Monday, January 14, 2008

The Scandal of the Moment

Anglo-Saxonists are up in arms about this essay in the New York Times, an essay that argues ... wait for it ... that the Beowulf poem was given the "kiss of life" by the Zemeckis adaptation. Sophie Gee also argues that Paradise Lost was similarly saved by Philip Pullman's "His Dark Materials" trilogy.

I couldn't agree more! Furthermore, I humbly submit to you other adaptations that have given the "kiss of life" to their dreary originals:

As you can plainly see, old stuff is boring. New stuff is always better. New stuff with special effects and big marketing campaigns are best.

*Oooof! Yes, I know, a very cheap shot ... I just couldn't help myself.


  1. Hey, I liked McCarthy's The Road! ;) It's high time the future-world faced the terrible, terrible, post-apocalyptic issue of baby cannibalism! We have to motivate future societies to make changes, so we don't have to!

  2. Wow, what an incredibly stupid article from the Times. It sounds like an essay by a high schooler for their English class. "The movie is better because it makes the book better, because the book is hard to read."

    Also, I'm a little tired of hearing how Pullman "rewrites" Paradise Lost. Pullman's clearly a fan of Milton, but Milton as read by William Blake. He seems to be reacting much more strongly against C.S. Lewis, frankly. (And, like Lewis, he gets too sanctimonious for his own good at times.)

  3. Good heavens! I nearly had a heart attack when I read the first paragraph! Glad it was tongue-in-cheek!

  4. While I'm in total agreement with with the spirit of your post, there is one small detail over which I must disagree with you.

    I believe you'll find Sword of the Valiant: The Legend of Sir Gawain and the Green Knight does a much better job capturing the spirit of the original poem then the work you sighted here (though admittedly, my respect for Franklin is not small), all while keeping an eye towards the physical realities of the dark middle age. Allegory? Try 'all-gory,' with extra action, action, action!

    It's what the Pearl Poet would have written, had he he not been so repressed.

  5. Yes, especially with all that homoerotic subtext that infuses the opening (so to speak) of the film.

  6. "The unpalatable truth is that both originals are now virtually unreadable."

    Good gracious me. I guess we need to ask Disney to start making cartoons of Shakespeare, then. And can someone draw a comic book for some of those crazy Canterbury Tales? With lots of boobies, please. Thanks.

  7. It's been done: See Gilbert Shelton's Miller's Tale or Gregory Iron's Wife of Bath.