs an accent, but for some reason everytime i try that ALT code, the internet leaps back a page instead of putting in the accented "i") thing bugged me, too. One never knows what really happens in the book, except that Aragorn looks extra tired afterwards, so maybe it would be conceivable that Sauron decided to play mind games, or showing Aragorn things that he could take the wrong way. It's conceivable that Aragorn could have wavered or weakened-- after all, it's him against a Maia-- but this doesn't seem to fit the character as he is in the book canon. At least, not to the extent of how he reacted in the movie. While it does seem like something Sauron would do-- actually, it is something Sauron did, to others-- it still feels wrong, somehow. I like not knowing, the way it is in the book. It causes you to draw your own conclusion. (Nevermind the fact that he was supposed to look into it at Helm's Deep.)

Which, actually, is something filmmakers don't have people do much anyone. Having them draw their own conclusions. Nowadays, everything is shown. There's not much of the kind of "fill in the blank" that was especially present in older movies. One could argue that it has to do with censorship. But leaving certain things to a person's imagination can be much more worthwhile, because everyone comes up with something different, & could probably come up with something more intense or interesting than what is depicted onscreen.

It's kind of like something Bynum handed out once in Telemedia; though it was about making comics, it still applied to making movies. Right at the beginning, it has a little thing drawn out: the first panel is of two characters; one is going to kill the other. In the next panel, the city at night with the dying man's screams. The little character guy explaining things along the way pops up & informs you that you have just helped to murder a man in the space between the two panels. By not showing the murder, the viewer is the one who put two & two together, the viewer is the one who committed the murder, & each viewer has their own idea of how it happened. That is far more effective than showing a gore fest. That, you can just look at & feel ill over, or, from seeing it so much, shrug & say, "What else is new?" By not showing it, everyone watching/reading/whatever has a hand in the death & comes up with their own private ideas of what occured, which, being completely personal, can be worse than anything anyone could show onscreen. Same goes for anything else.

If someone were to actually make a horror/terror movie by using that, it could be much more effective than gore if done right, because everyone in the audience would come up with their own private terrors & monsters. What you can't see can be the most terrifying thing. Maybe Psycho is a good example? The murder scene is shown, but still in an ambiguous way: enough to actually really seriously make you paranoid in the shower. (Don't laugh, it's true.) But you don't have everything shown until everything comes together at the end, which makes it all the more potent. It heightens the anxiety in a way that some gory movie can't.

In other news, it's been really nice & cool lately (stay this way forever, weather), Ghost Hunters got some amazing evidence on last night's episode (EVPs & stuff on the thermal, plus that loud bang), i rediscovered my Barbie Rub & Color, & put another moth back outside. It was a big one, too, & very fuzzy.

Oh, & obviously gave up on summer picture thing. Since i don't do anything of interest. And besides, who reads this?