by syaffolee

This And That

Most of the comments I get nowadays are spam. Which I suppose isn’t surprising since I haven’t kept up the actual blogging as much. Today, I got something that looked like a legitimate comment, but when I looked up the entry it was posted to, it had nothing to do with it. Then, I looked at the comment more closely and realized it was nonsensical ranting.

Hey, usually I don’t have anything against nonsensical ranting–but if it has nothing to do with the post, I’m not going to publish it. (For those of you curious, my post was about World AIDS Day. The comment was something about false gods that degenerated into a conspiracy-ridden mish-mash about global warming.)

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Recently, I saw the animated film, Howl’s Moving Castle. I read the book by Diana Wynne Jones as well–after I saw the movie. Is there really a comparison between the two? I can’t say that one is better than the other–both are just different. Yes, there are similarities between the two. Scenes and dialogue from the book are also in the movie. But the movie itself is far more condensed and simplified plot-wise though there is the trademark attention to visual detail as there is in every other Miyazaki work. Characters are condensed; motivations and personalities are switched around. Some motivations are never explained adequately or are explained away in an entirely different manner.

Examples: Suliman in the movie was an old sorceress working for the king. She is actually an amalgam of two people in the book–Howl’s old tutor Mrs. Pentstemmon and the Royal Wizard Suliman who is assumed dead after his confrontation with the Witch of the Waste. The movie gives redemption to the Witch where the book doesn’t. In the movie, the scarecrow is an enchanted man and the dog is someone’s spy/helper. In the book, it’s vice versa.

One’s view of a movie or book, I suppose, is also influenced by how well one knows it. The book was published twenty years ago, but for some reason, I’ve never read it until now–so both book and film versions are rather new to me. On one hand, the book is far more rich and complex and upon reading it, yes, things make a lot more sense. On the other hand, it’s also a pretty good Miyazaki film (even if certain critics call it washed out and derivative). So I’m waffling. But this only means that I hope no one ever asks me to choose between the two.

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On comic books: I have never paid much attention to them before (even if I did have a former roommate who was a comic book junkie). I guess I was just mostly oblivious. I’ve read the first volume of The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen which was…interesting. But I don’t really go for superheroes, even if they’re the post-Victorian/steampunk kind. Someone had recommended Ruse to me once (although how I’m going to get copies of that is anybody’s guess) and of course, the ever lauded Sandman. After visiting the comics store and seeing all the superhero comics decked out on the shelves, I wonder, is there really a dearth of well-drawn, complex comics without superheroes?