Wednesday, 13 March 2013

L-Space 3- Season of the Witch

What's that, another week gone? I'm getting old. I had sat down to write another review in the perpetual Discworld series, but when I realised the next book to write about was the eleventh, Small Gods, I very quickly gave up. I love that book, it's easily my favourite Discworld book of them all- although in the Terry Pratchett bibliography top spot it constantly fights with the fantastic Good Omens, co-authored by Neil Gaiman- so I don't want to do it an injustice with my usual improvised ramblings. So instead I'm going go with my usual improvised ramblings and do an L-Space thing, which is an unimaginative title that I'm lazily sticking with.

On the book front I finished Absolute Sandman Volume 3 and it was brilliant, as is the whole series. I also started and finished the gothic horror classic (that I'd never previously heard of) The Devil's Elixirs by E.T.A. Hoffman. Published all the way back in 1815, it appealed to me as part of a genre I explored (or, more honestly, was forced to study) back in my student days, and it's on the full review pile now. Continuing the horror theme on into more contemporary settings, I've just started Richard Matheson's seminal fifties vampire novella I Am Legend, which I'm reading many years after I saw the Will Smith film. I liked the film, mostly, and I'm enjoying the book so far.

I'm always fascinated by book-to-film adaptations, and there's no shortage of them. The most notable of late (to me, anyway) was the Ang Lee-directed $120 million budget adaptation of Yann Martel's Life of Pi. If you don't want to read my full review, I basically said that I loved the book as a smart and spiritual piece of contemporary fiction, but I wouldn't put too much hope in the cinematic adaptation, which I would see as soon as it came out at the cinema. I didn't do that, because I'm full of lies and deception (alright then, laziness). Actually I rarely go to the cinema nowerdays, with the rare exceptions of going to see comic book franchise films, because it's really expensive and I'm the reincarnation of Ebeneezer Scrooge.

Thankfully though, Life of Pi on the big screen was a world away in quality from some of the more awful book-to-film adaptations I've been interested in, such as the deeply personal insult that was The Golden Compass or the treatment of Alan Moore's League of Extraordinary Gentlemen. Essentially what's delivered here is a very faithful treatment, both literally and thematically, making the film safe from the most condescending reviewer objection of them all; deviating from the plot of the book. Personally I'm happy to keep and open mind about that sort of thing, since it's sometimes a necessary result of the nature of adaptation. The Lord of the Rings films had plenty of positive changes, I feel, such as the removal of the ridiculous Tom Bombaldi character, while The Golden Compass, the adaptation of the first of Phillip Pullman's His Dark Materials, felt totally gutted by its changes. But then again, the total subjectivity of the topic is summed up by the fact that I love His Dark Materials and I didn't particularly like the Lord of the Rings books.

But all of this is a roundabout way of saying I had no reason to unreasonably dislike Life of Pi, and I really enjoyed it. I'm no movie reviewer with technical terms and stuff so I'm not going to waffle on about why it was good because I don't really know. The special effects were sparkly and the Pi was well represented as both intelligent and emotional and as a quirky idiot in the way I saw him as in the book. Richard Parker the tiger looks amazingly believable at all times as co-star too, menacing and elegant in equal measure. Basically I enjoyed this film so much that I knew I needed to seek out another film about a young Indian boy fighting for his life against a Bengal tiger...

My favourite Disney movie from childhood, it's been a while since I'd seen The Jungle Book, but it quickly reasserted its status. I couldn't resist mentioning it on my blog because it is technically a literary adaptation, but obviously it's so far removed from the original tone of Rudyard Kipling's novel that it's not worth analysing as an adaptation. It is, though, the coolest movie I've ever seen. The famous King Louis scene and song is amazing. I know most people generally prefer either the really old Disney films or the late 80's-mid-90's renaissance, but those from this era appeal to me most because they're so (for lack of a better word) cool. I couldn't resist watching Robin Hood almost straight after. I'm planning on going on a Disney binge over the next year or so, so this probably won't be the last you hear of me rambling on about kids films for a while.

Until then I'm going to cut this short because I started writing it about a week ago and I still haven't finished it. But now I have.