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Another movie based on a beloved children's book that I'm DEFINITELY not going to see! Only the trailer for The Dark is Rising made me spitting mad. (I'm not going to link to it, because it takes about three hours for the official site to load - you can Google it)

Well, no doubt, you'll love it if you haven't read the books - the screenwriters obviously haven't.

My suspicions were raised when it was clear that someone had decided it wasn't politically correct to have a sign of the cross in a circle be the symbol for the movie - oh dear, might make people think it was Christian, and put off the non-Christians, or, just as likely, might offend all the fundamentalist Christians who are potential viewers. It's quite clear that the whole thing is driven by a "paint-by-numbers" approach to popularizing the story. And Americanizing it in the worst kind of formulaic, predictable way.

Harry ... oops, no, I mean Will Stanton, is a "typical American teenager": the opening scenes of the trailer trite and predictable bits of high school and suburban family homelife. There's a crush on a girl that gets mentioned about three times. He gets picked up for shoplifting in a department store. WTF?

I was only having a bloggy conversation with brisingamen was it last week, the week before? about how essential the Thames valley landscape was to that book. Oops. It's gone. All the quiet power and atmosphere of the book - whoosh! Turned into bonzo special effects, pyrotechnics and rubbish.

My favourite scene in the book - where they go carol singing, and Will's voice falters when he comes to the verse of "Good King Wenceslaus" where the page sings "I can go no further" and then Merriman's voice, rich and powerful comes in and strengthens him - couldn't possibly happen in this world they've created.

There seem to be a couple of other teenage characters from somewhere or other. WTF?

The only good thing? Christopher Eccleston is the Rider. Excellent bit of casting.

The funniest thing? The mysterious voice-over right at the end saying something like "Even the smallest light breaks the darkness" Yikes! Haven't we heard something like that somewhere before??? (well it worked for Peter Jackson...)


( 10 comments — Leave a comment )
Jul. 15th, 2007 06:12 pm (UTC)
Here's what pisses me off--my brother in law, who is in film, tried for years to get some money people behind it. He had the rights for a time, but finally when interest in kidzfilms perked up again, this bozo comes along and throws major money....and instead of doing a faithful story (and the book is intensely cinematic) turns in a piece of crap that could just as well have been made up from scratch, as it's pretty much all cliches. Or why didn't he get the rights to the sequel to Eragon, where the cliches are right there for anyone to use?
Jul. 15th, 2007 09:16 pm (UTC)
Yeah, you wonder why they bother even calling it by the same title - they've changed so much. Poor Susan Cooper (though maybe she got nice lots of money and doesn't care - but how can she NOT care)
Jul. 15th, 2007 09:32 pm (UTC)
She probably took the money, shut her eyes, and pretended the film doesn't exist. Maybe she hopes someone else will do it right some day.
Jul. 15th, 2007 06:33 pm (UTC)

Part of me wants to see it, just like part of me wants to see Bridge to Terabithia and did see I Know What You Did Last Summer.

I think it's the part that can't help looking at a train wreck. And righteously ranting about it. And possibly throwing things. Fortunately that part of me has enough sense not to reward them by seeing the movie in the theatre.

On the other hand, I thought Narnia was much improved by being brought to the big screen, even if my then boyfriend refused to watch it with me on the grounds that the Magician's Nephew is first. Bah. The Magician's Nephew is prologue.

On the righteously ranting, I'm actually awfully good at it. Back when Constantine came out, my friends claimed I was actually frothing at the mouth just ranting at the trailers. They were amused.

Jul. 15th, 2007 09:19 pm (UTC)
I actually thought they did a reasonably decent job of The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe. At least it was an honest attempt, and you could understand the reasons for the changes, pretty much.

I think Bridge to Terabithia is a more faithful adaptation than the publicity would have you believe. I haven't seen it, but what I've read makes me think it might not be too bad.

What makes me furious, though, is when they take effectively the title and the basic concept and completely rewrite everything else, like the TV adaptation of Earthsea (though I'm worried about the Studio Ghibli adaptation, too).

Rant on - and I will rant with you :)
Jul. 15th, 2007 06:36 pm (UTC)
I saw some advance casting details a couple of months ago which made me decide never to see it. By all accounts it's had done to it something akin to the damage done to A Wizard of Earthsea. It would seem Susan Cooper was not as powerful as JKR in negotiating contract terms. This is a very British book - nay, series of books. Take that away and precious little is left.
Jul. 15th, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC)
Well, while I agree about the Britishness, and I agree that's really inseparable from the books, they could have TRIED to make it more faithful even with an American setting. You could have it in a small rural community, and maintain the same claustrophobic atmosphere and the bleakness of the snow and the quiet power. It's the gratuitous cliches that rile me more than anything else.
Jul. 16th, 2007 06:44 am (UTC)
Thanks for warning me. I shall rant at the trailer and not see it either. How DARE they!!!
Jul. 16th, 2007 07:06 am (UTC)
There has been much fury about this on the Dark is Rising LJ community ever since the first details leaked out. It makes me want to picket the cinema telling everyone who enters not to watch it, but to go to the library and read the book instead. I hope it flops horrendously, so at least they keep their hands off the later books. One film is bad, but five would be beyond imagining.
Jul. 16th, 2007 02:27 pm (UTC)
Yes! Absolutely.
( 10 comments — Leave a comment )


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