trinsy: (home)
The reason I will probably never do anything practical or concretely useful with my life, but my friends will with theirs:

I don't like American comedians. Okay, that's a lie, I do like John Stewart for reasons I can't even explain to myself. He's the exception though. I don't find Dane Cook and his ilk funny at all. I like American comedic actors, but Americans standing around monologuing? Not so much. I prefer British humour. Generally it's subtler and more intelligent and makes you think for your laugh. I like that.

I don't like realistic fiction either. I prefer fantasy and sci-fi, and I think it's for the same reason: they're subtler. People don't get that because people aren't looking, and I suppose that's really the point. That's what makes the beauty of fantasy/sci-fi so subtle.

I hate telling people Doctor Who is about an alien who travels through Space and Time in his time machine spaceship because that's so not what Doctor Who is about. That's the premise, but that's not what it's about, any more than Harry Potter is about a boy who lives in a cupboard under his aunt and uncle's stairs for ten years before finding out he's a wizard. They're both about life, far more than any realistic book or show I've ever read or seen, and I think there's a reason the fantasy/sci-fi genre is actually more conducive to portraying life realistically than realism.

See, if we're being honest, real life is incredibly boring. Fiction can't be. So to make it interesting, realistic fiction has to throw in sex scandals and pregnancy and affairs and family feuds and murders and mysterious fires and kidnapping and any number of other things that yes, happen in real life, but almost never all to the same person or group of people, and never in the space of about three months.

But fantasy/sci-fi doesn't need that sort of thing to be interesting, because it's got wizards and aliens and evil emperors bent on destroying the world as we know it. Which means the characters can focus on acting and reacting and thinking and feeling like normal people instead of worrying that their girlfriend's best friend's boyfriend's best friend's girlfriend, who has been ostracized by her family for dating said girlfriend's best friend's boyfriend's best friend since their families have been feuding for ages, is going to take revenge on them for that thing they did to her family so she can be accepted by her family again. Because you really can't deal with things that are real if you're supposed to be dealing with things that are real. Aliens, however, make a nice backdrop (and sometimes frontdrop) to hold the viewer's interest, so the characters deal with pain and love and loss and sacrifice without straying into melodrama and ridiculousness.

You can see that and get that and live and love and feel with the characters if you're looking for it. If you're not, then yeah, it's just a semi-interesting story about aliens and magic and whatever else.

That's why I have a totally impractical major. That's why all my friends have jobs lined up for next year and I don't. That's why they'll all make perfectly acceptable adults and I won't. That's why there is a huge part of me they affectionately tolerate but will never understand.

Because that's how I see the world: Subtle.

It's more than charts and numbers and anatomy. More than rent and groceries and a paycheck. More than getting married and having kids because that's what you do. It's just more.

I never thought life was perfect. My imaginary friend and I used to fight all the time, and if that doesn't sum up my life, I don't know what does. But I've always known there's more than meets the eye.

That's why I want more out of life than just getting a job and settling down and having kids, more than the white picket fence, more than the American dream. I want more, but the frustrating thing is that I have no idea what that looks like outside the TARDIS and Hogwarts and Narnia and Middle Earth. So I'm just this fantasy/sci-fi geek with no practical skills and no future because I don't know how to live in the confines of face-value reality.
trinsy: (don't be so daft)
Dear Andrew Adamson et al,

Today I am going to rationally explain to you why I'm upset with you, and why you'd better take your cue from Peter Jackson & Co. when you make Voyage of the Dawn Treader, rather than from David Heyman, Steve Kloves, and the rest of the Harry Potter crew.  Granted, I'm not a hardcore Lord of the Rings fan, but I read the books, and I understand why the hardcore LotR fans are upset with Jackson, and I think that, even so, he and his team did a damn good job adapting Tolkien's masterpiece.  You could learn a couple things from them.

First, let me just say that I do actually get that book and film are different mediums, and that some things that work in a book just don't work in a film, and visa versa.  Notice that I say some things, not everything.  I'm sure that it must be hard to adapt a book of which about a quarter is backstory, and at least another quarter features people walking back and forth across a forest and bickering with each other.  (Oh, Harry Potter crew, you are going to have so much fun with Book Seven!)  That said, just because it's hard, it doesn't mean you should just give up and change the whole plot!  That's just lazy, and that's not okay.  Yeah, you might have to make a few changes to keep up the pace of the film.  I get that.  But you shouldn't change everything.  You need to make changes intelligently, and you need to make sure they aid and add to the story.  You didn't do that.  When asked why you put in the part where Caspian's troops try to invade the castle (or 'the night raid sequence', as you call it), you answered with this:

"Director Andrew Adamson felt that the concept of mythological creatures attacking a medieval castle was quite an interesting visual, and one that had never been seen before."

In other words, you decided to put in the night raid sequence because you thought it would be kind of cool (in much the same way I suspect the HP people decided to put in an attack on the Burrow in HBP because they thought it would be cool).  Frankly, that's not a good enough reason.  This is one of the things where I completely agree with the LotR fans' indignation.  You see, in the film The Two Towers, there's a scene where the people of Rohan are going to Helm's Deep and they get attacked by orcs on wargs.  To be honest, this scene is pretty awesome and probably one of my favourites in the film, but it pisses off Rings book fans because it didn't happen in the book.  As a hardcore fan of certain books myself, I can say with no reservations that hardcore fans will never be satisfied.  But in this case I think the fans have every right to be upset, because Peter Jackson actually came out and said that the reason he decided to put it in the film is because he thought it would be cool, and that's really not a good reason to mess with canon.  I forgive Jackson, however, because he did what you and the Harry Potter people didn't do: he made sure that his 'cool' scene added to the story, rather than just being in there for the sake of being in there.  Also, I respect that he had the balls to be honest, rather than making up crap to appease the fans.  (I'm not even going to get into the crap 'logic' you used to justify the night raid sequence because I'm trying to be calm, and that pisses me off too much.)   Doesn't make what he did right, but still.

Jackson made another change in TTT, and it was actually pretty huge.  I am, of course, referring to the change in the character of Faramir.  In the book, Faramir isn't even tempted by the Ring; in the film, Faramir is tempted, and he's also kind of an asshole.  This also pisses off LotR book fans, which I get, and it upset me at first as well because Faramir is my favourite character in the trilogy.  However, getting past my initial emotional reaction, I do understand how "I would not take this thing even if I found it on the wayside and Gondor were falling and only I could save her" works in a book in a way it could never really work in a three hour film.  When you have everyone in the story tempted by this object of evil, and then you get someone that immune, it's really going to throw the pacing off.  I get that, and Jackson & Co. got that, and that's why they changed Faramir's character; but they didn't do it lightly, and they did it right.  They realized that having film-Faramir start out as book-Faramir would throw off the films, so they had film-Faramir evolve into book-Faramir.  They didn't give Faramir a complete personality transplant; he just started out a little less developed than book-Faramir.  So in a bizarre way, his OOC-ness actually made him in character.  That's the correct way to do OOC-ness (pay attention Harry Potter!).

Look, I get that making Peter bitter about leaving Narnia the first time could make the film more interesting.  I get that having Peter and Caspian get along from the start could throw off the pacing.  I even get how the whole Susan hating fighting thing could make battle sequences difficult.  Changing one of those things is okay; but you changed all of them.  The thing is, if you need to change a character to keep the pacing of the film, that's okay; but you'd better make sure it's the correct character to take the hit, you'd better make sure the character evolves into being in character by the end of film, and you'd better make damn sure you work three times as hard to keep all the other characters in character!  You may even need to change two characters to keep the pacing (e.g. Arwen); that's still okay.  But if you have to change most of the characters, well, then you need to ask yourself why you think making this book into a film is a good idea.  And no, 'money' isn't a good enough answer.  If every character has to be out of character to make the film work, then this probably isn't a book that can translate to film.  That's okay.  There are plenty of other books that can work as films.  Just adapt one of those.

Honestly, I don't think Prince Caspian is a book that can't translate to film.  I don't think every character had to be changed to keep the pacing.  I just think you were lazy and you didn't care enough.  And if you don't care enough to work at adapting the book correctly, then you aren't the right person to be adapting that book.  So stop.  Plenty of people actually care.  Plenty of people want to do it right.  The Peter Jackson of Narnia is out there.  Leave it for them.
trinsy: (Default)
I have begun rereading the Chronicles of Narnia, and it is thoroughly depressing.  Not because they are not as good as I remember them, but because they are so much better.  And so it reminds me of when my mom first read them to me, and how much I wanted to be Lucy and go to Narnia.

Lucy was the first fictional person I ever wanted to be, and I wanted to be her very badly.  I never wanted to be Jill, because Jill’s best adventure was not half so nice as Lucy’s worst one (though I do think it would be horrible to go through all the bother of growing up, only to have to come back and do it all over again), and for all that Jill only got to be a Lady but Lucy got to be a Queen, which I think, for Jill, pretty much sucks.  I did, however, also want to be Aravis, partly because she was one of the main characters in my favorite chronicle (The Horse and His Boy) and partly because she had a sword.  But I wanted to be Lucy most of all, because she always had the nicest time in Narnia out of anyone, and of course because she was the youngest and so am I.

I say Lucy was the first fictional person I ever wanted to be, and I’m almost sure she was, though I could be wrong, for I’ve wanted to be - and indeed, still want to be - many people.  In fact, now that I think of it, I may have wanted to be Nala in Lion King before I wanted to be Lucy.  I also wanted to be Wendy in Peter Pan, and Dorothy in Oz (except, of course, with a different name).  When I first started to read Harry Potter I wanted to be Hermione, though now I think this was because I had a crush on Ron (and I still have quite a soft spot for him), because I certainly don’t want to be Hermione now.  (The only reason I ever wanted to be Becky in Tom Sawyer was because she gets to kiss Tom.)  It kind of goes without saying that I wanted to Leia in Star Wars (Hello, she got kiss freakin’ Harrison Ford!  Who wouldnt want to be her?).  I don’t think I wanted to be anyone from Lord of the Rings until I saw the movies, and then I wanted to be Éowyn, mostly because she actually fights in battles, and partly because she has lovely outfits and marries Faramir (and also, she doesn’t look like Liv Tyler).  In mythology I wanted to be Athena the goddess of war (this from the girl who was forced to give up fencing because she felt too bad about poking people with her sword).  I also have this vague idea that when I was first learning mythology I wanted to be Helen of Troy, but I have no idea why I would have, so I may be making that up.  I am fairly certain, however, that I wanted to be Odysseus.  It is true that he is male and I am not, but there are no females in his story, and I often wished as a child that I was a boy (and now thank my lucky stars every day that I’m not).  In fact, I could list many men I wanted to be as a child if I thought you were at all interested, but I’m sure you’re not.

This is the harsh reality of fantasy to those with active imaginations.  The characters are always astonishingly ordinary, but in the story they have adventures that are dreadfully exciting, and they themselves are terribly important.  And it always reminds you how fantastically dull your life is, and how horribly unimportant you are in it.  And if these adventures happen only to extremely ordinary people then you know that you qualify more than a hundred times over and yet they do not happen to you.  And it is extremely maddening, because you can imagine it so perfectly, and it’s almost as if it were real and you were there, except you are not there and it is never quite real enough.  And it is all very frustrating.

This is what makes fantasy so beautiful and terrible and, above all, dangerous.  I have often said that you have to wonder about someone like Tolkien, who spent his whole life making up histories and languages and art and literature and people and adventures for a world that did not exist except in his own head.  Now, however, I’m beginning to understand it.  Tolkien must have had a fantastically dull life to turn to his escapism so completely.  Or perhaps it wasn’t really as dull as all that, but it was dull to him because he was a genius (and on this fact there can be no doubt).  At any rate, it was escapism, and, in my opinion, escapism in its truest form.  There is nothing quite so easy as escaping into your own mind, and nothing quite so difficult as coming out again.  And the deeper you go the easier it is to continue on, and the harder it is to come out again.  Because outside your head, in reality, you will never have to fight for your life or anyone else’s, and no one will have to fight for yours, and so you will never have any use for archery, nor will you ever see anyone engage in hand-to-hand combat, and certainly no one will make you a queen, or even treat you anywhere near the way any of the heroines in stories are treated.  But in your head all this can and does happen, and more besides.  And really, which would you prefer?  So I understand where Tolkien is coming from.

And this is really the worst of it, because it is very difficult for me not to escape completely and instead have to face reality, particularly when I know there is no chance of fantasy becoming a reality for me.  It’s easier to face reality if I’ve been “off” fantasy for a good bit.  I haven’t seen LotR or Pirates or any of the other movies that usually trigger the escapism urge and fantasy desire in a long while, nor, until Saturday, had I read any of those books.  But the moment I began reading again the desire returned with a vengeance.  And it is a desire I know will never be fulfilled.  And that is why rereading these books is so completely and thoroughly depressing.

June 2013

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