Tuesday, July 29, 2008

Revisted One Time Too Many

I've started a few posts and then stopped because I seem to do nothing but whine and flop about. I'm 42. That's old enough for a sentence that begins "Twenty-five years ago" to pack a whallop, because 25 years ago is now a real time.

Twenty-five or so years ago, I tuned in weekly to see the BBC adaptation of Brideshead Revisited. Twenty-five years must truly be a long time, because a movie producer somewhere decided it was time to mix things up and shove what took a dozen or so episodes to explore in 1981 into a 2-hour movie in 2008. Seeing as I think the BBC miniseries was the best of all possible adaptations, I'm prepared to be horrified by the film version. I've seen the trailer, and I have not liked what I've seen. I know they tend to sex up trailers to draw the viewers (though I don't understand why they need to sex up a story that's only drawing the literate artsy crowd anyway), but it seems pretty clear that they've beaten the plot into a love triangle with Charles Ryder, the protagonist, torn between Sebastian and Sebastian's sister Julia. This is so off target it makes me want to find the screenwriter and rap his knuckles. Charles doesn't give two hoots about Julia until halfway through the book, after they've both been stuck in disastrous marriages for years, by which time Sebastian is drinking himself into a stupor in Morocco and beyond caring. This change does nothing to enhance the story--it throws it off kilter. Motivations will change. The emotional landscape will change. Just how much I won't know until I see the movie, which I feel obliged to do even if it gives me apoplexy.

I pity the actors playing Charles and Sebastian, because they can never upstage Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews. But I gather Charles and Sebastian get to kiss in this version, which was more romantic action than they got in the miniseries, primarily because no such scene ever occurs in the book. This is hardly a story about gay liberation--Waugh's views are not calculated to make gays happy, since he believed that gay love was a mere precursor to a more mature love for a woman, and finally for God. Still, a kiss would have been a nice touch, given how pretty Jeremy Irons and Anthony Andrews were.

1 comment:

  1. You're braver than I, Gunga Din. I have no intention of seeing this outrage. Jeremy Irons IS Charles Ryder, for crying out loud.

    Plus, it really pisses me off that they've changed the story, missed the point, turned Lady Marchmain into a rabid fundamentalist and then had the nerve to still shoot at Castle Howard.

    Not that I have an opinion.