Posted by Cassandra on June 29, 1997 at 21:28:13:
In reply to Alternative Realities...again. posted by Kali on June 29, 1997 at 14:22:24
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.
Kali, I second your call for tolerance. We all have strong opinions regarding our favorite adaptation, but we are all united by a common love, appreciation for Emma. Personally, what irks the most is the notion that Emma2 is a slick, Hollywood, scaled down to the masses version. Doug McGrath is hardly a typical Hollywood director. And with respect to Emma3-the tendancy to criticize, dismiss the script/performances as flat, dull. Yes-none of us are right or wrong. Chacun a son gout.
I really love Kali's impressionnism/realism analogy. The impressionists were concerned with capturing a particular moment, impression; masters of light, colour, shading. And its a wonderful means of articulating one's preference for Emma2/Emma3. For me, a novel is more than a string of scenes, dialogue, chapters. It has a tone, a spirit. And for many of us, Doug McGrath's adaptation captured that spirit.
Above all, though, whatever adaptation you prefer, there has to be a basic level of respect for differing opinions. The French enlightenment thinkers were right: I may not agree with what you say, but I'll defend to the death your right to say it. After all, If I can refrain from taking shots at Andrew Davies and MS, I'd like to think Doug McGrath won't be dismissed as just a "Hollywood" director.