Jessica Day George

Monday, October 16, 2006

The Ruiner

We have a little honorary title for Anne Hathaway at our house: The Ruiner. I know, it's not fair. The poor girl isn't a bad actress, it's just that she's been in some terrible, terrible adaptations of books. She's a good actress, really, but I can't think of anyone who has so consistently been in literary adaptations, which have so consistently been total hack jobs. For instance, The Princess Diaries. Here is a book so funny that I was crying with laughter when I first read it. I got absolutely nothing done that day, I was so caught up in that book. So they make a movie. So they change everything that was funny about the book: her grandmother is no longer an evil chain-smoking sociopath. Her father is inexplicably dead, and she and her friend Lilly are not being chased through the streets of Manhattan by Lilly's stalker, which was hilarious (the guy wants to see Lilly's feet). All gone. Terrible movie. Then they made a sequel, which was not based on any of the books and not written by author Meg Cabot, who cleverly got her revenge by addressing the movies in the book. Yes, at one point Lilly and Mia discuss the movies that have been made about Mia, and how the latest one was "Totally fictional, what were they thinking?" Ah, the perfect literary revenge. So I completely avoided "Ella Enchanted", having seen from the previews that it seemed to have nothing to do with the book. I caught a few minutes of it this weekend on tv, and was frozen in horror. What corny, pun-laden, flatulence filled garbage! The book is so darling, so clever and sweet and funny . . . it won a Newbery award for heaven's sake! Why would you tamper with source material of such high caliber? What was gained? Nothing. Some troll fart jokes and a drunken, lecherous elf? Was that really worth it? Word for word that book would have made a fabulous movie: fun, exciting, romantic. Why did it have to be ruined? Why, why, why? I used to say that if I got paid a lot of money, I'd be fine with changes to a book I wrote, after all, it's good press and would push book sales. But I don't think there's enough money in the world to make up for what happened to Gail Carson Levine. Oh, Gail, I'm so sorry!


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Anonymous said...

I LOVE ELLA ENCHANTED! Gail Carson Lavine is one of my favorite authors. I personately think Fairest is the best, but I'm a singer... The movie of Ella Enchanted wouldn't be toooo bad if it wasn't based on Lavine's amazing book. Since it is...well, let's not go into deatles and just say it's aweful.