Friday, October 23, 2009

Canon and the New Moon Volturi Fight Scene

So, my story MSR is character study of the canonical characters in a different setting.

There seems to be this distinction in fan-fiction: the canon line. It seems that canonical stories are to be treated with more respect than the AU ("alternate universe") ones. One measure of a story is how strictly it adheres to the canon.

Is that necessarily a good thing?

Yes, I argue that it is. But, on the other hand ("there are five fingers"), there is much that can be learned of the canon by AU exploration, and I do that, too, in MSR.

Why the preamble?

Do you like the movies?

It seems that a measure of the worth of a movie adaptation is how closely it follows the books.

Is that necessarily a good thing?

No, I argue that, necessarily, it is not a good thing. A book and a movie are different media, and one can say things in one that saying in another is clumsy or awkward.

And then there's the whole Jane Austen thing.

Jane Austen is this pretty good writer; she has her fans and her moments in her writing.

But ...

But she always, doesn't she, she always-always-always has to have the moment in the light for the ne'er-do-well. "Oh, Wickham isn't all that bad because of this!" "Oh, Willoughby is actually caught in the middle because of that!" "Oh, ..."

Oh, please.

The Jane Austen movies these days are improvements on the originals because they make the wise decisions to cut out that unnecessary and unhelpful exposition.

Silence of the Lambs was an improvement on the original because ... well, you can't have all this internal monologue in a movie (Adaptation notwithstanding) ... and it was Hannibal and Hannibal and Clarice that was compelling, not the whole drama of our FBI director back home.

Blade Runner is an improvement on "Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep" because it improves on ... well, everything. Phillip Dick was certainly visionary but he was a little too paranoid/fanatically religious in his writings for his own good.

What do all these improvements teach us?

Do they worship the source material?

Yes, they are loving adaptations.

But no: they look at their sources with a practical, pragmatic eye, and cut what needs to be cut.

Let's look at the purely canonical movies of Twilight and Harry Potter (the first one).

Are they canonical? Yes.
Are they loving adaptations? Yes.

But these are not the "failings" of these movies (can a vehicle that spawns an industry of more than one hundred million USD be considered a "failure"?). These movies do not fail because they are canonical. No, they fail because they adore their sources. Cutting something, anything, is anathema, and the directors where told their jobs (the directors were "directed" ... that must be really hard when somebody tells you what to do and how to do it when you are at the top of your field): Keep it Faithful.

Harry Potter and Twilight were not movies: they were holocausts ... "whole burnt offerings of worship to G-d." I mean, really, how many full-on sepia-toned close ups of our leading lads and ladies looking reverential must we stomach?

So: the scene were Bella is to be murdered and Edward and Alice fight with the guard. Not canonical. Not by a long shot. Not even realistic, given the Volturi's might and our Cullen representatives' lack.

But that's not why I don't like this scene.

I don't like this scene because it shows it hasn't gotten over the adoration phase of the books.

You know what I think that needs to happen?

Thanks for asking me that.

What needs to happen is about fifty or so years need to pass, and then somebody needs to do a movie of the sources, so the movies can be adapted worshipfully, yes, but with a good, healthy, respectful distance of years that mortals in time seem to rely on o-so-much.

My story has canonical characters ... goody for me and pat me on the back. The new New Moon Volturi fight scene is not canonical ... boo on them, but not just because of the departure from canon.

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