Warning: Rant-ish post.
I really wish people would just stop bastardizing other people’s work. If you’re going to make a movie based on a book, make the movie based on the book. Forget about creative licence! If you want to take creative licence, then call it something else and say it was inspired by such-and-such source. It’s really not that difficult, people!
I finished reading Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine the other day. It had been on my to-be-read list for quite some time. I’m glad I finally got to it. I had watched the movie when Zoe was five or six and I really didn’t mind it. I thought it was okay. So when I began to read the book with the same title, I had kinda sorta expected what was going to happen in the story. Boy was I wrong! It was nothing like the movie! Aside from the fact that the main character and some minor characters shared names, and that there was a clever book, nothing at all resembled the book! What is up with that, that’s what I would like to know?! Don’t get me wrong. I loved the book. I think it was a great read and I’m sure I’ll revisit it some day. It’s just… I don’t understand why the movie was called Ella Enchanted when it was clearly not Ella Enchanted!
I could carry on and on about movies inspired by books that just border on blasphemy, but I won’t. If I do decide to watch a movie inspired by a book, it’s because I want to add another dimension to my perception of a book, not to have conflicting versions of the same story! Is that too much to ask?
I get that you can’t include every single detail from the book in the movie. I truly get it. I just loathe it when details get changed. The minute you alter how things went in the book, you’ve lost your right to call it after the original name because you have now created something entirely different!
Which brings me to my next gripe. If you know me, then you know how much I adore Christian Bale. I’m super excited for Exodus: Gods and Kings which is due to come out later this year – not just for Christian, but because I love the story of the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt. I believe the Bible to be the word of God as far as it is translated correctly. The story of Moses is a gripping tale – from his infancy and deliverance from certain death at the hands of the soldiers of Pharaoh to his upbringing with Egyptian royalty to his fall from grace to his return to Egypt to delivering his people from slavery. It’s such a compelling tale. And don’t even get me started on what my imagination conjures when I contemplate the plagues.
So when I heard of the upcoming epic directed by Ridley Scott, I was elated. I could only imagine the richness of the experience. I admit I did have some reservations, since the recent movie based on Noah was not really based on the story of Noah at all. It was Ella-Enchanteded (it’s a word, trust me). I hoped against hope that it would be based on the story as it is presented in the Bible. I mean, look at Prince of Egypt, they took loads of creative license, but essentially represented the story as it is written, which includes God.
Then I came across an interview with Joel Edgerton, who says that the movie is ‘an important story of racial struggle’ and two men who ‘come to blows over differing opinions on slavery’. And here I thought it was an account of God delivering his people from slavery through his prophet. Weird!
Is it too asking for too much if I expect the story being represented to be whole in the retelling? I just want to be able to enjoy a movie based off of a book that I love without bracing for all the discrepancies. I want to read a book and not have it fight in my head with the conflicting ideas the movie ‘based’ on the book plants in my head. It gets really exhausting trying to keep the integrity of the author’s original work in my mind.
And that’s all I have to say about that.