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November 12th, 2007
04:42 am
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Books vs. films

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From:frameacloud
Date:November 12th, 2007 09:28 pm (UTC)
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Oddly enough, this was something that I was thinking about this morning, about how movies and books differ in what they can do. I'm of the opinion that there are some books that cannot and should not be made into movies.

One particular phenomenon doesn't translate well into film. Novels where a great deal of the action is psychic and abstract, or otherwise something inward and mental... since it's not something you can see, and doesn't translate well into visuals, a movie can't do it visually. The book accomplished it through constant narration, which wouldn't come off so well in a movie; it would end up feeling more like an audio-book if they treated it faithfully. Usually what happens is that a very detailed scene of this kind in a book translates into a scene in a movie that just has you looking at an actor's face, mugging in a desperate attempt to express a psychic battle or something.

Dragonsbane, for example, wouldn't work so well as a movie. The psychic battles and mental transfigurations in particular would fail to carry over, since they're abstract clashes of ideas and emotions. Maybe you could express the inward stuff with flashy special effects, but then it would just look like people throwing smoke and lightning around, the deeper significance lost. The poetry with which Morkeleb is described might never carry over as clearly in an actual picture of him, moving or otherwise, much as I would like to see one that did.

In movies, you can see people's faces, but you can't get inside their heads. I've seen some art films that manage it, such as Brother from Another Planet and The Piano, but being invited right inside the head of a character seems to be more typical of books.
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From:baxil
Date:November 12th, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC)
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Completely off-topic, but is your icon based on that dragon illustration I pulled out of a 1903 dictionary once upon a time?
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From:frameacloud
Date:November 17th, 2007 03:45 pm (UTC)
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I wouldn't know, since kategod drew it. I've always liked it since it looks so nice as a transparent .GIF icon. Sort of frilly on the edges. Dragons usually look more or less like this in heraldry, don't they? (Minus the sensory antennae and other personal affectations, and the extra-fancy knot-work tail.) I haven't seen the specific 1903 dictionary illustration.
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From:baxil
Date:November 19th, 2007 03:50 am (UTC)
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> Dragons usually look more or less like this in heraldry, don't they?

That's probably the base of it. The dictionary illustration was rather similar, but it's probably not the only one out there.

I can't find the original with my site temporarily down, but here's a picture from archive.org -- I used the illustration to watermark my old site.
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