When I read blogs, I have this tendency to click the links in other people’s blog rolls, just to see what’s going on outside the world of blogs that I read on a regular basis. I went back to a post from the NCTE Inbox from a while ago on Five Things I’ve Gained from Reading (which I will address in five posts in the near future — hopefully), and I came across the responses of another teacher. I will usually — and did this time — go to the present to see what else the blogger has written and decide whether or not I want to follow this newly-discovered blog. I have yet to decide if I want to follow TeacherNinja‘s blog, but I did want to comment on something that he said in response to the new Harry Potter movie. TeacherNinja says:
I saw the most recent Potter film over the weekend and thought it was fine. There’s a lot of younguns out there crying that, OMG they changed things from the book!
Get used to it, kids. It’s a completely different medium and things gotta change. I can’t remember who it was they were interviewing, but many years ago someone asked an author his thoughts on how the movies had ruined his books. He pointed to them up there on his shelf and said, “No they haven’t. They’re right there.”
I absolutely love this response. Yeah, film is a different medium — they can do with it what they want. Consider Isaac Asmiov’s I, Robot. And then look at the Will Smith movie. Similar? In name only. And I didn’t hear anyone complaining about that. All I heard was that Will Smith looks good. Can’t argue with that, but I’d hardly call it literary criticism. Heck, Douglas Adams’s Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy is a novel (a five part trilogy), has been multiple radio programs (which you can get in audio book at iTunes — man, I want that) and is also a movie. Here’s the thing about the movie, though, which is also the case with many of the Harry Potter movies (particularly the first and the sixth): even though they’re different, there are certain details removed that people who have read the novel fill in for themselves. For example, in the cave, Harry dips the shell-thingy in the water filled with Inferi. Did anyone explain to only-movie-goers what those things were? Nope! But if you read the book, then you knew why they were there and why they acted the way they did. Chew on that for a minute before you criticize filmmakers too much.
Think about this too: when studios make movies out of books, the sales for that particular book often increase. This is becuause some people want to read the book before they go see the movie. I have been guilty of such things.
And as the author insinutated — that beloved book will still be intact on the shelf (or under the bed) when you get home from the theatre.