Tuesday, December 21, 2004

Le Guin Understated the Case

Ursula Le Guin wrote an excellent set of books about a fantasy world consisting of an archipelago (group of islands) called EarthSea. I just finished re-re-re-re-reading A Wizard of Earthsea and enjoyed it (again) immensely.

The SciFi channel decided to make the first two books into miniseries called the Legend of Earthsea. In response to the series, Le Guin penned an article, "A Whitewashed Earthsea: How the Sci Fi Channel wrecked my books.." In it, she focused on a few salient points. They told her they had a co-writer from "The Lord of the Rings" movies and then they didn't. They started out working with her on the script and then they didn't. The racial makeup of Earthsea was completely out of sync with the miniseries. These and other points all led Le Guin to the conclusion the SciFi channel wrecked her books.

I decided to wait and judge things for myself. Sometimes the passions of an artist get the better of them when their "baby" is being messed with. Perhaps Le Guin was overreacting. How could I know without watching the series? I finally watched as much as I am going to tonight. I made it through about 10 minutes before walking out of the room (my daughter likes corny fantasy, so she trooped on).

Imagine if Harry Potter kissed Hermione in the first five minutes of "Harry Potter." Imagine if Potter, Hermione, and Ron were all Inuits. Imagine if the Riders of Rohan hatched a plan to attack the elves and take over Frodo's ring in the first 10 minutes of the "Lord of the Rings" and the hobbits were the same size as humans. Imagine things getting more different and bizarre from there. The insulting inaccuracies piled up so fast that I was simultaneously digusted and laughing and poking fun at the same time.

Ursula Le Guin understated the case when she said the SciFi channel wrecked her books. I would say they defiled, then wrecked her books after taking the time to personally insult all who had read her books. Le Guin's restraint was admirable. My question is, "Why did you bother to use Earthsea if you were going to make a crappy fantasy miniseries?" I am sure there are thousands of would-be script writers who could have provided a much more gripping and powerful story.

It reminds me of the scene in "Elf" where James Caan asked what a bunch of stupid kids would care if there were two pages missing from a kids book. You can't commoditize a good idea to the point of absurdity or you won't make much money. I wouldn't expect any DVD sales of substance on this farce.

8 comments:

The Moody Minstrel said...

Oh, well. They did pretty much the same sort of thing when they made the miniseries remake of "Battlestar Galactica". It's a typical example of RPS (Real Producer Syndrome). The producers said, "Let's take something that is really popular among a certain segment of the population and make it more accessible to a wider audience." The result? Predictable, cliche, PC trash that included the names from the original and little else.

"More accessible" is usually synonymous with "crap". Face it: the bulk of American society wants quick satisfaction with little thought requirement. It's right up there with "drinkable" (i.e. close to water) beer, "eatable" (i.e. close to paper) processed food, "reality" (i.e. morons under glass) TV programs, and the results of the last election.

Oops....did I just make another political comment?

I'm glad I won't get to see the miniseries. Maybe I should start reading my EarthSea books. I haven't touched them yet.

Vulgarius said...

I tend to enjoy books more these days. I'm generally disappointed with most movies these days. I dont even bother with cable. If its not free its generally not worth watching. If its worth watching I'll wait for the DVD.

DewKid said...

You silly Moody you, and your silly (oops) political comments... ;-)

The Moody Minstrel said...

I shudder to think what would happen if the "real producer" guys that made the "Battlestar Galactica" and "Earthsea" miniseries got their hands on Impasse...Would anybody care to speculate?

Anonymous said...

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Anonymous said...

Emperor Ty'Klemmo:

[psybernetic command for someone to get a bucket]

ElTigris said...

I like the new Battlestar remake ..I always thought the first one sucked more than Ozzie snorting ants (well he would still be more interesting).

The best sucky movie in comparison to EarthSea miniseries would be the movie "StarShip Troopers" barring that the guy that directed it wanted to parody the USA ... I would prefer he not use the name for his movie ...rather "Beverly Hills Military 90210 in Space"

As far as Impasse goes... Mmmmm we could start with 3D models for a start that should be interesting, then go to uprating the drawings of the varmints of the galaxy. The "Varmentium Compendium" Come up with some slick graphics and flash animations and bingo. Unfortunately I checked if Impasse.com was taken and it is ... we got beaten by some insect exterminators.

ElTigris said...

another comment I heard at a convention by a very good source. The reason why bad movies are made:

"I would rather make 20 crappy movies that made some money then one decent one that broke even"

An anonymous hollywood producer quoted.