The kinds of book-related movies I’m okay with
October 25, 2011 § 7 Comments
As I’ve said before, I’m opposed to books being adapted to film, even when those films turn out great because I think they take the emphasis off of reading. I don’t dislike movies, or even think they are generally inferior to books, I just think that both should be enjoyed and books tend to be more neglected by our society at this point in time. That said, there are some movies that are book/reading/author inspired that I fully support.
Which brings me to Anonymous (the movie, not the hacker group).
If you neglected to watch the above, it all boils down to this line from the trailer: “We all know William Shakespeare… but what if I told you that Shakespeare never wrote a single word.”
Now if I had to guess (and judging from discussion threads I’ve seen elsewhere), that premise probably rumples some feathers out there of the diehard Shakespeare fans and English teachers. The thing is, Anonymous is a work of fiction (and from what I’ve heard, takes liberties even with well-known history of the man and period). I have no reason to believe that the movie will be spectacular, or even decent–though the trailer is enough to convince me to take a chance on it–but the thing I love about it is that I can’t see it ruining a Shakespeare play for anyone. If anything, I think that the hype of the movie could get some people intrigued about Shakespeare who otherwise wouldn’t have been. They may not run to the library for a copy of Hamlet, but they might look a little more in depth at who the man was and learn a little bit about one of the western world’s most influential playwrights in the process. I guess I just don’t see this as the blasphemy some people are claiming it is.
Again I am not talking about movies adapted from books, but in general I think books and reading could be leveraged more effectively in mediums other than the written word. I think ‘book trailers’ are a great idea (especially when they don’t look like they were made by the author’s 12-year-old son on imovie), not to mention interactive websites and graphic novels that build on the worlds that novels create. I think that movies like Anonymous–whatever you think about the movie itself–leverage video for the benefit of books, even if that is not their primary goal.
So what are your thoughts about Anonymous? Will you see it? Do you think it will drive anyone to Shakespeare? Will it cause irreparable damage to Will’s image? Can you think of any other movies about books, reading, or authors that aren’t based on a work but spread the word about the work or person or reading as a whole? I think The Pagemaster is another great example of a movie that tries to get people excited about reading, without ruining any good books.