Thursday, March 21, 2013

The Book Versus Hollywood

I finally had a moment to sit down and watch The Hobbit.  As an English major and generally passionate reader I have read many books that have subsequently become movies, and Tolkien's works have been no exception.  I have sat and listened to heated discussions on the topic of comparison between movie and book many times and centered around different texts and productions.  Honestly, I have to come to a rather rare conclusion.

I like them both.  Tolkien's work is magnificent.  So is C.S. Lewis's Narnia series, as well as Harry Potter, and Les Miserables.  They captured countless hearts to the point that many felt inspired to cast the stories in cinematic homage.  But instead of drawing comparisons, wouldn't it be more enjoyable to admire each work for the virtues it possesses?  True, the original stories do not always match the movie, but these very well made flicks hold their own.  Tolkien could not have included the spell binding music of Howard Shore, and the Harry Potter books have no trace of the beautifully haunting compositions of John Williams.  Could Victor Hugo have imagined the amazing job Anne Hathaway did in her rendition of Cosette's mother?  And I don't know about you but the cinematography in the Narnia, Lord of the Rings, and Harry Potter movies leaves me breathless every time.

Perhaps we compare and criticize because we want others to know we have read the book, or to prove that we are experts in this particular matter.  Perhaps it makes us feel wise so to do.  But isn't it wiser to look around and enjoy what each kind of artist can bring to the table?  You and I have different talents.  But that doesn't mean that I am right and you are inferior or vice versa.  Wouldn't it be a happier, more beautiful world if we put our comparisons and criticisms aside in this and all situations and just bask in the joyous artistic inspiration that we find all around us? 

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