Tuesday, September 6, 2016
The dangers of obsession
As I have noted several times here I was a passionate fan of The Lord of the Rings from the beginning of my formative adult reading. From somewhere in my mid to early teens all the way into my thirties I read the ink right off the pages of those books. Not only have I read the books dozens of times, I've read the books aloud in full and in parts, and they are one of the lenses I look at life through. Though my extreme familiarity with the books finally squelched my ability to read them I still feel a deep attachment to them.
And so like anyone sensible and informed I am not particularly fond of the films. I won't give my lecture on just why, here, now, but I give that lecture an awful lot.
So today at the front desk of the library I work at a man came to get a new library card. He was wearing a shirt that said:
"The book was better"
It warmed my heart a little. I said "I have a theory about that, your shirt."
The man gestured assent to hearing my theory, or perhaps a resignation that I was probably unstoppable.
"A great book will always be better than any movie made of it. Even a really good book will be. But It is possible to make a movie version that is better than a mediocre or poor book." I lectured.
"I can see it." The man said.
"Wizard of Oz, mediocre book, great movie. The Godfather, fairly entertaining pulp, masterpiece of a movie." I said for example. And he got it.
"Right." He replied. "I can see it. And then even no matter how great the movie is of To Kill a Mockingbird, the book is better."
I nodded, very satisfied. Then he added, musingly "Now Lord of the Rings, that was about equal."