Thursday, February 11, 2016

Books on screen

The Tale of Despereaux

I know that The Tale of Despereaux was an award winner and is beloved by thousands. It wasn't my favorite though. So I didn't have very high hopes going into the movie. Again, not a bad movie though it's not my cup of tea. More importantly, it's not the best representation of the book. Firstly, Despereaux is a very different character type on screen: brave and adventurous rather than the fearful shy mouse in the book. Another important characterization change is that of the antagonist, Roscuro. In the book, he is twisted by circumstance, conspiring to destroy the lives of royalty to suit his dark ideas. In the movie, he is more of an anti-hero, a wandering rat who causes accidental harm and seeks revenge on those who judge him unfairly. When you look at these changes along with a number of other, smaller changes, you can see that this all comes down to a difference of intent for the two mediums. The book is focused on characters overcoming their nature for the good of others, finding bravery when one is fearful, looking past the prejudice we are taught, and so on. The movie, on the other hand, looks at how others judge us and we must use our actions to help them see through their prejudices. In all, the book is stronger as it gives motivations and history to secondary and tertiary characters.

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