Hugo…. a question….

July 4, 2012

An illustration from the book. Image from the book smugglers.

The beginning of our holidays has been rather slow…..which is great!

We’ve played lots of board games, watched lots of movies, listened to music and read alone and to each other.

Today we rented (via itunes which we love…no late fees!) Hugo and enjoyed it again.

I didn’t enjoy it on the computer monitor as much as the 3D version of the movie at the cinema though which is a bit strange. Some of you might be thinking…we duh… big screen, 3D, compared to a little screen and 2D….. but I don’t usually like 3D movies and will often look for a ‘normal’ session.

Aaannnnywaayyyy….. it got me thinking again about how we receive content.

It makes a difference when the medium matches and enhances the content.

We react differently to content depending on how it is presented.

…another image from the book via the book smugglers.

Some movies we HAD to see on the big screen and in 3D because we thought they would be better that way. Like Hugo and U2 3D. Other times we will choose between movies by what would be better bigger and what makes no difference. Romantic comedies, for example. are just as enjoyable on the small screen at home as at the movies.

Books and movies can work like this too. Some movies are better than the book, like ‘The Firm’ or ‘The Bourne series’. Can’t think of others……

Mostly, of course,  the book is better than the movie. The first thing that springs to mind is “where the wild things are’….. but there are many more.

Some books and movies are equally enjoyable but for different reasons. ‘The Hunger Games’, ‘The Harry Potter Series’ and ‘The Narnia Chronicles’ are great as movies and as books if you let them stand as movies and books. I enjoy the story in both mediums but wouldn’t give up experiencing one for the other.

So enough of my pontificating.

Has anyone read the book Hugo ? Some of the reviews I have read say the movie is better! What do you think?

…and while we are at it…. tell me your thoughts on content and medium.

What other messages are effected by medium?

Are there things you would read but not watch? Watch but not read? How about your kids?

I would love to hear your thoughts.

2 Responses to “Hugo…. a question….”

  1. Deb K said

    Hey Ally,
    We had a really interesting discussion at book club the other week about this (sort of). We’d just read Caleb’s Crossing by Geraldine Brooks, but one of our group members hadn’t read it – partly because she didn’t get a chance, but also partly because, having read ‘March’ by the same author and found it a bit traumatic and then likewise with the very beginning of Caleb’s Crossing, didn’t feel up to it. She said she feels Brooks is a bit unnecessarily graphic in some of her descriptions of tragic things. She compared that to the more sensitive, tactful approach taken in The No.1 Ladies Detective Agency (which I’ve not read).

    Usually I don’t cope very well with distressing content, but oddly I didn’t find I was really upset by the tragedies in Caleb’s Crossing – it more got me thinking about the ‘macro’ tragedies of colonial history and racial conflicts. Perhaps in difference seasons of my life (e.g. when pregnant!) I would have been more emotionally moved, I don’t know.

    Anyway, I commented that I have a harder time WATCHING really sad or awful stuff, than reading about it. I find that if I see it (acted realistically), it really stays with me and I find it much more troubling/scarring/traumatic. (Some examples for me were scenes from Life is Beautiful and The Kite Runner. I don’t necessarily regret seeing them, but am a bit scarred!) What amazed me was that this group member said she is the opposite!! She said she can watch R-rated movies without flinching, but really struggles to read graphically described troubling things in books.

    So I found that really interesting. It obviously can be an individual thing. I still think, though, that as a general rule I would let my kids READ books with fairly mature (e.g. violent) content, much earlier than I would let them see the respective films – especially now that the movies (e.g. Harry Potter, Narnia, LOTR) are so realistic with the amazing special effects. I guess what I’ve heard and am basing that on is that young children cannot delineate between reality and fantasy the way grown-ups can, so I think adding really vivid images rather than just leaving it to their imaginations could leave them with a lot more nightmares! Or, on the flip side (perhaps for older children), could unhealthily desensitise them as spectators of things that they actually ought to be troubled by.

    As for which is more enjoyable, I’ve definitely come to the view that books and movies should simply each be enjoyed for what they are, rather than expecting the movies to ‘do justice’ to the books. They are simply different experiences, and while obviously some adaptations are better than others, it’s pointless to expect to experience them in the same way.


    • allysonadeney said

      Yep Deb….
      Thanks for your thoughts and comment.

      I think I am with you.
      I can’t do sexual violence (Kite runner or Dragon tattoo) in books or movies because it messes with my head long after the paragraph or scene has past.

      On the kid front, I am less bothered by violence and fantasy as I am by nastiness and bad behaviour having no consequences. Some philosophies also put me off.
      I think both in books and movies they can distinguish between fantasy and reality very well, but philosophies need to be discussed and unravelled or interpreted well into their teen years…
      I have experienced kids caught up in fantasy ideas (like fairies) but usually it involves the parents support…”Oh I was out in the garden and I saw some fairies….want to come and see” etc etc that has a bigger impact than either book or movie.

      For what it is worth, I am trying to find my older girls books which broaden their reading and get them thinking, rather than race them ahead relationally. I take the ‘don’t awaken love until it so desires’ (from Song of Songs) idea very seriously at this point. Books in the young adults age bracket are worse than movies in how they can do this I think.

      However, my musing was more in the area of…. do some stories/truths land better and more completely in specific media.

      So I think the film media is a fantastic way to lull girls/women (and possibly some guys) into and unfulfill-able expectation via the romantic comedy. A movie is quick and takes you for a nice ride, we get caught up in the idea and subtle seductiveness of it. The same group of girls/women would be less likely to read this same content. It would take too long, reality would interfere with the ride and the effect would be lost.

      Keep thinking and commenting. I enjoy it.


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