I know I said the next post would be Life and Death by Stephenie Meyer but during the week I saw the film adaptation of Fifty Shades of Grey (morbid curiosity). All I can say is “WOW”, I was so bored that it made Frozen almost exciting. It was nothing but staring and light shagging with a few whips and tassels *snore*. So I’m not bothering with a review as what is there to review? It is just dull and coma inducing. What I want to talk about is the role of the author in film adaptations especially when it is a Suethor fantasy.
Before I get to that though, I will discuss some things about the film. There were some aspects of the film that really stuck out to me and they were issues that I found in Grey. The big issues were:
There was so much retcon in the film that I instantly knew that E.L. James got her grubby little fingers all over that film production. Of course, my suspicions were correct and on set tensions have been huge between James and the director Sam Taylor-Johnson, so much so that the director has pulled out of the sequels.
So let’s discuss the issues of retcon. I discussed in my review of Grey and my analysis of the women featured that Kate is actually likeable and a good friend to Ana. She also shows what a hypocritical bitch that Ana is when it comes to physical intimacy *cough* lift fingering *cough*. I’m not saying this is fact but more of a suspicion of mine but I think James did not like the fact that many people prefer Kate to Ana, she has a back bone after all! Remember, Ana is James’ self-insert and having a character, specifically a blonde character being deemed more likeable is a total no no for many Suethors.
So how was Kate changed? She became exactly what Suethors and Meyer love to do when it comes to blondes. Kate became the overly bitchy and gossipy blonde who will not leave Ana’s private life alone. Gone was the concerned friend but she is now what Ana and Christian say she is and that’s intrusive and gossipy for being obsessed with them yet the text did not show that as she was seriously concerned after seeing Ana cry after her beating. Yet, that scene was given the chop so now it is more than clear she is what we have been told repeatedly but was never shown. This is due to James being so involved in making sure her vision wank fantasy was perfect. This is Ella (Christian’s birth mother) all over again. She was sympathetic which made Christian look like the slime he really is, can’t have that! So she retconned it in Grey and it is scarily obvious what she did and just looked pathetic. Well it is the same here, James cannot stand to have secondary characters look better than her protagonists and it shows.
The other huge retcon for Kate is the PDA. I think James realised what a hypocritical and nasty bitch that Ana was by the many complaints that Kate and Eliot’s relationship was far more healthy and real but also for the fact that all they do is kiss in front of others whereas Ana and Christian love a bit of exhibitionism. Yet, Ana will snidely say that they need to get a room, yeah Ana, you should do that too rather than getting to second base in a lift! Well, we can’t have Ana looking like a hypocrite as she is meant to be the most amazing, funny, smart and kindest woman EVA!!! So she retcons it by having Ana and Christian walking in to the flat and seeing Kate and Eliot naked on the couch the morning after they met. I am meant to think that she is a whore and Ana is the virginal lamb that must be worshiped and is rewarded by the dreamboat that is Grey. I’m shocked Ana didn’t dust off her bell and follow Kate screeching “SHAME”.
The problem is that this retcon failed as it doesn’t make me think that they need to get a room and that their relationship isn’t deep. Yes, they may have had sex on the first date but Ana does too as she was too busy vomiting when he took her to the hotel but jumps into bed with Grey on their first date. Also, they had the house to themselves! They were in the privacy of Kate’s home and decided to move the action to the sofa, no big deal! I have seen from the trailer for the sequel that the lift scene seems to be included. So yes, the retcon fails completely.
Sadly, Kate and Eliot are such non entities in this film that the viewer without reading the rag would think it is just purely physical. However, that isn’t just them. Every other character in this is even more flat and useless than their book counterparts. Their characterisation is gone as they are left in the background. They were nothing but 2D cardboard cut outs in the book but in the film they are just nothing but furniture so the golden couple are prominent. Don’t get me wrong, I loved not seeing Mia but it made the film worse. These people are just furniture and it shows that James doesn’t care about characterisation when we can see lots and lots of boning.
So with the sex scenes I am conflicted in my opinions. There were a few that were cut and normally I wouldn’t complain as my God they are so repetitive. However, my issue is with the ones that were cut. I discussed how Grey was a pig by basically raping Ana because she rolled her eyes at him but HEY! It was OK as she was squishy even though they finished boning ten minutes before. That scene was gone! The scene where Grey was so furious that she wouldn’t let him finger her in front of Mummy Dearest and the fact she wanted to see her mother without consulting him (Gawd, what a bitch) so fucks her as punishment. They were all gone. All the humiliating and frankly rape scenes were gone. The reason why I find it difficult to come to a conclusion as to why they are gone is because there are conflicting arguments. Let’s go through them!
- It could be a very simple case of retcon. James realised that they were very offensive and abusive so to show on screen that their love is better than yours is to cut those scenes to silence the critics. Yet, this seems unlikely because James doesn’t see their relationship as anything but wonderful so would she really listen to critics? Remember Suethors respond to critics with a simple: “You didn’t understand the text.” She may have retconned Ella and Kate but that’s because it made the protagonists look bad from a background source and she never intended them to be seen either sympathetically or more likeable but because James can’t write for shit then she has to throw in a retcon in the most obvious way. Yet when it comes to their actual actions together then I am not sure she sees that and the awful messages. Ana is her self-insert and she wants a Christian Grey who is described as perfect.
- It is also known that James threw epic tantrums about how many sex scenes were cut and she wanted more as this is her wank fantasy. Godammnit! She needs visuals to wank over, NOW! Seems unlikely that it is a retcon from her view.
- The director and screen writers cut them as they wanted to show a love story (BHAHAHAHA!!!) so therefore retconned themselves as they aren’t brain dead morons and saw it for the abusive shit that it is but hey! Pay Check!
- Maybe there just wasn’t enough time?
I think the most logical answer is number three. As we don’t know ourselves then that is the best conclusion that I can come to. The writers knew how awful it was and it got cut.
You must be wondering why I went into a massive discussion about retcon in terms of the film when the article is about authors role in film adaptations. Well it is massively important as the retcons are a big issue when authors become too involved with their film adaptations and how it can destroy films.
So let the discussion commence! Film adaptations usually can’t be 100% true to the books as some things don’t translate to the screen. Also authors, in my opinion should have input but sometimes they can go too far. I want to look at one that in my opinion didn’t go far enough, one that was a nice middle ground and one that went way too far. This way we can see what James is doing.
Now for the author that in my opinion did not go far enough with authorial smack downs is JK Rowling. I have said before that I am not a fan of the films. I am not stupid and know they can’t fit everything in as the books and messages are complex. What I am slamming is that she made a big fuss that she wanted all the actors to be British unless the character’s nationality was otherwise. That’s nice but what about the utter nonsense that was The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire!! I know they are fan favourites but I hated them because they completely warped cannon and treated the audience as morons. Both spoiled the plots and climax!! PoA had the gall to show Pettigrew running around even though Harry knew who he was and also thought he was dead but just thought “Huh”. It took him about thirty seconds to believe Sirius even though Harry thought he was a mass murderer and responsible for his parent’s deaths. They completely ignored the Marauders back story which could have taken ten minutes with flash backs. Nope! Let’s have a shit ton of cinematic shots of flowers wilting while Dementors float around. I HATE THAT FILM!
There are so many other offenders in that series. Voldemort’s backstory? Who the fuck wants that when we can have Harry gawping at Ginny! Bill Weasley, massive character? Na, let’s just throw him in at the end. Ron Weasley in general! The constant underage magic inconsistencies are infuriating! Can they perform magic outside of school or what?!?! Those are problems that make the films suffer in my view. In my own view Rowling should have put her foot down and made them change those things as those films seriously suffer for it for the sake of pretty scenery and random crap that is not needed.
The Half Blood Prince is a terrible offender as when they cut out Voldemort’s back story then they cut out very serious plot sequences such as the Hufflepuff Cup. That should never have been cut as it makes the Gringotts scene looks so insanely stupid with Harry muttering how the Horcruxes speak to him. No, that is mind numblingly stupid. It only needed a five-minute scene! Cut out that ridiculous Harry and Ginny pie scene!!
I will never hide that I think that the films are rubbish and that’s why I think they are. I don’t believe in sacrificing plot for scenery. Who knows how Rowling felt, she probably loved the script but then again this is the person who approved The Cursed Child so Christ knows.
Now for the middle ground I think the best example I can give is The Hunger Games. I am a huge fan of the books and films. Me loving the books is the reason I picked it as I know them very well so can see if the films are faithful. The films are very faithful to the books and Suzanne Collins was involved. There were aspects cut, like the appearance of Bonnie and Twill in Catching Fire telling Katniss that District 13 exists. Yet they fit around it and those characters were not missed. The big change was having Effie Trinket appearing as Plutarch’s assistant rather than the entirely new character in Mockingjay as she was a fan favourite. Suzanne Collins admits that is how she should have done it and wholeheartedly agreed to the change. It was a good change for the sake of plot and characterisation. Those films work because they are faithful but know what to cut for the sake of the film and not to cut vital aspects for mindless padding.
Now the next film series to be analysed is probably obvious considering this is about how this affects Fifty Shades of Grey. Any guesses?
The Twilight Saga
Cookies for all those who guessed correctly! If we are going to analyse one Suethor then best analyse the Suethor that started it all: Stephenie Meyer.
Now, controversial statement time: I don’t mind the Twilight films, they are a guilty pleasure. Why? I hear you gasp! I know that cannon like the back of my hand as when I read them I analysed the crap out of them and because I am crazy I know that cannon exceptionally well. I don’t mind if you want to get your Shame Bells out. So when I see the films I can see everything that was FIXED. Those involved in Twilight, New Moon and Eclipse honestly tried to fix what a mess those books were and they tried their little hearts out. The one that really tried it’s best and led to the mess that is Breaking Dawn Pt 1 & 2 is Eclipse. That film tried to fix so much. Don’t believe me? Bullet list:
- Bella actually stands up to Edward and his dickish behaviour. She actually calls him out when he dismantles her car engine so she can’t see Jacob.
- Charlie doesn’t high five and congratulate the guy (Jacob) who sexually assaulted his daughter. He is furious.
- Charlie is not an idiot who tries to microwave metal considering he is a police officer. He is still the sympathetic character that is loved.
- Edward doesn’t refer to Bella as property when he finds out Jacob sexually assaulted her. He is furious because she is hurt and upset, not because his property is damaged.
- Jasper’s backstory is far more sympathetic as it seems like he was manipulated and seduced by Maria compared to the psychotic death machine he comes across as in the books and just loves to kill things.
- Rosalie laments about not having the chance to live a human life with all the human experiences such as raising a family. She comes across very clear in the books that she wants babies and nothing more. No mourning of raising babies but just BABIES!
- Bella actually does something proactive to save Edward’s life! In the book she thinks that she might just slice her arm with a rock to cause a distraction but only when she can be arsed to get around to it but never does. In the film Edward is clearly losing as she doesn’t hesitate to cut her arm to cause the distraction and save his life. Bella did something!
Yes, these films are crap but look at how much they fixed! Also we got to see the newborn army causing destruction in Seattle! Well, there was one person who was furious with what happened in that film. Any guesses?
Mojitos for those who guessed! She hated what happened in this film. She apparently stormed off set as she was disgusted what they did to Edward when he calls Jacob out on his sexual assault. She was not happy. She was so furious that she made sure she was producer for Breaking Dawn and my God it shows! She was not going to let her deepest and most personal fantasy be tainted by actual development and improvement. Meyer got her grubby little hands all over the final two films. When compared to Eclipse we got:
- So many montages! There are montages everywhere: the wedding speeches, the honeymoon, pregnancy and transformation. They are pure padding.
- More than half of Breaking Dawn Pt 1 was of the wedding and honeymoon. This shows what a Suethor she really is as that had no business being that long. Meyer wanted to see her self-insert’s perfect wedding and honeymoon and she was damn well going to get it.
- Bella was more of a Mary Sue as a vampire than the book as my God the hunting scene!
- The birth scene was very sanitised compared to the book. This is due to Meyer saying it had to be scaled back so she could see it even though she wrote the damn scene.
They are the worst offenders. Everything that is part of the Mary Sue fantasy such as the wedding, honeymoon, cottage and powers is there and shown in such loving detail. The pregnancy in the first film should have been the most important section but it wasn’t.
These films had no business being two parters as there was not enough plot to justify it. These films had potential and Eclipse proved that but Meyer would not have her vision changed for the sake of the film. Many fans say that Breaking Dawn is the worst of the films as they dragged and were pointless. Meyer wanted to see her fantasy on the big screen and she got it but the film suffered.
This is the problem with Suethors, they cannot handle criticism, they see simple changes as a personal attack and are determined that their fantasy cannot be compromised no matter what. This is so obvious with the Twilight Saga as in the first two books Meyer posted cut portions and expressed how she could never understand why they were cut as they were insanely stupid. Big example is Alice stopping the race against James to stop and buy designer gear. However there are no asides for Eclipse and Breaking Dawn, which shows to me that she got more power to say no to her editors as how dare they compromise her vision. Rowling and Collins are NOT Suethors but Meyer and James are. They are some of the worst offenders out there as most Suethors are contained in Fan Fiction and not earning millions with their wank fantasies.
It has been reported that the crew are miserable on the set of Fifty Shades due to the demanding attitudes of James. The director quit! James wanted to write the next scripts herself or get her husband to do it because she does not want her wank fantasy compromised. This to me is such a self-entitled and bratty attitude. It’s disgusting as she is ruining her films. I must sound like a hypocrite for slamming Rowling and the Harry Potter films but that to me is allowing too many changes and therefore ruining your plot.
I do believe that Twilight had potential and may have been better if Meyer had backed off a little bit. I don’t think Fifty Shades ever had potential as it is just shagging with some whips here and there. I know that the films will have plenty of fans lapping it up but they also lapped up the books. However, I think this attitude that James has needs to stop as wanting more sex while sacrificing characterisation and plot makes that film nothing but James’ own personal porn where she gets to see her fantasies in all its glory. It is almost the attitude that she knows best as she is an AUTHOR and those Hollywood plebs have no idea. Yes, they do and sometimes things have to be changed. This is why I think Suzanne Collins had it right, she knew that major changes were needed and agreed to them for them to work on screens. Yet, she is not a Suethor and James is. I must say it will be interesting to see the second film now that James has more power. I won’t see it in the cinema as I don’t think James needs more money to roll in.
I hope you all enjoyed this piece. I just felt that I needed to write something after seeing the film. Next time will be Life and Death because I must finish reading the damn thing. It is taking forever!