Got into a bit of a debate with Karin today about the Harry Potter movie. Karin has written that while she liked the movie, she felt it lacked by being a straightforward recapitulation of the book. Why do such an adaptation in the first place, she asks?
I can understand this criticism, but frankly it doesn’t bother me. I saw the movie and enjoyed it, and never felt that it needed to have some director’s vision imposed on it. I certainly respect and admire those who can cover someone else’s work and turn it into something new and wonderful while remaining faithful to the original artist’s intent, but it’s no sin to me to merely reproduce another’s work in one’s own style. (Insert Stephen Ambrose joke here.)
I’m a big fan of a Grateful Dead cover album called “Deadicated”. It features a diverse group of artists, all of whom have run their number through their own filter. Several of the songs, such as the Indigo Girls’ version of “Uncle John’s Band” and Dwight Yoakum’s “Truckin'”, are better than the originals. On the other hand, I’ve got a CD called “A Tribute to Stevie Ray Vaughn”, which features faithful covers of his best-known songs by a variety of blues legends. There’s nothing new to discover there, but good material performed by skilled artists is valuable in its own right. I file the Potter movie in the same general bin.
By the way, did anyone happen to catch the A&E Biography of JK Rowling last night? She’s obviously very protective of her creation, which lends another reason for Chris Columbus’ choice of a stick-to-it narrative. Interestingly, the bio we saw last night was pretty much all Rowling speaking, rather than the usual panorama of interviews with friends and associates. The description on the page I linked, which describes a standard Bio formula show, is not what we saw last night. Curious.