11 September 2007

A small note, and then a movie review.

OK Blogger. Stop putting fucking "div" tags in my posts. I don't know when you started this practice, and to tell you the truth I'm too damn lazy to look it up, but it seems for the past few weeks everything's getting more spaced out and I look and see I have these "div" things in there.

Get them out.

In the meantime, I'll tell you a little story. My wife is teaching two classes this fall and one of the books she's teaching is Cooper's The Last of the Mohicans. Now we've both read the book, but neither of us had seen the 1992 movie adaptation starring Daniel Day-Lewis as Hawkeye. So we watched it the other night.

It's hard for me to evaluate it as a movie, since my understanding is so colored by my knowledge of the text, but as a film adaptation it absolutely blows. In fact, it's so far away from Cooper's novel that it shouldn't even be called The Last of the Mohicans. It should have been called The Names Are the Same but Everything Is Different.

First, Hawkeye is not a love interest in the novel. He's a crusty frontiersman who has no use for romance. Cora and Hawkeye never share any sort of hot passion and to make matters worse, Heyward is not interested whatsoever in Cora: he has his eyes set on Alice. So the movie sets up a typical Hollywood trope that is found nowhere near Cooper's novel: the love triangle between Cora, Hawkeye, and Heyward.

I could go on and on: Cora's mixed background and Hawkeye's insistence on his own racial purity are entirely absent from consideration, Magua and Uncas's competing desires for Cora -- once again, not Alice -- are absent, the plot structure is altered in entirely unnecessary ways, etc.

It almost makes me want to teach the novel sometime just so I can give an in-class writing assignment to see which students read the novel and which watched that fraudulent piece of crap.


mysterygirl! said...

I really like the movie, but I've never read the book. I always get too mad when something I've read is bastardized in the movie version, so now I will have to avoid the novel (although I'll admit to being a bit unenthused about frontier novels in general, so this isn't a big sacrifice on my part :) ).

And yes, you should totally assign something about this novel to see who has done the reading. I had a prof who once structured an undergrad quiz on one novel based on a specific (but major) error in the Cliff's Notes.

Anonymous said...

Your comments on the movie are amusingly reminiscent of Mark Twain's essay on the book. If memory serves it was titled "The Literary Offenses of Fenimore Cooper". If you haven't already I highly suggest giving it a read.

Reya Mellicker said...

Movies have to have romance, whether or not it's a part of the story. It's just the way it is.

What's a "div" ??