In the past few weeks I have seen The Hobbit twice and Les Misérables once. I adore them both. I also had issues with them but for the most part they did not involve any of the changes made for the big screen. You see, I am not a canon girl. I can easily adapt to changes in story and plot and character so long as the movie stays true to what I feel is its heart.
In The Hunger Games book the mockingjay pin was given to Katniss by Madge Undersee, the mayor’s daughter. In the film, Madge doesn’t appear at all, and Katniss obtains the pin from Greasy Sae. Does it matter really? The heart of the thing is the pin and what it represents. And in the film you see that as it goes from Katniss to Prim and Prim to Katniss and then Cinna to Katniss.
One of the most iconic pieces of Hollywood memorabilia of all time is not canon. In the F. Frank Baum novel, The Wonderful Wizard of Oz Dorothy’s slippers were silver. However, in order to take advantage of the new Technicolor film process the shoes were changed to Ruby red slippers. In the world of the Internet the number of changes to the original OZ story that the movie made caused an explosion. But instead what we have is a beloved classic film.
My husband is a canon guy. He likes the story to follow in the footsteps of the books and with The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit which he has read a kabillionity times it was obvious. No Tom Bombadil or Imrahil. Arwen is a major player? Where was the Scouring of the Shire? And on and on and on. So when we went to The Hobbit I knew to expect that it would be worse because Jackson took more liberties with it. When Christopher Toelkin finally spoke about LOTR he had few nice things to say:
“They eviscerated the book by making it an action movie for young people aged 15 to 25, … And it seems that The Hobbit will be the same kind of film.”
That said, I must love an eviscerated book. Radagast? Who would not want a sled pulled by rabbits? Bilbo’s Contract? Much humor is much appreciated. Azog the Defiler? I love the back-story of Thorin Oakenshield’s name and the urgency the chase it adds to the movie’s plot. And the major complaint that people have about Jackson turning this into something other than a children’s story? Did you not have clue when Guillermo del Toro was one of the first people attached to it?
As for Les Misérables, it is indeed different from the original score, which, my children, is indeed, different from the original book. If you want to see the Broadway show, please do. It is amazing and I highly recommend it. But a Broadway show recreated on screen would be a dull, boring snooze-ville. And this movie was not. It was stunning to look at and emotionally wrenching. It was acting and singing and the ups and downs that come with this kind of an adaptation. I would see it again in a heartbeat but I have to re-hydrate first. My only complaint here was why, dear god, why Russell Crowe?
So, Hollywood keep it up. Make great movie adaptations but please pick people who love the books they are filming so that the key thing about the book is still in the movie, its heart.
So what about you? Are you Canon or No?