Tuesday, 4 December 2012

Lost in Translation

Yesterday a friend asked me if I was going to see The Life of Pi, which is due on the big screen soon.  No, I said, and went on to tell her why I have an aversion to seeing movies based on books I’ve read and loved. 

·      The characters in movies are mostly never as I’ve imagined them. Take Robbie Turner in Atonement. I saw him clearly in my head from the first day in the garden with Cecilia. He was tall and fair-headed. He had presence, but he was sensitive and confused. In the movie version Robbie is played by James McAvoy. James McAvoy is short and dark. Playing against Keira Knightley he seemed small and weak.  It just didn't work for me.


·      Once I’ve seen a movie I can’t get the movie characters out of my head, and my problem is I forget how my imagined characters looked and spoke.  I can’t seem to reclaim them. It's disturbing, no longer having access to my own idea of a character. I don’t like it. Is it some form of brain washing?  

Sometimes I’ve seen movies based on books for the simple fact that I don’t think I’m likely to read the book.  This often makes me read the book, which is a great outcome. See The Elegance of the Hedgehog. A wonderful movie. And an even more wonderful book.  Interestingly, I did not keep the movie characters in my head when I read the book. I’m not sure I know why.  

For years I’ve persisted in seeing movies based on books.  But I’m learning. Lately I’ve been making exceptions.  The Road, The Time Traveller’s Wife, The Kite Runner? I didn’t go.  I haven’t seen them.


Now I’m making a stand on The Life of Pi.  

Is this just me, or do others feel this way, too?

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