Posted by bj on August 31, 1997 at 21:05:45:
In reply to Re: I watched Emma2 again (long post alert) posted by Peggy Haley on August 30, 1997 at 04:24:46
Has anyone here seen the films first, then gone back and read the book? I'd be interested in your impressions.
I'll take the bull by the horns on this one... running the risk, of course, that Kali will bite my head off because I'm a new poster and mucking up the scene.
I saw Emma2 before reading the book. I loved it so much that I went back to the theater and saw it four more times. Having no idea that Harriet was supposed to be blonde (obviously that's such a very vital part of understanding the underlying nuances of the story) and that Knightley was supposed to look older than JN does (yet another detail vital to the actual story)... I loved everything about the movie. It's humor, romance, everything down to the original score (hats off to Rachel Portman). I then read the book.
I was not disappointed in the least by either one. I think they stand alone on their own merits. I think that Douglas McGrath is an incredible screenwriter... able to preserve so much while at the same time adapting those things that weren't depicted in dialogue in the novel and putting them into words for the screen. Obviously, anything in the novel that occured in thought wouldn't translate on the movie screen.
I think it's very easy for people to criticize the screenwriter... although I'd like to challenge any one of those criticizers to try to write an adaptation themselves and see how they would fare. I imagine we would be hard pressed to find someone who could do better.
I think that many of the anti-Emma adaptations individuals on this board have set such high expectations and "standards" that there's no way they're going to be able to see an adaptation and be satisfied with it. Rather than nitpicking the details (hair color, for one), perhaps one should look at the glass as half full rather than half empty. Emma2 was a relatively big success considering the number of screens it played on across the country. Many people who had never, or perhaps will never, pick up a copy of an Austen novel were exposed to her.
Jane Austen's work is in no danger of dying out, or becoming discredited by adaptations on screen. Rather, I think that movie adaptations (despite hair color of the casted actors) serve a much greater purpose, that of widening her appeal and exposing yet another generation to her work.
No matter how many movies come out, you've still got your novel, kids. Just don't waste your money on the ticket if you're so hell bent to nitpick it to death and look for ways in which it offends your sensibilities.
"Harriet Smith was the natural daughter of somebody."
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