I worry about this generation. Not because of the worsening climate, the economy, politics, or anything like that. I worry because they many of them only know Tolkien through Peter Jackson’s eyes. They only know Harry Potter from the movies. They only know about vampires that sparkle. Books are infinitely better than movies, yet the statistics show that books are not part of the average person’s life after school.
Places like Borders went out of business because of ebooks, supposedly. Barnes & Noble stayed afloat because of the Nook, but somehow that tech is still bringing them down. Why? Because people don’t want to read books on a tablet any more than they want to read them in paper format. They want to play angry birds and watch some movies named after books rather than based on them. Words aren’t fun until some Hollywood hunk is saying them while flying from an exploding building.
Special effects are more important than story, not really a new statement, I know. No one wants to see Harry defeat Voldemort in a 2 second exchange, calm as any Buddhist monk upon reaching enlightenment. Even people who read the books seemed to dislike that ending. I found it peaceful and right, but what do I know? Nothing, apparently. The mob has to have them flying – flying?!? – all over the doggone castle and the multicolored lightning bolts. And we can’t leave Voldemort a body. No, he has to disintegrate into ash that floats into the audience because it must, repeat, MUST be in 3D. Even though a body would have shown him to be perfectly human, a normal person, reduced at last from the god-like station he had tried to establish himself as.
Special effects mean that instead of having the Dwarves hide for a couple of days in the dark tunnel like cowards while Smaug destroys Lake Town and is slain by Bard, they have an epic battle with the dragon involving a pointless attempt to drown the beast in gold. Why? It looked cool. The dragon was extremely impressive. The dynamic between him and Bilbo was well done, I suppose, but how freaking difficult is it to stick to the script? I thought you were making an adult version of the text, reverse engineering how the story might have been before it was changed into a story for kids. I didn’t realize that getting an unbelievably huge budget meant you could spit on the text so you could have your little fanfiction. (When you do stuff like invent characters so that they can be in a sappy love triangle that runs counter to the rest of the flow of the movie, fans don’t just run along with you. They are hurt, betrayed, and insulted. I can justify a lot of things, but that was my limit.)
And those movies, which were popular because the lead was deemed gorgeous, despite the unbearable acting all around, the dumbed down plot, and the ridiculous mythos, those movies based off those books are how some people (tweener girls and middle-aged women) were introduced to the supernatural. But that is the only part of the supernatural they will ever know. They won’t read other books or watch other movies in the genre. They will read those books and watch those movies when they need their fantasy fix. It’s like being born with limited vision (as all infants are) and then decided you like that best so you’re going to live the rest of your life squinting your eyes and tripping over everything. The only thing worse than people who tote those books about as great literature are the one’s addicted to the movies who didn’t bother reading the books.
You might be wondering where this rant came from. Or you might not. Anyway, yesterday, I had my first literature class on Vampires and the teacher had us go around the room with intros and “why we took this class.” There were a lot of “it looked interesting” responses, a few die-hard fans like me, a couple of Twilighters taking the scary step into the realm of actual supernatural film and lit, and several people who said they loved vampires but didn’t know much about them. This confused me. Everyone knows about Dracula. He’s kind of a thing in this culture. And there’s Buffy, too, very much a staple of the 90’s and early 00’s. So how do you love vampires without knowing about them? I was just confused. I’m sure that’s not what they meant, not really. It was strange, is all. Hopefully, this class will draw them in deeper. Hopefully, they won’t ruin it for me. I’ve been wanting to take this class since I saw it in the catalog before I started at this school.
And that is my writing for today. Look at proactive me, not waiting until 23:45 to start.