Tuesday, January 22, 2008

Emma, The Road, and Wide Sargasso Sea - The Movie

Finished Emma yesterday. It was as I expected it to be. Enjoyable, mostly on a superficial level, not difficult to read, and everybody was happy in the end. The whole way through the book I was thinking of and comparing the novel to the movie Clueless, which was based on Emma. Now I want to watch that movie again. To picture Britney Murphy (the fat version) as Harriet Smith, and Frank Churchill as being gay made reading the novel more fun. I did think that maybe Emma would set her father up with Miss Bates, as they both were prone to Polonius-length speeches (“As brevity is the soul of wit, I shall be brief” or whatever it is that he says). But alas, it was not to be.

I also got Wide Sargasso Sea in movie form and watched it this weekend. What can I say… the wimp that they chose to play Mr. Rochester (Nathaniel Parker) was very disappointing, especially after the strapping version presented in the recent production of Jane Eyre (Toby Stephens). He (Parker) was a skinny, little weirdo with very nearly a uni-brow. Bertha/Antoinette was decent, though I imagined her to have a darker complexion, given the description in JE. It also really annoyed me that while in JE, she is called Bertha, but in WSS (the book), she is Antoinette until Rochester starts to call her Bertha. (I did notice in the film JE, she is called “Bertha Antoinette Mason,” which I didn’t recall from the book). In renaming her, Rochester is essentially removing her identity and heritage, as there is a great deal of issue made that she is French, and not an English woman…I guess because the French are wild and passionate, and the English are the pillars of civilization. Anyhoo… in this movie, rather than call her Bertha, he starts to call her Nettie, which is (in the movie at least) what Antoinette’s mother was called. This was extremely annoying. So, the movie for me was a flop. I was encouraged by the fact that the DVD came with the R rated version and the NC-17. I opted for NC-17, hoping it would live up to the rating. It didn’t. I think that the one view of Nathaniel Parker from the front was probably what gave it that rating. Not something I really wanted to see.

Onto better things… I’m really enjoying The Road. I’m on about page 90-something, and they just found the people in the basement of the house. How creepy! And he dropped the lighter! That’s where I stopped. It goes quick, it’s straight forward, well written, with lots of breaks. It’s definitely one of the best books I’ve read in a while...though there’s still a lot of time and potential for this to go downhill.

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