Reading Film (Fall 2011)

a qwriting blog for ENG 110

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Response to Bazin by Roberto Rodriguez

September 4th, 2011 by Roberto Rodriguez · 6 Comments · ¶4 Bazin

Basically what Bazin was trying to do by writing his essay was to make people decide what they would prefer, the cinema version or the original literature. Now obviously movies can’t fit everything from the books into the film because of a time slot so they edit a lot of stuff out that was in the original book. But the thing is nowadays most people aren’t reading books like they did back then because we’ve found better ways to spend our time. So most people don’t even realize that the movie does not match the book and so they don’t pay attention to that. But Bazin is smarter than that, he knows that some things match and other things don’t and the relationship between cinema and literature certainly isn’t a match.

Let’s take that “Hamlet” clip we saw into consideration, I guarantee you that the boy watching the Hamlet clip did not even read the original work. So all he cares about is all the people that Arnold (I mean Hamlet) is going to slaughter and the carnage that is going to be displayed. The fact that the original Hamlet didn’t even come close to that Rambo Hamlet did not even occur in the boy’s mind because he was too focused on the cinematic version of the famous play by Shakespeare. So when he goes to school the next day and he’s reading hamlet, the first thing that’s going to come to his mind is “To be or not to be,not to be.”

If Bazin had seen that clip I think he would have been really upset because the original work of literature that he had come to know and love had been tainted by the clutches of cinema. He would view the clip of Rambo Hamlet killing all those people as an atrocity and not as a form of entertainment and amusement that we viewed it as. If the clip had been shown during Bazin’s time I guarantee you it would have been in his essay as an example of how movie adaptations are degrading the foundations of the original work. Don’t get me wrong though, I personally loved the clip because I read the original work and the thought of Hamlet killing everybody and smoking a cigarette is very amusing to me but in regard to Bazin’s essay it was a degrading example of Hamlet and I think Shakespeare would be very upset and demand it to be erased.

So we come back to the question of what do you prefer, the cinematic version or the original form? and the answer varies depending on the person. If you”re the type of  person who loves reading not because you have to but because you want to and you saw a parody of a book you’ve read a thousand times you’re first reaction would be curiosity. You would want to see the movie or parody and compare it to what you have read and then depending and how many things were edited and how much they had mutated the book you have read, you might like it or you might think that it is a piece of garbage and the creators are all idiots. It all the depends on the person’s preferences but I personally think the book adaptations all suck and it is a waste of time but I think movie adaptations of video games are 10 times better than book adaptations but then again it is all the same to Bazin and he would look at the video game adaptations equally with disgust because he respects the integrity of the original version.

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6 Comments so far ↓

  • Steven Rengifo

    I really liked this post. Shakespeare is a great example of a list works that have been adapted so many times, in movies, cartoons, tv shorts, etc. Lets face it, Shakespeare isn’t that easy to read, even though there are notes that help you follow the narrative. I’m glad that directors have released movie adaptations of famous works like, Titus Andronicus, Julius Caeser, Much Ado About Nothing, and various others. Most versions are created into a “modern version” of the play, most get the message across. One movie I really hated was Romeo and Juliet(modern version with Leonardo Dicaprio). Anyways, your response to Bazin was good.

  • Kevin L. Ferguson

    Good point about the boy in the clip watching a version of Hamlet in his English class, not studying the play; we’re watching the boy’s “adaptation” of Laurence Olivier’s “adaption” of Shakespeare’s Hamlet (itself an “adaption” of other historical stories). I wonder too about your first point about today’s audiences having a lower attention span for reading. Maybe we should just totally get rid of Hamlet, instead of ruining it by shortening it?

  • Natalie Bernabe

    It’s probably true that he would have seen video game adaptations as ludicrous, since it completely goes against everything he’s known(considering he wrote this in the 40’s!). But he would be quick to judge the Hamlet clip too, saying that everything in it is completely unrelated to the ply, but i found it funny. The kid really wanted action, huh?

  • Roberto Rodriguez

    I’m not a big fan of Shakespeare myself because I think his dialogue is too out of this time so i liked the clips adaptation better but then again Bazin would be disgusted by it.

  • Daniel Min

    I absolutely agree that some find works of adaptation entertaining because of one’s preferences therefore we should read, watch, listen to the original work of art and understand the full concept.

    I remember reading an article about Kevin Smith’s criticism on Spider-Man the Movie. Initially his response was very negative and couldn’t understand the reason why audience raved about it, however after second viewing Mr. Smith understood why audience find it so entertaining, The problem was not the film itself but viewing Spider-Man from a film critic’s perspective instead of watching it as a die-hard fan thus we should choose whatever media is more so appropriate for certain craftsmanship.

  • Kaitlin Stevens

    You bring up a lot of good points, it is very true that different people view movie adaptions with different perspectives. You really can’t generalize whether movie adaptions are better than the original book.

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