August 17, 2001

Response and Question for Sophie L.
Stacy B.


I'd say it again, but it'd be melodramatic. If you really think that any conceivable altering of the book is disrespectful, then do you in fact ever watch screen adaptations like (why do I always think of this one?) Dune, or Watership Down, Gone with the Wind, or even The Firm? Is every book sacrosanct or is it just Tolkien's work that you won't see altered?

And I still don't see how it's legitimate to automatically block off the reader's interpretation from a film-maker's interpretation. In my admittedly humble experience, being but of tender years and all that, books themselves are not the Gospel (of course, I realize now after having read that satanism-Tolkien discussion thread that my Catholic upbringing may be to blame for this opinion). They are a translation of a far more profound reality that no author, no matter how skilled, can ever fully realize anywhere except in his/her own head.

To me, the whole argument against film-adaptations is rather like trying to condemn "Nude descending a staircase" (the poem) while upholding the painting. They're both interpretations, one at a second degree of remove, and both are quite fascinating to me. Neither is somehow "better" than the other. Granted the painting doesn't depend upon the poem for its existence, but how does a poem, written *with respect* for the original work (while being unable to 'fully' translate it), harm the picture?

But if you like your paintings without poems, then I can't dispute that. Enjoy Middle-earth Sophie-style. I do think you'll be missing out, though. But that's not the affair of this heathen-who-approves-of-PJ's-efforts (at least until Judgment Day).