Posted by Kali on June 29, 1997 at 14:22:24:
In reply to Re: Definition of polarity posted by kathleen (elder) on June 29, 1997 at 09:10:13
I have to say that I continue to be amazed that true Jane-ites (who have read the book, no less) are passionately enamored of Emma2 and passionately dislike Emma3.
I don't passionately dislike Emma3, but I DO prefer 2...does this make me crazy, ignorant, stupid, or a dillitante? Though I'm sure that's not what you meant to express, it is implied. Though you have already retracted your post, I think the message remains fodder for a much-needed clarification of terms. Are you most bothered by the fact that you don't understand where these folks are coming from, or by the manner in which they glibly (and perhaps ignorantly) dismiss Emma3 wholesale? Or both? In either case, I understand completely. I think it's okay to indulge in a little bit of affectionate defense, but this must be underscored by a general respect for the people and the opinion opposing. I'm sorry if I or anyone has offended you, Susan! By the same token, if you're trying to tell us we're nuts because we like Emma2 better, well, then toughsky! ;-P
I have read and re-read the book several times (it IS my favorite, after all) and I just don't see Emma2 there -- not in flavor, not in portrayals, not in anything. Is there an attempt here to say that Emma2 is an improvement over the original text?
In my case - and others' - no...it's MY favorite too! I cannot, however, answer for everyone else.
I don't mean to be contrary; I'm just really CONFUSED!!!
I understand how Emma3 would be safer to like. And I DO like it, in its way. For me, it doesn't snap and sparkle. And it doesn't transcend the screen, just as some books can't transcend the printed page (Billington and Tennant, for example - though Emma3 is a much better movie than they are books!).
I think perhaps the "magic" that everyone sees in Emma2 is a lot like the "conceptual genius" others see in Clueless (which I didn't like). Some people are sticklers for original detail, in which case the settings and costumes of Emma3 would have it out with the scripts and portrayals of Emma1 for the "best." Others find a tone - a feeling - which strikes them (perhaps something akin to the frequency of a dog whistle!) just so and absolutely MUST be recreated in every subsequent experience of the story, and no amount of faithful detail will make up for its absence. Modern conceptualization - whether in Doug Mc Grath's incarnation or Amy Heckerling's - involves maintenance of a tone and a structural coherence rather than strict adherence to a list of original scenes and quotations.
I've come to liken the comparison or ratio of orthodoxy or whatever you wanna call it to the differences between photographs, impressionistic paintings, and modern cubist stuff. Some people want realism - perfect copies in visual media, just like a photo or a carefully-painted portrait (oftentimes these lack feeling - how many times have we seen a perfect portrait with a dead expression?). Others are touched by fresher, more inventive means of expression - records of shape, light, and color which capture the mood and general form but not the crisp details of the real thing. Others will take the tendencies of the latter to a farther extreme, demanding not merely inventiveness but entirely new ways of expressing the subject and tone. At this point, many of us will stare at the canvas (or whatever) and ask, "How the hell did she get ______ outta ______?!" And some people can see the good in (and LIKE) just about everything, as long as the tone is consistently and masterfully kept throughout. While few of us fit the opposite extremes, I think we all generally fit into one of the three (four) categories.
While people like us may be so receptive to art in general that we no longer question the validity of even the oddest artistic progressions, I think the example works. I myself was recently caught in the middle of an art war last year, which is very illustrative of my stance on the Emmas. Last year, a friend of a friend looked at my print of Renoir's Danse a la Ville, and voiced supreme disdain for it because it "wasn't realistic enough." At first, I thought the guy was nuts. After all, impressionistic art is a meritous, accepted and cannonized genre of art(and I think it captures the essence of life by a creative treatment of visual elements!). Apparently, however, not everybody is in agreement upon this. Still others look at my print and announce that it is too "boring," and doesn't have enough color or action to maintain interest or relevance (mostly guys...so perhaps it's the subject matter too? I think this applies to film adaptations as well!).
So what does it boil down to? The same thing it always has - opinions will differ, but no one will be "right" while others "wrong." In addition, not everyone wil be able to understand where everyone else is coming from. I've reinvented the wheel here, but the illustration I've constructed may be helpful in understanding and avoiding needless complications arising from our alternative realities. However, it IS important to be tolerant.
Susan -- I guess I no longer wonder about it, since we've been experiencing this difference of opinions since February. I like all three adaptations of Emma, but Emma3 is hands down my favorite. It is not perfect, but no adaptation of a JA novel will ever be perfect IMO.
This is pretty much how I see it, Kathleen.